ACD Systems Blog

Focusing on Fall Foliage

2012-11-19 23:57:23 GMT

In many parts of the world, autumn is a time of (fleeting) natural beauty. It can hard to capture the transient vibrancy of the colored leaves before they shrivel, fall off and give way to winter and a wholly different kind of seasonal allure. But what are the best techniques for translating the bright hues that you see into a photograph?

Second only to finding that perfect location with lots of color contrasts, lighting is a very important place to start when composing that perfect fall shot. It is generally agreed that when shooting at this time of year, there are two kinds of lighting that make the most of the atmosphere. The first is to shoot on an overcast day because it allows for soft, even lighting. Lighting may be cool and bluish, and therefore require some white balance adjusting, but the shadows are still softer on overcast days and the sun isn’t washing out the colors.

The second is during the half hour before sunset, when everything is painted in a golden light, because it creates warm, saturated colors. In this setting, your main goal is to preserve the color of the light, which can be done by making sure you position your white balance at a daytime setting. Alternately, you may want to slightly turn up the color temperature.

An additional technique involves ever-so-slightly underexposing your shots to give them a subtly deeper saturation. This, along with white balance and other touches, can be always be managed in post processing using ACDSee Pro 6 or ACDSee 15’s handy, comprehensive lighting and color tools.

Another way to handle saturation is by utilizing a polarizer. For the most effective use, aim the polarizer at 90 degrees to the sunlight. This will cut glare.

Lastly, don’t forget to include compositional elements in your fall photos. Many photographers become too consumed with the leaves and forget to consider balance, focus, shapes, depth, and the various other elements that go into a well-composed photo.

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