Professional photographer Topher Donahue says that getting a good photo of fall colors has never been easy, even for pros, and that today's digital cameras make it even harder. The film that was used in the days of point-and-shoot cameras allowed a better color saturation so that even amateurs could come up with a memorable photograph of vivid autumn colors now and then.
Donahue offers 4 tips for making your autumn photography look better no matter what type of camera you are using. The photo (shown above) by Donahue demonstrates all four.
- Shoot in the Shade
Shoot in the shade. Your eyes are so much more sensitive to colour range than your camera that you are tricked into thinking you see a good photo just because you see a pleasing view. When the leaves are sunlit, they are often so bright that the sensor cannot record the subtle colours and instead records washed-out highlights. In the shade, natures colours – be it spring flowers or autumn leaves – are revealed to the sensor in a much more manageable hue. Those cloudy days, or shady hillsides like in this photo, often result in better photos than the perfect bluebird morning.
- Crop Other Colors into the Frame
Cameras and the human eye have one thing in common: colour is relative, not absolute. When you include other colours in the frame, it changes how the sensor and the viewer’s eye records or perceives the colour. For this photo I looked for a place where the yellow and orange contrasted against each other to make both look better.
- Include Compositional Elements, Not Just the Leaves
In this case, the ghostly aspen trunks give a sense of depth to the photo. Including singular evergreens amidst a forest of leaves, small meadows, a stream, or even a road or trail in the frame can often help your camera record a memory and an emotion rather than a just a photograph.
- Buy a Good Camera
All sensors are not created equal. The difference between a good camera and a bad one has never been greater. Buy the best camera you can afford at the size you're willing to carry.
For a great chance to learn and shoot alongside a professional wilderness photographer in an unbeatable setting, check out the CMH Photography Workshop with John E. Mariott next summer in the Bugaboos.
Photo by Topher Donahue
Read the original article, re-posted here with permission by Canadian Mountain Holidays.