10 photography tips to capture the magic of autumn

By Bonusprint on 27 September 2023

Boost your photography skills with our top autumn photography tips. Learn how to take great autumn photos, whether you are exploring forest photography or mastering the art of capturing vibrant colours of the season. Ready to capture those autumn vibes?

Autumn photos are always bursting with rich textures, golden sunlight and a bold colour palette; it’s no surprise that autumn is one of the best times to grab your camera and get creative taking photos in the great outdoors.

Whether you’re planning a family day out in the forest or a coastal hike with your besties, here are our top 10 autumn photography tips to help you capture stunning snaps that you’ll be proud to add to your next coffee table photo book.

1. Find the perfect location to capture the colours of autumn

There’s no better backdrop than nature itself when it comes to how to take good autumn photos. This season arrives with a crash of colour that is sure to get your creative mind fired up. Head to a local nature reserve or woodland to see these colours at their most vibrant. Or pay a visit to your local park or city farm – with any luck, they may even have a pumpkin patch to play in for an extra seasonal touch.

Wherever you find nature, you’ll also find the season’s iconic earthy crimsons, rusty reds, and flashes of yellows. These vibrant colours shine even brighter under the soft, overcast skies of autumn and glow like embers during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset.

Top autumn colours photography tip: select landscape mode on your phone or camera to ensure your colours pop in your autumn forest photography.

2. Capture the textures of autumn

From the intricate arteries that traverse leaves like the canals of Venice to the sun–cracked wrinkles of weathered tree stumps, October and November brings all sorts of wonderful textures to zoom in on. But you don’t only need to look to Mother Nature for these special details. Keep your eyes peeled for the other comforting textures we associate with autumn, such as thick woolly scarves and bobble hats.

Top autumn photography tip: If your phone has a Macro mode, select this to get close and capture as much detail as possible. If you’re using a camera, zoom in as much as possible or use a dedicated macro lens.

3. Play with reflections of autumn

Exploring reflections is always a fun way to get creative with your photography, and this season brings opportunities aplenty. Look out for colourful forest canopies reflected onto the surface of a lake or pond. Or, if you’re shooting in an urban environment, get down low and see what you can capture on the surface of a rain puddle.

From raindrops and ripples to wind shivers and pebbles dancing across the surface, autumn is a great time to experiment with creating more abstract imagery.

4. Photograph the wildlife of autumn

For creatures great and small, this time of year is all about preparing for winter. Point your camera towards the skies every so often to see if you can photograph flocks of migrating birds. Pause under a tree and see if you can snap a squirrel stocking up on food for their winter hibernation.

If you want to go the extra mile with your autumn wildlife photos, try blending in with your environment by wearing neutral, earthy colours and forming natural camouflage. This will ensure you don’t scare off any potential subjects and help you get better wildlife shots.

Top autumn nature photography tip: If your phone or camera has a Sports shooting mode, select this as it will help you focus on fast–moving birds and animals. And be sure to turn your flash off, as this will scare away any potential subjects.

5. Make the most of the soft golden light

The beautifully moody light of an overcast autumn day is simply magical, with an ethereal glow you don’t get at any other time of year. To photograph it at its best, head out during the golden hours just after sunrise and before sunset. This is when the light is low in the sky, casting warm, soft rays that make colours pop and subjects glow. Oh, and, as a bonus, this is also when wildlife is at its busiest, so keep your eyes and ears out for signs of life!

6. Snap perfect autumn portraits

With its cosy vibes, stunning landscapes and flattering light, it is the perfect time of year to get outside and snap some portraits of your loved ones. Whether photographing your children, partner, friends or family, start your portrait session by choosing the perfect location. You could gather in your garden or head to a local park and search for a backdrop of colourful foliage with warm tones and natural textures.

The soft, warm light of the golden hours will make for lovely autumn photos. Pick your favourites to print and create beautiful wall art or personalised greeting cards with them!

Top tip how to make a photo look like autumn: If your camera or phone has a Portrait mode, select this, as it will help you focus on your subject while blurring out the background. If you’re shooting with a camera, open up the aperture as wide as possible to the widest f–stop – e.g. f/2.8 or f/1.8.

7. Play around with autumnal props

How do you make a photo look like autumn? Add an element of fun to your portrait shoots by using a few autumnal–themed props to play around with while they pose. Pumpkins, acorns or fallen leaves will add to the vibe of your photos. Moreover, having props to play with will help your subjects relax, which will help you capture fun, candid moments.

Encourage your subject to wear their favourite woolly sweater, scarf or jacket. For an extra special treat, why not make them a pumpkin spiced latte or hot chocolate to sip on while you snap away – you could even serve it to them in a personalised mug! Make it fun, and keep your phone or camera ready to go at all times. Candid moments reflect the warmth of this special season.

8. Make your photos pop with a polarising filter

Autumn days aren’t always characterised by their soft, overcast skies. Sometimes, the bright light of a blue–sky day in early November can be as bright as any summer day. In these scenarios, you may want to attach a polarising filter to your camera lens when capturing your autumn photos. This will soften your image and help you reduce the glare that often bounces off the surface of water and leaves. What’s more, a polarising filter will boost the saturation of your image and intensify those lush colours even more.

Top amateur photography tip: Polarising filters are traditionally used with cameras, but you can also buy them to fit your smartphone camera lens.

9. Tell the whole story with candid moments

Some adventures are best captured in a series rather than just single images. Heading out for a family stroll by the coast? Or a trip to a local pumpkin patch? Try to tell the whole story of your adventurous day out with a collection of images taken throughout the entire day. Here are a few autumn photography tips to capture those great candid moments:

● Your children putting on their woolly hats and gloves before leaving the house in the morning.

● The view from your car window as you arrive at your leafy/beachy destination (best to let your little ones snap these photos if you’re driving).

● Your little one’s reactions as they play with the autumnal leaves for the first time.

● Scenes from your family picnic in the woods.

● The golden sunset on your way home.

Top tip how to take good photos: Whether shooting with a phone or camera, try to use various focal lengths to add diversity to your photo series. Zoom in on details such as welly boots and acorns, and use a wide focal length to capture as much of the landscape as possible.

10. Share your autumn adventures

There’s nothing better than getting home after an adventurous day out and swiping through your photos. Favourite the best ones and get them printed to show your friends and family and look back on them in the future. From personalised calendars and wall art prints to photo books and greeting cards, bring your autumn adventures to life.

Our top tip for this time of year: The more fun you have with your loved ones, the more opportunities you’ll have to create beautiful photos that you’ll want to cherish forever. Get creative with our app, and make something special with your favourite moments