Photographing Fall Color – 5 tips.

Early leaf changes HCC Campus
Early leaf changes HCC Campus

We were having work done on Carol’s car; so, I’m playing chauffeur for a few days. Yesterday I arrived to pick her up with a few minutes to spare. Early leaf changes caught my eye. Out came the camera and it wasn’t long before one image suggested another.

A few things occurred to me that I want to share…

Tip #1Red & Green make great complementary combinations, a winner for almost any subject. Shortly the greens will have all turned color except for the evergreens and that combo will still work.

Tip #2Look for some point of interest that will help draw the viewer’s eye. In our example above, if one squints we will notice a small area that is just a bit lighter than the rest. It doesn’t have to be an “in your face” thing. Sometimes it subtle just just enough to provide extra interest.

Leaves B&W Conversion Bob Grytten photo
Leaves B&W Conversion Bob Grytten photo

This converted Black & White helps show the area up. I sort of like the B&W by itself, as another visual approach.

Tip #3Look for backgrounds or voids that will cause the subject to come forward. In our example there is extra space behind the leaves which cause them to hang naturally giving a good sense of place. We sense there is a limb of a tree there because our mind has that reference point stored in memory.

Leaves Forming Graphic Shapes, Bob Grytten Photos
Leaves Forming Graphic Shapes, Bob Grytten Photos

Rule #4Keep in mind graphic elements which can provide additional interest. Lines, Patterns, Forms, Shapes, Texture, Color.

In our example here, the dark background against the colorful leaves makes visual lines near the top of our image. If we let our eye run along the left side of the area where the color and dark meet and continue to the top of the frame, then follow the top edge of the frame to the left and back down to the color intersection, we’ll have formed a visual triangle.

Leaves Triangles w: lines
Leaves Triangles w: lines

Triangles can strengthen an image greatly. Do the same thing on the right for another triangle. We can also crop up from the bottom and see another visual triangle of the colorful leaves.

Another thing that helps this image is the larger base which offers and nice visual balance to help support the image.

Tip #5 – Look for things in the field to naturally frame the image. Avoid spots of background light that detract or light areas around the frame that will encourage the eye to leave the image. In this image there is subtle vignetting of the corners.  We can incorporate this when we make the image in the field or in our computer.

•   Please consider placing you trademark notice on all images you publish. If you do not have an application for the address of Star Watermark click here. They provide a free version as well as a pro version. There are many people who purposely rip off our images, not to help share the work of so many talented Lens Luggers but to republish our images and sell them for their own gain without asking our permission. Out work is copyrighted as soon as it is made. It needs not be registered to be copyrighted. You are invited to check out Apogee Photo who discusses this in greater detail along with assistance in using a watermark or copyright notice. It is a great publication, full of interesting tips and FREE to use.

At the recent Foto Fest, someone said “to seek monetary recourse from the thieves of our work would cost more than it was worth.” That does not make it right. I think we must do what we can to help ourselves, for our work is a part of who we are, what we believe in and and the stories we share. You will notice that the trademark notice is shown across my image of the Monarch above. The thinking here is that it will cost any illegal user more to remove the trademark that it will be worth. If someone wishes to use our work they can simply ask. The choice of what we do with it is and remains ours until we assign it to someone else.

I am also suggesting that we begin to record in our metadata our copyright information on each image we share, as a matter of routine. That information becomes part of the image.

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