We are lucky in Colorado to get to experience such vivid changes of seasons, especially the one that happens when the trees start to paint the mountainside with bright reds, oranges and yellows. Photographers, whether that’s with their fancy lenses or their iPhones, flock to capture this beauty in frames. Here are some tips to give this colorful season the attention it deserves.

  1. James FrankUse these misty mornings to your advantage as they evoke feelings of mystery and elements of atmosphere. The fog will also act as a dramatic accent to the energetic autumnal colors and will help mute them.
  2. Contrast is always your friend when it comes to creating a more eye-catching image and adding dramatic tension. Pair those bright orange leaves with its complementary blue sky. Or capture a fallen red leaf against a deep brown ground.
  3. We’re all familiar with the term golden hour and how it’s the best time to shoot. Specifically, for fall the golden light will add warmer tones to your shot to give your photos a cozier feel. Autumnal leaves are show offs and for good reason. This also means that may be too bright to shoot during mid-day, causing your photos to come out harsher than you want.
  4. Believe it or not, fall isn’t just about the leaves! (Don’t tell them that though). Seek to find subjects that aren’t the color popping leaves. A rushing waterfall accented by trees would give your photo complexity and depth. An elk pressed up against a yellow aspen tree would give you the contrast you’ve been searching for. If you are digging the elk option, read this to dig deeper. 
  5. Don’t forget to look up! ... and down. Walking into a large tree grove it can be easy to get lost in the canopy of leaves above your head. Since trees “peak” at varying times during this season, the collage of leaves on the ground create opportunities for texture, abstraction and patterns.Macro Aspen Leaves
  6. Yes, the splash of color across a mountainside makes for a beautiful image. But fall is bursting with opportunities for macro shots as well, so don’t be scared to get up close and personal with your subject. Leaves carry intricate veins that are also overflowing with color. Even the dry leaves make for extraordinarily textured photographs.
  7. Lastly, to give your photographs an easy boost, use a circular polarizer over your lens. This will enhance contrast and colors, makes your blue skies pop, removes glare and makes your rivers and streams appear smoother.

To help get your photography adventure started, we gathered the top 10 trails for leaf peeping. Happy shooting!