Autumn is a great time for camping. It’s also an ideal time for photography. Crisp air, changing leaves, and harvest activities provide a variety of opportunities to make memories and snap photos. September through November are great months to enjoy fall camping and appreciate the beauty of the season. 

Ready to take advantage of this gorgeous time of year? Grab your camera, get your travel trailer, fifth wheel, or other RV ready, and hit the road to experience some spectacular autumn scenery. Keep in mind, peak times for observing fall foliage change depending on location. To help you make the most of fall, RVT is sharing tips for taking amazing photos, along with some breathtaking destinations to visit along the way. 

Tips for Shooting Great Fall Photos

Woman photographing fall foliage
Woman photographing fall foliage

Research Locations

If photographing fall colors is the main reason for your trip, check to make sure the fall colors aren’t past their peak at your destination. This fall foliage map may help. Too late in the season for certain destinations? Add them to your camping calendar for next year! 

Take Note of the Weather

You might think shooting fall color would be best on a bright, sunny day, but many expert photographers agree that overcast skies are best. Shooting on a cloudy day reduces glare and helps emphasize the depth of color.

Wind is also a concern. If foliage is your main focus, shooting on a windy day could make your images blurry. Check your photos as you shoot and increase the shutter speed if needed to avoid blurriness.

Pay Attention to Lighting

Lighting can also change the feel of a photograph. Shoot at different times of day and make use of side light (light coming from right or left), front light (light in front), and back light (light behind) to get different effects. Shooting during the golden hours surrounding sunrise and sunset will add warmth to your photos and offer lower contrast than brighter times of the day. Keep in mind, lighting can change quickly, especially in late afternoon. 

Use a Polarizing Filter

Polarizing filters increase saturation and contrast and reduce glare. The filter attaches to the front of the lens, and circular polarizing lenses can be turned to adjust the effect.

Photographing People

Fall is a great time to photograph people. In fact, it’s one of the most popular!

  • Have your subjects wear colors that complement the season. Some great choices are neutrals like white, gray and beige, or colors that play up the fall scenery like yellow, reds, orange, brown, olive green, and dark purple. 
  • Accent items like scarves, hats, long coats, beanies, and props like umbrellas work well in fall shots. Dress in layers, and make sure the clothes are comfortable to play in. 
  • Unique locations like public farms, orchards, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches make for interesting photos and add variety to your images. Have your subjects walk down a tree-lined pathway, toss leaves into the air, lean against an old post-and-rail fence, or stand on a bridge. 
  • Remember to avoid shooting in deep shade, and use a fill flash if necessary to brighten faces. 

Be Creative

  • Use the rule of thirds to keep your photos dynamic. Imagine your viewfinder is split by imaginary horizontal and vertical lines that divide it into thirds in both directions. Rather than putting your focal point dead center, put it at an intersection of those imaginary lines.
  • Look for unusual shots or interesting focal points in the landscape, like abandoned buildings, hay bales, and reflections on water. 
  • Consider using different angles, including up into trees, or down low to the ground. Don’t forget to make use of textures and patterns, too. 
  • Fall is often ideal for photographing harvest foods like apples, pumpkins, corn, grapes, mushrooms, and pears.

Picturesque Locations for Fall Photography

Beautiful fall colors in Franconia Notch State Park | White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire, USA
Franconia Notch State Park | White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire, USA

If you’re looking for some stunning locations to take your photos, consider these fantastic fall destinations.

  • Aspen, CO
  • Bar Harbor, ME
  • Portland, OR
  • Leavenworth, WA
  • The White Mountains, NH
  • Shawangunk Mountains, NY
  • Denali National Park, AK
  • Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Bishop Creek Canyon, CA
  • Napa Valley, CA
  • Taos, NM
  • Lake Superior, MI
  • Ozark Mountains, MO
  • Shenandoah Valley, VA
  • The Green Mountains, VT
  • Yellowstone National Park, WY

Fall is a great time for taking photos. Use these tips and destinations to make the most of the season. Do you have favorite places for fall photographs, or interesting shot ideas? Share them in the comments!
If you’re looking for a new or used RV for a fall camping trip, take a look at the latest listings on RVT.com.

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