It happens this time every year. The air cools and Mother Nature paints a gorgeous canvas of colors. Photographers of all specialties are inspired to capture autumn’s beauty. But before you grab your pumpkin-spice latte and head out for a fall shoot, here are seven to-dos for a better experience and more impressive images.
1. Shoot RAW.
Those who don’t regularly shoot RAW should consider doing so for their fall shots. RAW keeps the door open for ample editing. You’ll be grateful for RAW images to capture abundant detail and so you can later correct under and over-exposure issues, among others.
2. Opt for an early-morning or late-afternoon shoot.
Take advantage of softer lighting by shooting in the early hours or near dusk.
3. Plan ahead for what you’d like to capture.
You may already have in mind what you’re most interested in capturing on your shoot(s). Different lenses and filters are needed for foliage, water and general landscape shots so make sure you have the essentials required for those shots.
4. Pack for comfort.
Nothing kills creativity more than discomfort. Anyone who’s ever had an overloaded camera bag digging into their shoulders knows how distracting it can be when you’re out in the field.
Be strategic about the gear you bring along, advised metro Detroit photographer Bryan Minear.
“If I know I’ll be on my feet a lot, I pack light, without leaving behind what I know I really need,” he said.
A bag designed for travel can have a dramatically positive impact on the experience, too, by keeping you feeling great and focused on capturing better shots.
Bryan swears by the Vanguard Adaptor 48 backpack.
“This bag is comfortable and it holds everything I need it to,” he said. “I can get to my stuff quickly but I’m still confident everything’s protected inside.”
“It’s what I use for work and play,” he said. “It’s efficiency at its finest because the bag breaks down into a day-pack in about four seconds.”
5. Explore unfamiliar places.
It can be tempting to revisit familiar locales know are abundant in diverse trees and teeming with reflective lakes. But in the spirit of living outside of your comfort zone, make a conscious effort to discover new places. With new surroundings, you may meet challenges, inspiration and your best fall shots yet.
6. Use a made-for-travel tripod.
Leave the tripod at home and you’ll miss out on a lot of shots that are simply impossible without a tripod. Don’t be the photographer who says tripods are a hassle to carry and set up. There are many outstanding tripods available today that are specifically designed for travel.
Bryan uses the Alta Pro 284CB tripod with the SBH 100 ball head.
“I usually strap my Alta Pro to my bag,” he said. “It’s carbon fiber so it’s lightweight and really reliable. I have no fear, whatsoever, that it won’t perform. It does everything I need it to.”
Alta Pro’s multiple leg angle positions enable you to set up on rocks and other uneven surfaces.
Bryan’s among tens of thousands of photographers who rely on the Alta Pro tripod, one of the world’s bestselling tripods of all time. Since its release, Alta Pro has earned multiple design awards from respected, global design organizations and photography magazines.
[Editor’s note: Now through September 30, 2016, up to $30 with an instant rebate on select Alta Pro tripod models.]
Photographer David Talley is constantly on the go so he appreciates the ultra-compact VEO tripod.
“I have four tripods and two of them are Vanguard’s VEO travel tripods,” he said. “Small, lightweight, but sturdy as hell. That’s why I have two - they’re just too good.”
7. Make it a photo series.
With a bit of planning and with the right equipment in tow, you’ll be ready for several productive fall shoots. Schedule at least few days for shooting. After all, Mother Nature only gives us a few weeks a year for those exceptionally vibrant colors. Have fun with it.
As Vanguard celebrates its 30-year anniversary this year, we’re offering these limited-time promotions:
Now through September 30, 2016: