The colors of autumn make it one of the most visually stunning seasons to shoot beautiful fall pictures. An explosion of hues in gilded fall foliage, the leaves changing color presents boldly surreal, dreamlike landscapes. Capturing the essence of autumn leave can easily be done with just a few pointers to keep in mind:

1. Capture color combinations

When you think of autumn, fall leaves come to mind. Juxtapose the golds, auburns, and scarlets against each other and a brilliant blue sky. To get the strongest pop and color scheme, frame fall colors with a bright cerulean background. If you’re able to get in some puffy, white clouds, even better.

Landscapes are best shot with a wide-angle lens to get most of the scenery. Consider creating a sun star with a small aperture to jazz up the composition. If you need to darken the skies and increase contrast, use a polarizing filter to reduce light without shifting color. This can help reduce reflections and cut through glare, making fall colors more saturated.

2. Create a mirror reflection

To achieve a mirror-like reflection of autumn colors in in water, you’ll need windless conditions. However, a mirror with no interruptions can make for too static an image. Use logs or rocks in the water to break it up and stand as a visual anchor to make for a stronger composition.

The angle of light is also key. The best times to shoot are sunrise and sunset for peak fall color and moody shots. You’ll get the most drama during these times. If you don’t have perfect weather though, don’t fret as usually moist and cool conditions bring about morning dew, fog, and stunning sunrises and sunsets.

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3. Isolate detail and colors

Create beautiful fall pictures not by shooting trees, but by shooting autumn color reflected in water. Color contrasts between cooler light from the sky and warm sunlit tones makes compelling compositions, more unique than the standard foliage photos. For an impressionist effect, shoot in blurred, moving water such as a mountain stream or rippled lake, and capture reflections. Test exposures of ½ sec or longer for just enough motion blur. A telephoto lens will pinpoint the brightest reflections.

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4. Appreciate subtleties

Get some detail photos that are related to autumn, but outside of the normal array of colors. Images of close ups of mushrooms on a log, or seeds of a milkweed seed pod being dispersed in the wind. Don’t be limited by the usual spread of warm fall hues. Look outside of what’s right in front of you and you might just capture something even more beautiful.

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5. Shoot in fog and mist

Overcast lighting can mute and soften colors, but a bit of drizzle can sometimes offer a more saturated effect while adding mystery, mood and atmosphere. There will be small bursts of sunlight here and there, foreground reflections and shadows that offer more depth to an image.

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Beautiful fall pictures don’t have to be partial to bright reds and golds. Use the changing season to push yourself to explore and seek beauty outside of the ordinary.