Since fall is my favorite time of the year fall portrait sessions are forcing my creativity to blossom completely. While fall is a great time taking your family portraits (couple or personal branding portraits as well) creating authentic photos can be sometimes very challenging.
My 5 tips for you on how you can turn your fall portraits into a genuine story.
1. Location scouting
Find a spot or a location that shows off the stunning beauty of autumn. The colorful leaves, the warm vibrant tones of the season and the soft beautiful light in the late afternoon will give your portraits an incredible touch. In Vienna — where I live — places like Türkenschanzpark, Pötzleinsdorferpark and Schönbrunn or Kurpark Oberlaa and Schlosspark Laxenburg (near Vienna) provide great natural backgrounds to create really impressive imagery.
It seems obvious that nature is offering an amazing backdrop for your fall portraits but due to the unpredictable weather in recent years, it could almost all be literally gone by tomorrow. The colors can change and the leaves can fall. So go scout for a location two to four days ahead of your session.
There is something enchanting about seeing a subject up-close and personal. Don’t be afraid going close to your subject. By doing that you leave a little to the viewer’s imagination and focus the attention on the features and the expressions of the subject for our expressions, shapes, lines and marks of our faces tell our unique story.
3. Don’t forget the details
Sometimes what is left out of the image says more than what is included. By photographing your subject’s eyes, hands (letting them pick up some leaves for example) or even just capturing their shoes you leave a lot to the viewer’s imagination. Don’t forget to photograph some details of the environment like the colorful autumn foliage or the beautiful fall branches, or the toys of your children. That helps you tell a story rather than have a random collection of portraits.
4. Add action
There are many ways to incorporate action into your fall portraits – for example using dancing, playing and jumping. Take advantage of the natural props you have on location. Autumn leaves for example — let your children throw them up in the air or play and jump in the piles (believe me, by letting the adults play as well, you at the end will not only have lively photos, but they will thank you for the excuse to have played around the leaves and have had fun in the process). Besides, with their vibrant colors — warm golds, reds and browns, that are pop out of your images — the leaves will give your story a vivid touch.
5. Alter Your Perspective
Go out of your comfort zone and change your perspective. Get up high on your subject, get up on eye level with your little one or get as close to the ground as you can and shoot up with your camera. Either way you’ll be showing the viewer an angle that is bound to cause interest. Especially going down at eye level with little children helps the viewer better relate to them and guides his attention to the child despite the colorful environment.
A small bonus tip: don’t forget to consider how your choice of clothing will harmonize or contrast with the fall background. Try not to compete with the fall colors but to complement them while you still remain the focus.
Have fun on your next fall portrait session!