7 Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Summer’s gone and every photographer on Earth is looking forward to the amazing colors that autumn brings along with it. Summers are always busy; you’ve got weddings, holidays, trips and all sorts of events that involve subject and lots of light and heat. We’ve recently talked about how to take precaution to prevent your subject’s exhaustion, but what about the photographer’s exhaustion? At the beginning of this autumn, it’s time you took a little break and enjoyed nature; take your camera out and go on walks and photograph the lovely autumn foliage.

Autumn isn’t just about foliage and lovely colors, though, as it can prove to be quite a difficult season for a photographer: you’ve got less light, fog, shadows that will prove challenging, even to the more seasoned photographer. That’s why we decided to provide you with a few tips of shooting autumn foliage. Read on and take notes!

Do We Even Have to Mention that Location is Everything?

trees Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

If you want to get awesome photographs without much effort, then you need to go to where the magic happens in the falls. Places such as New England, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Colorado Rockies and even New Hampshire are amazing in the fall. If you can’t afford to travel, or you simply do not have the time to do it, you can ask Google some question and it will deliver.


Our advice is to use Matrix metering for pretty much everything, but do make sure to check the histogram to see if highlights are being clipped. Another great tip regarding exposure is to push the ISO to keep the depth of field while maintaining a high shutter speed, in case there are too many clouds in the sky. The thing is that when you’re photographing landscapes you don’t want to open the aperture, because it’s going to take away from the depth of field.

Macro Works Great in the AutumnMilkweed Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Autumn close-ups don’t necessarily need to be of foliage; think about how wonderful a close-up of a milkweed seed pod will look on film. It won’t look like an explosion of color, but it will still scream fall. Use the colors of the fall as an excuse to hit the woods and find great things that need photographing.

Water and Autumn Go Together Perfectly

Water simply becomes magical in the autumn, so focus on creeks, ponds, lakes, rivers or whatever puddle of water you’ve got around you and great results are to be expected. When choosing a fall location, take water in consideration, because it transforms any good location into a great one in the autumn. Try some long exposure when photographing and you’ll get texture that will make your photographs uniquely beautiful.

Long Lenses Capture Autumn’s Beauty

If you want to focus solely on autumn foliage photography, then our tip is to use a long-focus lens. Try an 85mm long lens and see if you are happy with the results. There would be no reason why you wouldn’t be.

Take Advantage of the Autumn Fog

fog Tips for Shooting Autumn Foliage

Fog and mist can be a photographer’s worst nightmare, but in the right circumstances (in the autumn, mostly), fog can make you achieve some spectacular results. Fog will soften colors and add mood and atmosphere, but it will take you a few shots until you get the hang of it.

Start Exploring

Fall is perfect for driving around and exploring the areas that have great potential. Grab a map and start searching for spots where you think the most color will be. Obviously, the more trees an area has, the more colors you will find there. You can even leave your camera behind the first time you do your exploring, so that you can simply scour the land for great spots and enjoy yourself. If you have the time, do your exploring in the afternoon, when the sun is softer.

Did you enjoy our tips for shooting autumn foliage? Would you like to share any more tips with us and our readers? Drop us a line in the comment section below. 

10 Things You Should Be Doing If You Want To Be A Destination Photographer

10 Things You Should Be Doing If You Want To Be A Destination Photographer

1. Use Destination Photography in your name

Skip the cutesy names or the bland and generic. If you know you want to be a destination photographer, say so in your name. It tells people exactly what you do, and it makes it memorable when you are networking online.

2. Describe yourself as a Destination Photographer

How do you talk about yourself when you post online or you network in your local community? Do you say “I’m a wedding photographer” or “I photography families”? Nope. If you truly want to be a destination photographer, say so. “I’m exclusively a destination photographer for some of the most spectacular weddings on the planet.” Yep, that’ll get their attention.

3. Use Destination Photographer in your keyword descriptions

A recent search for “destination photography” on Google says it all. These people want to rank high for “destination photographer” and they do – these are the top four.

Use Destination Photographer in your keyword descriptions

By using keywords built around destination photography, you get results.

4. Do what Destination Photographers do

A recent post on Huffington Post Weddings article says it all:

One of our favorite trends in destination weddings? When couples opt for the post-wedding “Trash the Dress” photo session.

Do what Destination Photographers do

If other destination photographers are doing something well, you can learn from their experiences and do it better. In this case, Huffington Post needed 12 trash the dress photos for its story – strive to make the next story.

5. Be where the people are

When a bride and groom to be decide they are holding their wedding away from their local community, they don’t research things in their local community. Which means if you are advertising in your local wedding guide – you’ll never meet a destination bride.

They go to the resources that help them plan a destination event. Destination Weddings anyone?

6. Know what Destination Photography means to you

Yes, some people may search for destination photography. Yet many, many more know exactly where they are going and start searching from there. If you want to shoot in Mexico, you better include Mexico in the way you talk. Pick your locations and start talking about them. That’s how you get known in those areas.

7. Find Destination vendors

Photographers aren’t the only vendors that like to travel. Find a group that caters to the destination business and network with like-minded vendors and business owners. Try Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialists Association or the Association of Destination Wedding Professionals to get you started.

8. PR yourself

Every day newspapers, magazines and television shows have time/space to fill. They are always looking for fun and unique things to share with their audience. If you have a unique slant to your clientele and the way you do business, you’ll be at the forefront of gaining the attention of these sources. All you have to do is let them know what you are doing.

9. It’s not all about weddings

Lets say you really love a ski town. And your goal is to be in that location two months out of the year. Why not get involved with the local Chamber, or link up with the visitors center or in-town magazine? There are many ways you can get your name out to people that want to travel there in the future – you just have to look for the opportunities. Check out Steamboat Springs magazine for some ideas. What family wouldn’t love a unique portrait in a location that will always bring them happy memories?

10. Work with other vendors

The more you get to know people within an industry, the more opportunity will come up. If you love working corporate events, a hotel may be the perfect location to build a relationship with. If weddings are your thing, an event coordinator that travels the globe may be your best referral source. Instead of advertising exclusively in things that reach a potential customer (ie. a bride), don’t forget to spend just as much time reaching out to potential power partners. They can share unlimited opportunities over the coming years IF you find a way to connect and stay in their line of thinking from this point forward.

Remember, Destination Photographer doesn’t mean unlimited locations (though the opportunity is always there). Instead, Destination Photographer means you’re expanding your business potential outside of your local community. You can choose the locations. You can choose how and where to focus. The only thing left is connecting up with potential clients, which will be easy when you start thinking like a destination photographer.

7 Tips To Keep In Mind As A Destination Photographer

The idea of traveling to exotic locations to shoot weddings, portraits or commercial work is what most photographers dream of. Where else can you get paid to see some amazing sites around the world?

But like everything, not only does it have its “ups”, it also has a few “downs” to consider.

Whether you’ve been traveling with your photography for years, or are just putting together your very first promotional campaign, keep these tips in mind.

1. Choose your locations carefully

While traveling around the globe is a relatively safe thing to do, keep in mind that some places are easier and safer to travel to than others. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place for a wedding than the beaches of the Caribbean. Yet choosing a place like Haiti or Dominican Republic can be more taxing than a place like St Croix. As you are making your plans, do your research first. Search the Internet for current stories, check with the State Department, and look at tourism sites for your chosen location. In just a few minutes you should be able to gain a pretty good feel for the area.

2. Research the area

Once your area has been selected, spend some time learning about the location and the time of year you’ll be visiting. Hawaii is beautiful – unless you get there during rainy season and you experience inches of rain every day. If you know the weather patterns ahead of time, you can quickly plan backups for the just in case. [Read more…]

One Great Idea – Meet Karma Hill

At the beginning of the year, I ran across a website that made me say WOW. I’ve been a destination wedding photographer since the mid 90’s. And I’ve written and promoted ideas to help you understand destination a little bit more, and how you can apply it to your business AND make a healthy living at it to.

That’s why I loved it when I found someone who is actually doing it.

Meet Karma Hill

Karma runs Good Karma Photography Inc in Maui, Hawaii, and fills her days with portraits and weddings. But she doesn’t promote herself as a photographer to local clientele – look at her website and you’ll see she focuses on the tourists, and markets her business as a vacation photographer.

Good Karma Photography

So if you are spending thousands of dollars to leave your snowy home in January, and head to Hawaii to take in some sun and fun, you probably have spending money in your pocket. Why not get a family portrait on the beach?

The more I researched, the more excited I became. Not only is Karma having such success with her portrait business, she started a sister site to cover the full spectrum of portrait clients. A client can come to her for a memorable beach vacation portrait and spend whatever is in their budget.

Not only is she having a ton of success with her photography business, she’s also started off into a new direction – helping photographers understand how to become destination photographers too. Her newest release is an ebook, Destination Photography Business: How To Tap In To The Multi-Billion Dollar Travel Industry.

Every state in the U.S. has millions of visitors annually, and has billions of dollars in spending. And this isn’t unique to the U.S. People love to travel; that isn’t going to change. So why not combine what you love – photography – with what people love to do – travel – and create a business that easily brings in Six Figures per year.

I’ve been chatting with Karma quite a bit since I found her site, and asked her a few questions.
[Read more…]

Destination Photographer – Does It Have To Be Weddings?

“I love the idea of traveling with my photography. I’ve done a few weddings, but I’m not excited about making them my specialty. Do I have to do weddings to be a destination photographer?”

destination photographerThe great thing about being in business for yourself is you create the rules. Anything is possible as long as you build to make it possible.

What is your idea of photography? How can you turn it into a business that allows you to travel?

Maybe you enjoy shooting in warm places in the heart of the winter. Why not become a fashion or product photographer? Catalogs are developed months in advance. They need someone to be shooting catalog spreads in places that show off their newest product line. So a company in Wisconsin may need swimsuit and spring fashion shoots on the beach in the Caribbean in January or February.

[Read more…]

What Does A Destination Photographer Really Mean?

So you want to be a destination photographer?

You add the phrase to your website, “weddings anywhere in the U.S.” or “will travel anywhere for weddings and events”.

You sit back and wait for someone to contact you. And the years roll by. Why? Why hasn’t anyone selected you for traveling to their event outside of your home location?

The common misnomer with the phrase “destination photographer” is that by simply adding destination to your website and your brochure, you instantly become a destination photographer. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let’s say your a photographer from Denver, Colorado, USA. All over your site you talk about weddings and portraits taken in the Denver area. On your contact us page you list your address – in Denver. Your keywords have Denver, Colorado, USA.

Guess what? You’ve just been pegged as a Denver, Colorado, USA photographer.

Being a destination photographer doesn’t mean you will promote your photography for everywhere on planet earth. It means you’re willing to travel. But where to?

We photographed in the Denver area. We also started specializing in weddings in Arizona (Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona). So guess what we put on our website? Information about our weddings in those locations!

And when we photographed in San Francisco, yep, we created a whole bunch of information on that too.

You can’t attract clients to your destination photography  unless you know where you want to go.

Choose your destinations, and start turning your dreams into reality.