Adventure Pro photographer Terrance Siemon shares his tips for capturing the best season of the year

Fall photography is all about color — and the colors in autumn are fleeting. The leaves change at a moment’s notice, which makes timing everything if you want to capture the peak colors. Here are a few tips to make this year’s photo excursion to capture fall colors stand out from seasons past. 

aspens lighting clouds crested butte colorado fall colors
Camera SONY A7iii | Lens 70-200mm | Aperture f/9 Exposure 1/160 | Focal length 70mm | ISO 80Terrance Siemon

Because the window for peak season is so short, knowing where you want to go to find colors is the key to a successful shoot. Before the temperatures drop and the colors change, find a place that you know will pop. Maybe last year you saw a certain aspen grove that stood out to you.

When you’re in the mountains in the spring or summer, keep in mind the places that you know will look good in September and October.

behind the lens fall colors crested butte colorado aspens
Camera SONY A7iii | Lens 70-200mm | Aperture f/11 | Exposure 1/250 | Focal length 138mm | ISO 400Terrance Siemon

This is still just as important in fall photos as it is in any photograph. Shoot in good light. That means staying away from harsh, middle-of-the-day light with bright sunny conditions. Wait for sunset and let the light hit the leaves at an angle. Or try shooting on a cloudy day. You’ll get much better light and softer contrast.

winding road fall colors crested butte colorado
Camera SONY A7iii | Lens 70-200mm | Aperture f/4 | Exposure 1/250 | Focal length 70 mm ISO 400Terrance Siemon

Including more than just the trees in the photos can help the overall composition of your photo. Use a road, trail or horizon to show the context of the fall colors. Also, including an object in the foreground helps. Think of how you would lay out a basic landscape photo, but with fall as the main subject. Including the white trunks of aspens makes for a nice contrast and gives the images a unique texture or pattern as well.  

snowy mountains Southwest Colorado
Camera SONY A7iii | Lens 70-200mm | Aperture f/4 Exposure 1/2500 | Focal length 200mm | ISO 320Terrance Siemon

Keep an eye on the weather when peak season is on the horizon. You could potentially miss the window if a cold front rolls in. However, shooting in inclement weather can really add drama to your photographs. Foggy mornings, hazy sunsets and the first snow-dusted peaks above the trees are impressive elements to keep in mind to capture the perfect fall photo.

For more Behind the Lens tips from Terrance, click here.