Pro Andy Porter’s Guide for Shooting Fall Colors

Andy Porter is a photographer with a gift for shooting astounding nature photos. Based out of Skagit Valley in Washington, he views photography as an outdoor adventure and below he shares his tips for photographing fall colors.




The search for autumn colors is not far off. Crisp cool air, low angles of sunlight and the smell of leaves … it’s a wonderful intoxicant!


Every part of the country has a slightly different window, often changing slightly from year to year, of opportunity to best capture fall colors.





And each region features its own unique autumn flora. Whether Aspen in the Rockies, Mountain Maple in Pennsylvania, Cottonwood in Utah or Larch in Washington, the fall riot of colors is exhilarating and special.

For me the two most important tools for capturing stunning fall colors are a polarizing filter and a wide angle lens.


The polarizer adds vibrancy and richness to greens, blues and reds. Clouds and blue skies are accentuated wonderfully with the polarized filter, and any pool of water, no matter how small, is turned into a perfect reflective mirror.





I find that a wide angle lens allows me to get close to my subject and capture a very wide depth of field with great clarity. Arranging the image so that you capture layers of near and far helps the viewer feel that they are there, in your picture.

Angle of light plays a big role in fall colors, altering your angle to the subject and light source can totally change the glow of colors. Backlighting can create wonderfully unusual colors, and a 90 degree angle makes for a deep rough texture.






Planning a bit gives you the chance to be there for sunrise or sunset. The autumn sun gives such a warm, full glow to leaves. It’s like someone flipped the light switch on!

It’s a really good idea to spend time searching out locations before the colors come. Spend a bit of time reconnoitering prime spots, noting whether they are morning or evening places. Look for any cool elements you can add to the fall foliage, such as lakes, barns, fields, tractors, pumpkins, etc.






Remember that great landscapes encompass elements of near and far. Layering your image with interesting elements at varying distance will pull the viewer right in.


And lastly keep your eye open for any pool of water, no matter how small, for a reflection. Make sure to circumnavigate your location on the lookout for any sort of leading line that you can incorporate in the image.




Thanks, Andy! Check out more of his amazing photography here.