Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons. As a mother of three little boys, I thoroughly enjoy the excitement around picking out costumes for trick-or-treating. Every year my children get their use out of their costumes by wearing them all month long. As a photographer, I love all the gorgeous colors the season brings along with the shorter days and early golden hour. There’s of course challenges too like working with low light more frequently because of the shorter days. I’ve provided some tips and tricks on how to get the most out of documenting the fall season.
Shorter Days and An Early Golden Hour:
There’s a reason golden hour is a favorite among photographers. The light tends to be beautifully soft, warm and directional. Typically golden hour happens the last hour of daylight. However it can happen even earlier depending on your environment and surroundings. For example the sun sets much quicker behind mountains and treelines. You can track the best time for golden hour by you with apps like: LightTrac, Sun Surveyor, The Photographer’s Ephemeris and Magic Hour.
In the summer it’s challenging to photograph little ones during golden hour because it’s so late in the day. The wonderful thing about fall is that golden hour happens much earlier. To capture backlight, shoot into the light and consider placing the sun at the edge of your frame. This technique is often one way of capturing flare and haze.
Trick-or-Treating and The Benefits of a Zoom Lens:
One of my favorite things to document every fall is trick-or-treating. It’s a great way to mark children’s growth through the years. The environment changes often and I frequently find myself in tight spaces and trying to dodge strangers and crowds while photographing my children in the moment. For these situations I choose a Sigma 18-300mm zoom lens paired with a Canon 70D. This lens is specifically designed for the most widely used crop-sensor cameras including the Canon Rebel series, and Nikon’s DX format cameras. A zoom lens with this much flexibility in focal length gives me tons of versatility. I can zoom in tight and eliminate a lot of distractions within my frame. Or I can zoom wide to capture more of the environment for better storytelling.
Working With Low Light and Prime Lenses
The days are shorter in the fall and I often find myself having to work in low light situations. For these scenarios I pair my 70D with a 30mm f/1.4 Sigma Art lens which is great for working in this type of light because of its wide aperture at speedy shutter speeds. It’s fast and can quickly grab focus in tough situations. Not only that, it’s sharp even in low light when I have to bump up my ISO. Consider placing your subject as close as you can to your light source when working in this type of light. The more contrast the easier it will be for your camera to grab focus.
The Benefits of Using a 30mm Focal Length Lens Over Others:
One of the things I love about the 30mm is that it’s a wonderful lens to use for detail shots, especially indoors when you are working with low light. I’m able to get in close and quickly capture those details that are so fleeting and important to document. It’s important to know that the 30mm on a crop sensor camera like the Canon 70D operates more like a 50mm. The lens is small and easily portable… bonus as a mother on the go! I love to shoot wide open or close to it, but when capturing detail images I often close down my aperture more so that all those little details are in focus. Remember the closer you are to your subject the more narrow your focal plane will be.
Creating That Beautiful Bokeh
One of the beautiful things about bokeh (the out of focus area within an image) is that it’s not only visually appealing but it can help separate your subject from the background. With a wide aperture lens like the 30mm f/1.4 I’m able to shoot with a large aperture along for pretty bokeh and compression.
About Meg Loeks
Meg lives remotely in Northern Michigan with her husband and three boys. She shares glimpses of her life on her personal Instagram account: @meg_nlo. Outside of photography, Meg loves spending time outdoors, and ventures outside with her children whenever possible. She finds it both comforting and soothing to watch her children explore. Meg enjoys each of the seasons Michigan has to offer, especially fall and winter. She loves to snowboard, snowshoe, hike, bake and read.
Meg’s photography journey started when she was young with film. She made the switch to digital when she started having children. She became a Clickin Moms member in early 2014 and has been learning and growing with the influential community since. In 2015 she became a CMPro and in 2016 joined the CM team as a mentor. In the winter of 2016 Meg released her eBook, The Sincere Storyteller. Since she also teaches the workshop: Finding the Classic Beauty In Your Everyday with Click Photo School. Meg is drawn to low light, fine art, and environmental portraiture and color. Meg is also a Sigma Ambassador.