I love shooting fall portraits. Fall color can provide some beautiful backgrounds. The quality of light is also softer as the sun is lower in the sky. One of the keys is to photograph the subject in the shade with the subject backlit by the sun. The leaves will also look better as they will be backlit as well.
I shot this portrait of two brothers near Vail, Colorado using this theory. I shot it with a 70-200 2.8 lens with a polarizing filter. The filter cuts out two stops of light so I can use a wider f stop to blur the background more. I try to set shutter speed and ISO to where the ambient light is measuring neutral. I don’t want to overexpose the background too much or I’ll white it out. This can be a problem on sunny days. I may even have to use a stronger neutral density filter to lower the shutter speed enough so I can use a flash. The maximum flash sync on my camera in only 1/200 second. I used a flash with a soft box mounted on a light stand to provide fill light and catch light in the eyes. When using a soft box it is important to remember to set the flash compensation to +2/3 or +1 since it has a layer of fabric to shoot through. One of the final steps is to make sure that neither of the tree trunks in the background looks like it is coming directly out of the head of one of the boys. This can be a distracting element to a portrait.
In this example, I was shooting a senior portrait. My client wanted fall color in the shots. We went up to the summit of Kenosha Pass near FairPlay for the shoot. I had my subject rest against a rock with the sun at her back. Again, it backlit the aspen leaves and works as a natural hair light, just rimming the back of her shoulders and head. I used a little narrower aperture to give more detail to the aspen behind her. Again, I was using a flash mounted on a light stand to provide fill.
Have fun shooting your own fall portraits or call 303 478 7586 to set up your session today.