Take great photos of your kids having fun with autumn leaves!

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Fall is a great time for photographs, and taking photographs of your kids playing in autumn leaves is just one of the possibilities. Here are some ideas for capturing some great moments.

Step 1. Create a nice pile of leaves. This might take some time, but is a critical step.
Step 2. Get kid to play in them.

SAFETY NOTE

Recently the potential danger of ticks carrying lyme disease has become more of a risk. Ticks can make their homes in leaves, so you should get your kids to do a tick check anytime they are playing in the outdoors.

CAMERA SETTINGS

Your camera settings will depend on what type of photograph you are doing.

ACTION PHOTOS

 

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SHUTTER SPEED:
You want to freeze action, so 1/500th to 1/1000th. Use SHUTTER PRIORITY (TV or S) or MANUAL (M) MODE to control the shutter speed.

APERTURE:
Whatever gets you the shutter speed you need. That is the critical element.
Assuming full sun, you’ll end up with F8/F11, which should be more than enough depth of field.

LENS:
Depends on the kind of image you are going for. A wider angle will let you get up close, or show more of the environment. Telephoto lenses will allow you to stand farther back and capture the action more candidly.

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INTENTIONAL BLUR

Interesting photographs can also be created by using slow shutter speeds with the movement to create sharpness and blur.

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SHUTTER SPEED:
You are trying to get blur, but also some sharpness, so 1/90th to 1/125th should be good. Use SHUTTER PRIORITY (TV or S) or MANUAL (M) MODE to control the shutter speed.

APERTURE:
Whatever gets you the shutter speed you need. That is the critical element. Assuming full sun, you’ll end up with F22. You may need to lower the ISO to 100/200 to get the proper exposure.  If it’s overcast you’ll have to open the aperture more.

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PORTRAITS

 

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SHUTTER SPEEDS:
Kids tend to not stay still, so I would recommend 1/250th of a second at minimum, unless you know your kids are going to stay steady.

APERTURE:
Good old F8. Or lower if you really want shallow depth of field. Just make sure to focus on the eyes.

LENS:
85mm is considered the standard for portraits, because it gives you in general about a foot of depth of field with F8, resulting in a nice out of focus background. But you can also use larger lenses if you want more softness.

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ANGLES

Down just take photographs at eye level! If possible, get up higher!

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A lower angle can also be interesting, but usually isn’t flattering to your subjects.
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For portraits however, the lower angle is better when the kids are laying in the leaves.
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LIGHT

Different light will be better depending on the type of photograph your are trying to do.
Full sun will be best for action, but it can be a bit harsh and contrasty. Overcast is more even light, but not as bright, which will make it harder to capture action. But the light will be perfect for portraits.

In general you will get the best light if it’s shining on the subjects. You can also try the subject backlit as well (bottom right), but make sure to meter from the person so they are exposed properly. You will get some interesting light coming through the leaves.

You can also get some nice contrast if you can find an angle where the background is in shade. In the image below, the leaves stand out nicely from the dark trees in the background.

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For portraits however, the full sun can be a bit harsh, and so bright it causes the subjects to squint.

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Overcast light is much softer. Make sure to use the OVERCAST (CLOUD) white balance to warm up the tones.

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ONE MORE TIP

You can have someone else throw the leaves around instead of the kids, which will allow you to pose them a bit more if you like.

So go out there, have some fun, and send me some great shots or post them in the online student galleries if you have a login!

RELATED POST: HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH FABULOUS FALL FOLIAGE

Hope you capture some great moments!
Happy shooting!


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Noel Chenier

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Photographer and teacher
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