How to get a stunning shot of the Canberra autumn leaves | HerCanberra

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How to get a stunning shot of the Canberra autumn leaves

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Get ready, your Insta grid is about to look unbe-leaf-able.

It’s starting to look like that time of year—the leaves are beginning to turn and soon we’ll all be competing to see who can get the best shot for the ‘gram. Well, it’s time to charge your phone and polish your lenses, here Canberra photographer Snaps by Sal shares her tips for getting the perfect snap.

All the gear, and (some) ideas!

The one thing I always hear this time of year is, “I can never get a good picture with my phone!” Pfft, that excuse is as dead as the fallen leaves on the ground. The best camera is the one you have with you, but you can be a bit better prepared for autumn and the shots you want to take.

I suggest:

  • Making sure your lens is clean—do a preemptive shirt rub just to be sure.
  • Carry a pocket mirror, or some extra water, because reflections and droplets can make something slightly dull seem magical.
  • Take a friend! I love to use silhouettes and shadows to add a bit of personality into nature. It can also help to have a snapping buddy, to bounce ideas off or throw leaves at!
  • Carry all your lenses with you, or don’t be scared to use your phone zoom or wide angles creatively. The one thing I often regret is not zooming in to see the veins of a leaf in macro, or hidden bird in the trees, or zooming right out to see the scale of a street of trees that have caught on fire.

In the ‘burbs

Ngunnawal and Ngambri land is full of fabulous autumn locations worth exploring. Certain streets really do set themselves on fire, so it is good to have a little bit of a plan for when specific areas are at their best. I like to go for little drives around areas such as Yarralumla, Red Hill and some of the inner-city streets from late March. I also keep a note on my phone with street names of places that may be good come autumn.

When parking in the suburbs, especially on busy autumn-famous streets, please consider those who live there and whether you are being respectful while getting your snaps! Park further away if you need, and just go for a walk.

Tons of ways to colorway

Outfit planning is a cute idea, if you are looking to get a fresh autumn profile pic, or a nice family shot amongst the leaves. I suggest either going neutrals such as fawn, tan, black and white to let the leaves shine. Alternatively, bright colours to match bright locations can also look fab—a rainbow umbrella or yellow gumboots are fabulous props to have in your autumn arsenal.

Strike a pose

It is ok to be a poser in autumn, and using the leaves to your advantage is a must.  Think:

  • Holding leaves.
  • Kicking leaves.
  • Using leaves as a masquerade mask.
  • Laying down in leaves.
  • Chucking leaves (but PSA…check for sticks first!).

Have fun with the leaves, get creative with the leaves—leaves leave leaves, it’s all about ‘em this time of year!

You’ve been FRAMED!

Framing is my one true love—I adore a well composed shot, and using one iconic thing to frame another iconic thing. In spring, it is blossoms. In autumn, it is leaves.

To do this sort of framing, I often need a stool or step to get up high, or mediocrely flexible hamstrings to get down low. Really these shots are all about the focus, use the leaves to frame, and find a gap amongst the foliage for the subject to appear. Then click on the item to make sure it is in focus. Voilà, art!

Anywhere you go, you always take the weather with you

The good thing about autumn leaves, is that they shine through no matter what. Don’t fear an overcast day, or a bit of glary sun, really let the trees shine and work with what the weather gives you. Puddles can be magical in autumn, try using a brightly colored fallen leaf as a boat, and see if you can get creative.

Circle of life

My final piece of advice is, follow autumn through all its cycles. The leaves at all stages have different colors and personality, as well as changing as the early morning light or late afternoon glow hits the trees. This allows for the full spectrum of color and character to be explored, don’t be put off visiting a location more than once this season.

I hope these ideas help you to go out, snap and smile through autumn our glorious city!

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