The colours of October

by Diane - October 28, 2021

"In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October."  -Alexander Smith

Fall is such a lovely season.  It is warm and cozy sweater time.  It's also a great time of year to get out there and capture the beauty of the season through our photography.  Not only do we get to witness the wonderful warm colours of the changing leaves, but also all things spooky and eerie with Halloween.

Autumn provides us with so many photo opportunities.  It's a nice time to be outside.  I hope to give you some ides of what to capture this October and hopefully add some tips to help you along the way.


Autumn colours

You can't think of October without immediately thinking of the changing leaves.  The colours go from shades of green to various hues of red, orange, and yellow.  It is my favourite season to photograph.  Who doesn't love to look at and photograph beautiful trees as their leaves change?  It's great to include trees in your photos but a photo of just trees, even brightly coloured ones, can at times be a tad boring.  To enhance your fall photos include a point of interest.  For instance a winding road or hiking trail lined with beautiful trees can make for a gorgeous photo.  Or, look for a lake or body of water reflecting the splendor of colourful trees.  To best capture these scenes or other landscape photos a large depth of field is preferable so aim for an aperture of f/8-f/11.

winding road

Another option is to shoot with a high shutter speed and capture a child or even an adult jumping into a pile of leaves.  Or, have them take a pile of leaves and throw them into the air.  Aim for a shutter speed of 1/250 or higher to freeze the leaves as they fall from the air.  I have no problem finding volunteers when it comes to jumping into a pile of leaves.  

You can also single out a particularly beautiful leaf and capture it with a wide open aperture around f/2 isolating the leaf while creating lovely bokeh behind it.  I did a collage of family photos one fall.  I took a pretty orange leaf and carved the word family into it.  I then held it up against a background of fall leaves and snapped a photo.  I love how the autumn colours blurred in the background make the single leaf pop.  This photo anchors my collage of family photots.

fun times

To enhance your fall photos and to make them pop, shoot at golden hour.  When the sun is in a low position around sunrise and sunset it provides a rich glow which enhances the vibrant colour of autumn. The shorter days make getting up or staying up to catch the sunrise or sunset even easier.  The cool nights also can provide for misty mornings.  Fog or mist mixed with the fall foliage can provide for some stunning scenes just waiting to be captured.  And, as we move on in the season there's always a chance of frost.  The contrast of the white frost on the rich coloured leaves can be just beautiful.  You just have to get out there and capture it.

misty morning

Play with your white balance when you are taking photos in the fall.  you can enhance the richness of your scene by increasing the white balance in your photo.  Increasing the white balance enhances the warmth of the photo.  I sometimes also like to use this trick when photographing a sunrise or sunset.  It can make a mediocre sunset into a stunning photo.


One of the advantages of having shorter days is that it is easier to photograph a full moon.  You don't need to stay up as late this time of year to get the perfect moon shot.  If you're presented with a clear night and there's a full moon this October, here's a few tips for capturing its awesome details.  Use a tripod and the longest lens/focal length you have.  The moon is constantly moving so using a tripod and a timer will help stabilize your camera and enhance the crispness of your photo.  The moon is a big ball of light so the right settings are needed if you want to capture more than a circle of light in your photo.  Start with ISO 100, f/11-f/16 and 1/125 sec.  If it's too dark, adjust your f stop to f8-f/11.  These settings are a good place to start and then you can easily adjust as necessary until you get the shot you want.  It is best to use manual focus.  I use live view and then zoom in on the moon to set my focus.  Once focus is set I zoom back out and take the photo using a timer or remote trigger.  Getting a good moon shot can be a challenge but when you capture a clear shot the feeling is awesome!


In Canada our thanksgiving is in October.  It's our time to give thanks for the harvest.  Farmer's stands on the side of the road are laden with fall fruits and vegetables.  The colours just burst from the racks.  I just love taking my camera to our local farmer's market and grabbing a photo or two of the rows and rows of fresh produce.  If you're thinking of photographing a roadside stand or farmer's market, I suggest you approach the owner of the stand and ask them if you can photograph some of their wares.  I have found most folks are more than willing to show off their produce.  If you're lucky you may even get them to join you for a photo.  It is nice to tag the business when you post on social media,  I find owners are often thankful for the mention.

fall flowers

As we move on toward the end of the month we approach Halloween.  Every year in my neighbourhood a local farm opens up a pumpkin patch.  Thousands of pumpkins and gourds are laid out around the area for us to wander through.  It provides great opportunities for photos with the family!  Our grandson loves visiting the pumpkin patch each year and I love taking photos of him having fun.  The farm also sets up various beautifully decorated stations specifically for photos.  It doesn't get much better than that.  If you come across a pumpkin patch in your area, make sure you visit.  You'll find thousands of photo opportunities.

pumpkin patch

Halloween is the time for witches and ghosts.  I like to take a walk around my neighbourhood and take photos of the halloween themed homes in our area.  Some homes go all out for halloween and it's fun not only to see it but to capture it as well.  I also find that some folks have a real talent for pumpkin carving.  I've seen some great examples of this creativity when wandering around.  Finally, if you have little ones in the family make time to take photos of them in their halloween costumes.  Is there anything cuter than a child in a halloween costume?  I don't think so.

carved pumpkins
halloween costume

I love getting out in the fall with my camera.  There are an abundance of photo opportunities just waiting out there for you.  I can't wait to see what you capture this October.

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers"  -Anne of Green Gables