Reframing and Tightening Up Your Fall Color Images

Today’s Post by Barry Staver

Fall is a favorite season for myself and many friends. Crisp air, cooler evenings, and spectacular colors as leaves turn from green to their gorgeous red, yellow, gold and persimmon hues as they prepare for winter.


We all have photographs of colorful leaves, sunsets and fireworks, right? They’re such general subjects that we’ve all made attempts at them. Herein lies the challenge: creating images that will stand out from the rest.


Here are a couple of ways I attempted to make these images jump out at viewers.

  1. Instead of photographing entire hillsides of Colorado Aspen trees with a wide-angle lens, I shot with my Lumix GX Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom on the Panasonic Lumix GH-4.
  2. I looked for scenes where I could incorporate contrasting colors and tones to further accentuate the golds and yellows.
  3. Most scenics are shot in wide panoramic horizontal format. I changed the format in camera to 1:1 (square).
  4. I hiked into the forest until I stumbled onto these views that are side-lit. Side or back lighting is the best way to really bring out the colors. Much better than full front light.


  • Photo #1 is the traditional panoramic wide horizontal, with the distant mountain peak centered.
  • Photo #2 shot from the same spot, camera switched to capture a square format. I reframed the shot using the contrasting green tree to the left and the two tree trunks at right to balance the image. I think it shows fall colors much better with more interest than Photo 1.
  • Photo #3 is another favorite from this hike, near Frisco, Colorado. I zoomed the lens to its maximum 100mm (35mm equivalent would be 200mm). I really like the lines created by the tree trunks and branches. Fall colors brought to life.
  • Photo #4 (shown on blog’s splash page and thumbnails) using the same square format, contrasting colors, side lighting. It’s a wider shot, but all of these techniques help highlight the yellows and reds of the trees and the straw colored short grass in the foreground.