Updated: Nov 13, 2020
It's autumn, and you've seen some really cool shots people have taken, with leaves falling in the photo. Now you are wondering how do you do that? It is quite easy actually, I just did a product shoot for Hydroflask, and used this technique. So I'll explain what I did, then explain how you can do just the same.
For this shot the settings I used were ISO 2000, shutter speed 1/800 and aperture 5.6. Ideally, I would have used a much lower ISO, however on this particular day it was completely overcast and there wasn't a lot of light. The shutter speed of 1/800 is the slowest I would personally go, again this was due to the low light on the day. I used f5.6 so I had a more flexibility with ISO and shutter speed, but so that I didn't completely blur the background out. The lens I was using goes to 1.8, which I did try but the leaves were not clear at all.
If all of that didn't make the least bit of sense to you, check out this video here.
In better light, I would recommend you try something like ISO 100, shutter speed 1/1000 and aperture 7.1 (depends how much depth of field you want, and on your lens- every lens has a sweet spot just google it). If you are struggling in shooting full manual, change your camera to shutter priority mode (again you can just google how to do this for your particular model) and set the shutter speed to 1/1000.
Then make sure your camera is shooting in burst mode, you will know if it is if it starts going crazy taking photo after photo when you hold down the button to take a picture. Again, google your camera model and how to set it to burst mode if you are unsure. I know I have talked a lot about settings, if you are unfamiliar with them. This is because the leaves are moving fast, and if you simply let your camera decide what to do (automatic), it may not get those leaves nice and sharp.
To get this effect with the leaves you have a few different options once you have your camera set up. You can try and wait for leaves to naturally fall into the composition, which can definitely work on a windy day. This may take a lot of time, so be prepared to wait around. Using the burst mode can really pay off here, just fire away as many shots as you can each time leaves start falling down. The more photos you have to pick from the better. Leaves can sometimes spoil compositions if they are flying in the wrong place.
Another option you have is to get someone (ideally), or yourself to grab a bunch of leaves and drop/ throw them into the photo. This is really fun if you are doing a portrait of someone, they're going to get covered! You could even get your subject to throw them as pictured below. The options are endless. Find your composition and again, fire away, get loads of photos. You can't fully control where those leaves are going to be, so you are best just getting loads of photos to go through and delete out the ones that didn't work out so well.
Like I just mentioned; the options are endless. So go out have some fun and see what you get. Those great colours don't last forever, take the opportunity while you can. Let me know how you get on by joining my facebook group here!