Harnessing autumn light

Compact camera tips

The shift towards the colours of autumn means that now is a great time to take a walk with your camera. The lower elevation of the sun in the time means light is often warm and soft - great for shooting photos throughout the day. The coming of colder nights also mean there's a greater chance of fog forming in the morning - so get out and capture photos of misty city or countryside before any sun burns it off.

• Zoom in
• Select a single face
• Indoor portrait tips
• Saturate colour
• Choose your AF point
• Shoot in the shade

Zoom in

When you want to take portrait photos in early autumn light, the key is to capture your subject in the best possible way. If you zoom in to your subject, even walking away from them a little if necessary, the results are more flattering. The longer zoom setting flattens facial features for a more pleasing result.

Select a single face

The camera’s Face Detection system identifies multiple faces in your pictures. If your chosen portrait subject is amongst a crowd of other people make sure you select their face as the primary one to watch. Once selected the camera will track them as you recompose your frame and ensure that they are in focus and correctly exposed.

Indoor portrait tips

Sometimes early autumn weather is unpredictable and you’ll need to shoot inside. Try to find a window, and try a bit of white net or tulle material as a diffuser. Place the portrait subject so that the window light falls on one side of their face then ask them to turn their head slightly to look outside the window. Now the soft light will evenly light their face. Make sure you turn off your camera’s flash and hold the camera still to get the best results.

Autumn-Leaves-Colour Maple Basin - Catherine
Rights: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Saturate colours

Set your camera to deliver strong saturated colours to create bold, eye-catching images of early autumn. The yellow, red and gold hues of autumn-coloured landscapes are often more reflective than green ones, so setting the camera exposure compensation to underexpose by -1/3 or -2/3-stop will help to capture stronger, saturated colours. You might also try your camera’s “My Colors” feature if it has it. Choose Vivid for strong saturated colours.

Choose your AF point

Whether shooting portraits, landscapes or city scenes, you need to be in control of where your camera will focus. Using multi-point AF works for many subjects, but when you want to be very specific and focus sharply on your subject’s eye, a single point is much more reliable. Go to your Settings mode on your IXUS or PowerShot and try experimenting with the different focal points available to you.

Shoot in the shade

Late in the evening on autumn days, sunshine can be very strong making it uncomfortable for your portrait subject. It can also give your photos harsher contrast and deep shadows. Choosing an area in the shade, under a tree, or in the shade of a building will yield much better results as you subject will not be squinting. In addition, the bright background behind them will add to the drama of your photo.

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Coming Next: Seeing the world without a viewfinder

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