Taking a photo during the twilight hours of a sunrise or sunset provides a degree of softness to the photo that enhances the warmth of the portrait. These times bring out the naturally occurring red and gold colors of the season and have been affectionately termed, "The Magic Hours" by photographers. If the weather is cloudy, don't abandon your photo opportunity. Often, cloudy days create astounding effects, as the sun isn't beating down on you, and the normally rich colors are subdued.
Fall provides a stunning atmosphere to take effective photos. The darkened days and brilliant sunsets provide an extra layer of ambiance for your photos. The soft hues of a sunrise or sunset soften the features of your face, providing excellent opportunities for a brilliant fall portrait. Whether you set the camera on a timer, or enlist the help of a friend to take your photo, take advantage of the myriad colors that fall has to offer.
Set your camera to automatically take pictures every one to three seconds and place it on a tripod. Try and place the tripod in a location so that the sun is behind the camera and not shining directly into the lens. This will prevent your photo from being ruined by too much sun exposure. If you are taking your portrait during a sunrise or sunset, you do not need to use your flash. Slow down the shutter speed to create a subtle blurred effect in your photo. You can also point the camera just to the right or left of the sun, as long as you do not face the sun directly.
Purchase a camera with a polarized lens for the best results. Polarized lenses can increase the brightness of your photos and provide more vibrant colors. In the absence of a polarized lens, you can manipulate the contrast, hue and brightness in your photo editing program. The goal is to get a good mix of vibrant colors and a warm, soft background. When using a polarized lens, make sure your background has plenty of colors to help add interest to your portrait.
Don't be afraid to use the zoom feature, or get in close to take an effective fall portrait. You don't have to look directly at the camera or position the camera directly in front of you. Experiment with different angles: Have a friend climb a tree and take a picture of you from above, for instance. The traditional method of taking a portrait involves centering the subject in the photo; break the rules and keep the subject to the left or right third of the photo and have her look toward the other side of it. Get creative and think of ways to take unconventional photos.
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