Experts at Work: Making the Most of Autumn’s Colourscape

Burnt oranges, earthy reds and roasted corn yellows – Autumn’s natural colour palette and tapestry of textures provides a rich and romantic backdrop for wedding or engagement shoots. Photographer, Ross Willsher, reveals how to make the most of it.

“The colours in nature are so diverse and vary from season to season and that is why I love shooting outdoors – especially in rural areas; there is an endless variety of colour and texture to work with. The autumnal orange and brown tones in particular, are fantastic to work with because they produce such strikingly romantic backdrops for portrait photos.

“I’m not one for endless amounts of post-production so my editing is about enhancing what is already in the image rather than creating something new. Autumn’s natural lighting is incredibly vibrant so it’s simply a case of utilising soft, natural light to bring out the colours and textures.”
“Scout out a location prior to a shoot to see what’s in bloom and think about how the environment can help portray the unique relationship the couple share with one another. This is what I did here, with Georgia and Daisy. Knowing the colours of the setting allowed me to advise them on what colours and styles of clothing would work best within their chosen setting. I find that images are stronger when couples complement the scenery without blending in to it; as a rule, earthy, rustic tones work well against an autumnal countryside backdrop, and pale pastel colours suit beach shoots.”

“Soft golden light flatters the facial features”

“Shooting at different times of day has a massive impact on how couples and the natural environment look. The golden hours (an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset) produce soft, golden lighting that flatters the facial features and highlights the textures and tones of the landscape.

“Try to avoid the harshness of the midday sun – it creates stark contrast of highlights and shadows, and isn’t particularly kind. If you do shoot at this time, seek out shady areas where the light is even and softer.”

“I love placing couples behind tall grasses, wild-growing foliage and rustic fences and using a wide aperture to make them really stand out from their surroundings. Not only does this enable me to portray the depth and textures within the environment, it often also helps shy or nervous couples to feel partially ‘hidden’ and less exposed. There are some fabulous flora that come into flower during early Autumn, so try to play around with the the naturally occurring shapes in the great outdoors (including tree branches and gaps in hedges) to frame couples and to create a sense of scale and perspective.”

“Backlighting couples in Autumn’s golden hours creates an ethereal glow” Autumn’s golden hours are exquisite and provide the most beautiful, soft and romantic light. I love backlighting couples (placing them in front of the light) to create a glow around them that is almost ethereal in it’s beauty. Shooting during these hours of the season provides timeless images, that not only show but invoke feelings of romance and love in everyone that views them.”

View more of Ross’s work.

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