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Autumn Sessions Tips



It’s October and autumn is here. The foliage is breathtaking (if you are lucky to be living in a state that offers it). And it’s hard to take a bad picture but you should still follow some steps to ensure that your clients will receive gorgeous portraits.

Scout Your Location(s)

This is very important! Scouting your location a day before your session is a must! Today you can look out the window and gush over the shades of autumn and just three days later you could be staring at bare trees. A little rain or wind is all it takes for the beautiful leaves to fall and leave you and your dear clients disappointed. However, if it ever happens don’t fret! Summerana Academy offers gorgeous “Fall Digital Backgrounds” so all you have to do is find a suitable location to do your sessions and composite a beautiful fall background in photoshop.


Monika Cioban Photography


Style your clients

Don’t you just love it when you did not take the time to consult your clients on their outfits and mom shows up with a neon green manicure while the boys are dressed in 10 different patterns head to toe…yeah, me neither! Always take the time to talk to them about outfits, colors, patterns…etc. After all if they show up looking like they are going to the beach, the beautiful autumn background colors won’t matter. Make sure to always request pictures of all outfits and do not be afraid to let them know if something doesn’t work. They need guidance and you are the professional!

Track the sun

During the warmer months, we are used to scheduling sessions pretty late because most of us chase the golden hour. In the fall, however, we need to schedule sessions a lot earlier (seriously it gets dark at 5:30 pm where I am). Watch the sun, visit your location(s) and see what’s the earliest time you are comfortable shooting. Light is and always has been one of the most important components of creating a beautiful portrait.

Pose or Don’t Pose

Are you more of a lifestyle photographer? Perhaps you love posing? Either way, you can mix and match to create a beautiful gallery. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Also always take advantage of “props” that just happen to be at your location.
I fell in love with the fountain you see in my gallery and I had to find a way to incorporate it. Luckily I was able to shoot from 2 different sides so I got 2 very different backgrounds.



No need to always shoot wide open

I love portraits with beautiful bokeh and I strive to get that heavenly creaminess in camera however I must admit that fellow photographers that do not shoot wide open get pretty spectacular portraits that show more of the gorgeous fall background. I have decided for myself that I will shoot both from now on and so should you!


Normally I say “Don’t be afraid of the ISO, bump it up”. But this isn’t the case…
Keep your ISO at 200 max to capture all of the detail of the colors of the leaves. High ISO=noise, we do not want noise. If you must bump the ISO due to shooting later than expected, go for it but fix the noise in post.



Be Creative

Some families are a dream to photograph, so if you finish earlier than expected and you have some time to grab some creative shots; go for it! Some of my favorite shots I have seen (but never taken myself) are of kids throwing leaves and jumping around. I can assure you that no parent would see a portrait of their happy children playing and not buy it! This is a great way to upsell sessions so think of more captures that will be sure to melt mom and dad’s hearts.

Good luck and Happy Shooting!

This article was featured in Summerana Magazine | November 2020 issue


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