We get lots of questions about photography, but there is no question which one we hear the most: “How do I recreate the ‘falling leaves’ photo I saw on Instagram??”
Some of our photographer friends might claim we’re sharing their secrets, but we’re going to tell you how you can recreate this look at home.
To recreate this type of image, you need to freeze the action in your frame. In this case, the “action” is falling leaves, but you can use this exact same method to photograph falling confetti, snowflakes, or even rain drops. So here’s the secret:
Step 1: Get two friends to help!
It’s impossible to pick up enough leaves (or confetti or snow) by yourself. These photos almost always have extra people hiding out of frame throwing additional leaves into the shot to create the falling look. Without those extra hands, what you end up with will more likely to end up looking like this:
Step 2: Adjust your lighting!
One of the most important things you can do to make this picture a success is to find good lighting. Your camera is already working to focus on moving objects, and you make it’s work much harder if it’s dark.
If you’re using an indoor set, pump up the lighting to catch the color and motion of the falling leaves. If you’re shooting outdoors, be sure to pick a bright location to work. Don’t worry much about a few clouds in the sky or an overcast day, just be sure you’re not standing in a shady spot or trying to take a picture with the light behind your subject.
Step 3: Set your camera!
If you have a camera with manual settings, simply set your shutter speed to 1000 or higher and set your aperture to a 5 or higher. If you don’t have a camera that offers such settings, use the automatic setting for sports or children. Those settings will adjust your camera to a faster shutter speed for you.
And, if you’re trying to capture this on a phone, your best bet may simply be trying multiple attempts. Newer iPhones that allow you to select a key photo are very handy, as you can simply grab the perfect shot out of a photo attempt.
Step 4: Have Fun!
The most important advice we can give to any photographer is simple – have fun!
Your audience will always recognize real joy in a photo and they will naturally find enjoyment viewing your work. If your subject is having a good time, you can be sure that everyone will know!