“One method, is I’ll collect radiant leaves and put them in a bag, then walk around the woods until I find a unique setting such as a large rock,” Stuligross said. “I’ll place leaves on the rock and take pictures.”
Variety is key to getting good results, Stuligross explained.
“I change the camera settings multiple times,” he said. “Under expose, over expose, move around, and keep snapping pictures. In the end, I have a large choice to select the best picture from.”
Timing is important, too. “I recommend shooting fall color pictures from sunrise to an hour after, or from an hour before sunset to sunset,” added Stuligross. “Morning dew is great. Mid-day sun tends to give the picture a bleached look. But, if it rains during the day, you usually can get a good picture. Water adds to a photo.”
When teaching, Stuligross purposefully gives vague assignments to his students, because, “The kids are creative. They’ll do things I hadn’t thought of, like take a picture from under a leaf or looking up through the trees, or they’ll lie on the ground and take many pictures.”
To frame your subject artfully, Stuligross offered up a trick to remember.
“A key rule is to offset the main object of interest in the photo,” he said. “I look through the lens and mentally draw tic-tac-toe lines. I put the main object, not dead center in the picture, but on one of the cross marks of the tic-tac-toe lines.”
The right frame can offer an artistic counterpoint to the finished print.
“Once you get the perfect photo, you can find a mat and frame to finish the picture,” said Stuligross. “I take the photo with me to the store and match it to a mat. The mat should complement the picture.”