In Buckinghamshire and Berkshire we are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to autumnal spots.  There are the obvious places such as Clivedon    that are brimming with trees and forest walks for miles.

Larger places like this are amazing to visit particularly if you want to really take in the landscape and how the oranges and reds frame and form the spectacular views.

However, do not discount your local parks, I have found many local recreation grounds or parks are lined at the edges with large trees that change to vibrant colours at this time of year.  You normally just have to be careful when positioning yourself and whoever you’re photographing so you avoid the buildings / playgrounds in the background.  Or get up to your subjects nice and close.

Some of my favourite places to visit at this time of year are, Burnham Beeches, Kidwells Park (pictured below), Langley Park (pictured below), The Look Out

The things I look out for are lots of open space, so that there is enough light to give my subjects bright faces. You also want to include colour in the surrounding areas.  I like places with lots of leaves on the floor, rather than a green grass, the leaves add another dimension to the photos.  And I also look for trees / branches / logs to create interest in the photos and also to sit young children on, so that I can get lovely portraits with gorgeous blurry yellows and reds behind them.


Autumn is my favourite season for dressing up!  Clothing really can add so much to autumnal pictures.  There are a couple of things to consider:

1 – Colour

The main colours within nature at this time, are yellow, brown, red, orange, green. So I suggest that the people I am photographing go for one of two options:

A) wear a combination of those colours and go for what is called analogous styling (colours that sit next to eachother on the colour wheel).

So for example you might go for brown trousers with a mustard yellow top.  You don’t have to break the bank, places like Asda are really great at stocking fabulous burgundy jumpers, beige cords, orange pinafores.  There is so much choice out there.

B) Alternatively, what also works well, is to look at these colours of nature go for opposite tones on the colour wheel.  This is called complimentary colour styling.    So burgundy mixed with forest green or mustard yellow mixed with navy blue.   Using these colours within your clothing can really make your subject stand out.  You don’t even have to mix those colours within your outfit, as you will be photographing within a brown/yellow/green backdrop opposing colours will work well on their own.

2- Accessorise

Is there anything cuter than a child wrapped up warm in a bobble hat?  Some of my favourite pictures of the kids are from autumn where they are in their wellies and hats.  Don’t just stop there though, fur gilets, scarfs, long knee length socks, gloves, cardigans look fab on the kids and obviously adults as well!

3- Don’t ignore the shoes!  Shoes in autumn, more than ever can really make an outfit.  Don’t dress the kiddies in lovely clothes and then put scruffy old trainers on if you can help it!


I like to use my 35mm lens for my family sessions which is a wide angle lens that picks up a lot of detail and gives a more contrasty affect to my images.  I like the fact that I can be far away from my clients and also get really close up.  I believe this lens allows me to capture the connection between families and focus on that and the light and not much else!

A 35mm or 50mm are also great to get shots of the kids lying in the leaves as well, you will have to stand over them.

I do use my 70-200 lens for a small portion of the session, if there is a low hanging tree, or branch that I can sit people on, to create a more classic portrait with some fabulous blur.

During autumn, I would definitely suggest trying different lenses to get a variety of different types of images.  Play with your longer focal lengths to see where you get the best bokeh (blurry background).  In autumn, the colours, mixed with the light, can create some beautiful results.

Obviously you can also do this using a 50mm or a 35mm if you are close to your subject and have them slightly forward from the tree/bush behind, as long as you choose a fairly wide aperture.  The wider the aperture, the less there is in focus in the picture (because the depth of field is smaller).  Both of the images below were shot at around f2.8-4.  On my 70-200 the widest aperture is 4 but because I have such a long focal length (200mm)  can create fantastic blur as below.


Remember, when photographing moving kids or animals, you don’t want to use a shutter speed lower than 1/250th, ideally 1/500th of a second if you can. This will ensure yo get sharp images rather than blurry, soft images.


I am always banging on about golden hour and scheduling my sessions toward the end of the day when the light is lower, but I find autumn light is just that much more twinkly and special!  Try to get out a couple of hours before the sun goes down which is so much easier in autumn with young children as it’s earlier.  You will find that the light is softer and as long as you are not shooting directly into the light you won’t get the haze, instead you’ll see the light making the reds and yellows more saturated and golden – it’s just lovely.

Don’t be scared if there is a lot of bright sunshine, which there often is at this time of year.  Make use of the low hanging trees or shaded spots and turn your subjects faces towards the open sky.  Local parks are often, as mentioned, lined with tall trees, so position your subject under one (at the edge of the shade).  Likewise if it’s a cloudy day, you can make the most of the natural light diffusion and pretty much photograph your subjects anywhere!


If you go into the woods today…

Well you won’t be in for a surprise but you will get dull, dark faces and what we call ‘colour casts’, which is where the light is reflecting the colour of your surroundings onto your face.  For example if you are in the woods, you would get dark brown, yellow, green colour on your face rather than illuminating your face to show its natural colour with bright open skylight.

So always find autumnal colour within big open spaces if you can help it.


I often to to woodland where there are ferns as they really make autumn for me.  The leaves are large enough to get some playful images with children hiding so it’s great to experiment with close up shots like this.

Kids love to throw and roll around on the floor so get them playing with the leaves and see what magic you can capture!

I hope you found this helpful!  If you'd like to book a professional photo shoot with me please get in contact or fill out the form below.  I also run beginners photography courses - next one is November 16th, click here to found out more