Tips & Tricks: Fall Photography

Tips & Tricks: Fall Photography | Twin Cities Mom Collective

The season of fall has officially arrived! Each year, we anticipate this season, longing for pumpkin spice lattes, cable knit sweaters, and the leaves changing all around. As a lifestyle photographer, the arrival of fall means it’s time to grab the camera and capture all the beauty this season has to offer, and I encourage all the mamas to do the same. Whether you’ve scheduled your fall photography session or plan to capture your little ones embracing this lovely time of year, here are some tips to make the most out of photographing the beautiful season of fall!

Style and Wardrobe 

As you begin to prepare for your session, let’s start by talking about styling the session and selecting the perfect fall-inspired wardrobe for your family!

Color Palettes

When you begin to coordinate outfits for family portraits, it can become easily overwhelming. To create ease in selecting each subjects’ outfit, begin by selecting the color palette you would like for your photos! When choosing this palette, select four to five colors that blend well and enhance the colors of fall. You will want to select a few neutrals and one or two more bold colors to create the color palette for outfit selection.

Here are some fall color palettes that would be great options for your fall portraits:

  1. Cream – Olive – Taupe – Camel – Sage
  2. Mustard – Navy – Grey – Cream – Taupe
  3. Cranberry – Navy – Cream – Taupe
  4. Cream – Rust – Navy – Taupe – Camel
  5. Mustard – Grey – Cranberry – Taupe – Cream

Patterns and Textures

Now that you have selected the color palette for your fall photos, let’s talk about patterns and textures! Including a pattern is a great way to tie the color palette together, this could be through a blanket scarf, cable knit sweater, hair scarf, skirt, or tights. If you choose to incorporate a pattern fabric, less is more. By selecting one or two of the subjects to wear a pattern, you will create the perfect contrast with the other subjects in solids. If you choose to stick with solids for wardrobe, you can also look for outfits with texture, such as a sequin skirt, cable knit sweater, or suede hat or boots to enhance your color palette.

Here are some examples of patterns and textures to incorporate in your wardrobe selection: plaid, stripes, velvet, leather, or suede. 


The addition of accessories to both wardrobe and the style of a session is a great way to further bring in the feel of fall to your portraits. As you consider adding accessories, I encourage you to capture portraits with and without those accessories for more photo options to choose from!

Here are some accessory options for the subjects in your fall portraits:

  • Women: Hats (such as a suede wide brim fedora), scarves (such as a plaid blanket scarf), headbands and hair scarves (such as a buffalo plaid hair scarf or velvet knot headband).
  • Men: Sweaters (such as a cable knit cardigan), belts (such as a camel leather belt), and watch (such as a cognac leather watch).
  • Children: Bonnets or hats (such as a neutral or knit bonnet), bows or headbands (such as a velvet bow or patterned headband), and shoes (such as camel suede moccasins).
  • Other: Blankets (such as a neutral knit blanket), baskets (such as a wooden bushel basket for apples), and leaves (for children to throw).

Lighting and Editing

Whether you own a camera or plan to capture portraits on your phone, here are a few tips and tricks to find the best lighting and edit photos on your own! If you’ve scheduled a fall photography session, your photographer will lead you to the best lighting and edit your portraits prior to delivering your gallery.


The most important thing to keep in mind when thinking about lighting is sunlight. The best times to photograph are when the sun is giving off the softest light, which is when the sun is lowest in the sky. As photographers, we call this time “golden hour,” the two hours after sunrise and the two hours prior to sunset. With children, the mornings are the perfect time to achieve this type of light (and this is when our children are usually the happiest!) Try to get outside just after breakfast to catch some of the morning golden glow.

As photographers, we also seek to avoid “harsh lighting,” which is when the sun is high in the sky or directly hitting the face of the subject. To avoid this type of lighting, find a shaded area and bring the subject(s) to the edge of the shade. This will allow for light to indirectly hit the subject while the subject is still completely covered by the shade. If you are photographing in a heavily shaded area, be sure to come as close to the edge of the shaded area to allow for the most indirect sunlight.

When the day is overcast, you will not need to worry about sunlight hitting your subject, and you will be able to photograph throughout the entire day. As you consider where to pose your subjects, when you have arrived at your location, think – soft lighting and indirect sunlight!


Whether you are capturing portraits on a camera or by phone, there are a variety of apps and software that are easy to use to achieve the type of editing you desire!

Here are some of those phone apps that allow you to edit with just one click: VSCO, Google Snapseed, Instasize, Pixlr and Instagram. If you are looking for an app that will allow you more freedom in editing, look into Adobe Lightroom (mobile or desktop). If you choose to download Adobe Lightroom, another easy editing option is to install “presets.” Presets are previously created editing adjustments that have been created and shared by other Adobe Lightroom users. Many photographers and lifestyle bloggers have created presets with a free download or purchase option. Because there are various editing styles, it’s best to take the time to search different presets you love, save those presets to your Adobe Lightroom, and with just one click, you are able to easily apply those presets to your portraits!


To embrace all the feels of fall for your photography session, here are a few locations around the Twin Cities that would be the perfect backdrop for a fall photoshoot!

Apple Orchards

Aamodt’s Apple Farm (North Metro)
6428 Manning Ave N, Stillwater, MN 55082

Emma Krumbee’s Orchard and Farm (South Metro)
311 E Enterprise Dr, Belle Plaine, MN 56011

Afton Apple Orchard (East Metro)
14421 90th St S, Hastings, MN 55033-8422 

Minnetonka Orchards (West Metro)
6530 County Rd 26, Minnetrista, MN 55364 

For a full list of orchards across the Twin Cities, check out the TCMC Apple Orchard Guide 2020. And if you’re looking to turn your apple orchard photoshoot into a fall weekend getaway, check out Bayfield, Wisconsin for lots of apple orchards, an adorable downtown along the lake, and the perfect family-friendly place to visit!

Pumpkin Patches

Pinehaven Farm (North Metro)
28186 Kettle River Blvd., Wyoming, MN 55092

Barten Pumpkins (South Metro)
5716 280th St W, New Prague, MN 56071

Afton Apple Orchard (East Metro)
14421 90th St S, Hastings, MN 55033-8422

Marshalls Farm Market (West Metro)
9100 Eden Prairie Rd #2308, Eden Prairie, MN 55347 

Fields and Forests

Silverwood Park (North Metro)
2500 County Rd E, St Anthony, MN 55421

Tamarack Nature Center (North Metro)
5287 Otter Lake Rd, White Bear Township, MN 55110

Whitetail Woods Regional Park (South Metro)
17100 Station Trail, Farmington, MN 55024

Highland Hills Ski Area (South Metro)
8800 Chalet Rd, Bloomington, MN 55438

Afton State Park (East Metro)
6959 Peller Avenue South, Hastings, MN 55033

St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park (East Metro)
10191 St Croix Trail S, Hastings, MN 55033

Elm Creek Park Reserve (West Metro)
12400 James Deane Pkwy, Maple Grove, MN 55369

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (West Metro)
3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska, MN 55318

Remember to have fun! Enjoy taking your fall photos!

Claire is a new mama who aspires to dream, encourage, create and celebrate. She believes she was put on the earth to find and create beauty, is passionate about faith and connection, and has always longed for motherhood. Her life’s anthem is ‘open hands, open heart,’ and she is constantly in awe of the grace of Jesus. Claire is happily married to her best friend, Nate, mama to her newborn son, Liam, and a dog mama to her cockapoo pup, Winston. She is a lover of red wine, a home filled with gold accents and a neutral palette, the perfect charcuterie and gathering around the table. You can follow along with her on Instagram, and through her Lifestyle Photography Lifestyle Blog.


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