As the temperature dips and leaves change color, the last of the bugs bid adieu, and the butterflies fly to greener pastures, you may feel disheartened as a macro photographer. But fall is an excellent time for photography—even macro photographers who may miss their favorite subjects will find other unique things to capture.
Here are some fall photography projects you can do with your macro lens.
1. Isolated Fall Elements
Let’s start with the star of the season—the fall leaves. Instead of sweeping fall vistas, you can find a beautiful fall leaf and capture its details with your macro lens. A fall leaf floating on water can look magical. You can also find other flora, like buds and seeds, that come in during fall.
You can play around with different depths of field to get different effects. Are you planning to use aperture priority mode? Then, you can use exposure compensation to get different looks.
If you go early in the morning, you can also capture the leaves covered in frost.
2. Textures on Seasonal Veggies
Along with colorful leaves, fall brings a whole lot of colorful veggies. You can capture the pumpkins and squashes—the textures on them can be unique. Chestnuts are also abundant, and you can play around with different backgrounds to make them interesting.
Naturally, the multicolored flint corn is a must-do macro subject. You can fill the frame with corn to capture the season’s harvest.
You can use a deep depth of field to get the corner-to-corner sharpness. But, macro lenses are notorious for their shallow depth of field. You can try the focus stacking technique to get sharp photos. Here’s a step-by-step focus stacking guide with Lightroom and Photoshop.
3. Backlit Fruit Slices
Bright red fruits like strawberries and pomegranates are in season during the fall. They are the perfect macro subjects; you can fill the frame with them and capture the color and texture with your macro lens.
Mandarins and grapefruits are also in season in the fall. You can slice these citrus fruits and use artificial lighting to capture the details using your macro lens.
You don’t need any fancy studio lights. Instead, just download a lighting app like iSoftBox on your iPad, cover it with plastic wrap, and place your sliced fruit on it. The fruit will be translucent in the backlight, making for a striking composition.
4. Creepy Holiday Decor
After the leaves turn color, you know what is around the corner—Halloween. There is no shortage of fearful decor during the season. So, hunt for the terrifying Jack-o-lanterns, scary skeletons, deadly zombies, and hairy spiders. Then, use various angles and perspectives to showcase them in more frightening ways.
Macro lenses are usually fast with a maximum wide aperture, making them perfect for low-light photography. So, feel free to take your photos at night to make them scarier.
5. Spooky Bokeh With Holiday Lights
You don’t have to wait for Christmas to take out the string lights. Take them now and experiment to get some unique bokeh. You can cut out shapes on a piece of paper and tape them over your lens. Then, you can manually focus on the lights to get unique bokeh shapes.
From Jack-o-lantern to skull and spider, your eerie bokeh choices are endless. If you need help, here’s a guide to making custom bokeh shapes.
6. Dew-Covered Cobwebs
You don’t see spiderwebs covered in dewdrops every day. The fall season has a distinctive characteristic where the days are warm, and the nights are cold. So, your chance of seeing pearly dew on a cobweb is higher in the fall.
Keep checking your weather for frost warnings. You may be able to see one the following morning. You have to dig deep in the woods to find one. So, bundle up and stay dry during your photographic adventures.
You may also need a tripod or a speedlight and a diffuser because you will be working early in the morning with low light. Autofocus is not much help to focus on intricate subjects like a spider web—manual focus is your best choice.
7. Mushrooms on Tree Trunks
Do you know the peak season for mushrooms? It is autumn. You’ll find them in bunches if you’re out on a hike in the woods. Toadstools are naturally vibrant and captivating. With other mushrooms, you have to be creative in making them look appealing.
Backlighting is a great technique—it will make the mushrooms look translucent. Use a shallow depth of field to get smooth bokeh. You can also try different angles and perspectives to make them more attractive.
If you don’t know the species, avoid touching them—many can be poisonous. Remember to wash your hands as soon as you can.
8. Birds With Fall Leaves in the Background
Birds are not technically macro subjects, but they are fun subjects to try with your macro lens. A telephoto macro lens like the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 or Canon’s 100mm f/2.8 can be excellent options for birds.
You can capture these winged beauties with fall colors in the background. If you have a bird feeder, hang it at a vantage point with leaves behind it.
Post-production is a must to make these avian friends look impeccable. Some cropping, adjusting highlights and shadows, and bumping up the vibration and saturation can take your bird photos to the next level. Learn more about getting started with bird photography here.
Can’t find birds? No problem—find some feathers and capture all the delicate details.
9. Dew Drops on Grass
Our fall project is not complete without the dew drops. Frost-filled early mornings are ideal for capturing moody photos like dew drops on grass. The proper way to take pictures of them is to lie down and capture them at eye level.
Play around with different aperture settings and check how you like the bokeh. Also, focus manually to know exactly where your camera’s focus points are. Autofocus will give you unintended results.
These types of artistic pictures are so beautiful and relaxing that you will want them enlarged and hung in your living room.
Bring the Fall Season to Life With Macro Photos
Although your favorite macro subjects are gone, you can still have a blast with your macro lens in the fall. They are versatile enough for different subjects due to their telephoto range, superior lens elements, and excellent clarity. Along with your creativity, you can capture the season’s essence and celebrate the season.