The Magic of Fall Foliage in the Smoky Mountains: 8 Tips for Capturing Vibrant Colors

Wherever photographers go, they capture everything seen and unseen through your naked eyes. The fall in the Smoky Mountains is one of a kind where the fall shades cover the sky and soft wind is blowing. Fall is one of the most loved times by photographers to capture the great smoky mountains national park photos. Photographers can easily find the mountain ranges covered with scarlet oak, hickories, sweet gum, and sugar maple in fall.

The beauty of this place is undefined, but capturing all its beauty will take you more than just time. To help photographers highlight the photographs’ color, below are eight tips you must read.

8 Tips To Capture Vibrant Colors In The Smoky Mountains


Getting vibrant colors to show up in your photographs can be difficult if your timing and place are wrong. Sometimes, even if you check everything you need for vibrant fall photographs, they can still look dull. The tips below will help you showcase the vibrant colors and brighten up the overall photographs.

●     Visit When The Colors Are At Its Peak

Fall doesn’t start right at the time when the leaves start to change. It starts when the wind is still soft yet chilly. It stays the same for a week or two before the leaves start changing colors. The colors are at their peak in the mid of the fall instead of at the beginning and the end. Many photographers visit the fall in early or at the end in hopes of finding fewer people in the camping grounds.

If you are visiting earlier than needed, you won’t be able to see the colors. If you visit at the end, you will be left with only fallen leaves. Visiting in the middle of the fall would give you the opportunity to capture the Smoky Mountains at the peak of fall.

●     Research The Timings And Place

The timings and place of your camping ground or any other area always matter. All places have an opening time or a safe time when you can take photographs in sunlight. If you arrive too early or late, you can end up getting the best spots taken by someone else or miss the timing for the photographs. On the other hand, photographing everything you can is a good choice, but that will only be possible if you have ample time.

●     Remove The Colors That Distract You From The Focus

When clicking photographs, choose background hues that don’t distract the person viewing the photograph. It means that if the hues in the background undermine the focus of the photograph, then try to change the background hues. If you can’t change the background hues manually, opt for changing the angle with which you take a photograph.

●     Use A Polarizer To Bring Out The Colors


When clicking photographs in bright sunlight, the reflected light from the main focus tends to subdue the shades of the object in the main focus. Here placing a polarizer in front of your camera lens helps you filter out the sunlight that is reflected directly at the sunlight. It helps make the colors brighter and stronger and increases the exposure time. Polarizers can be used even if the photograph doesn’t have a primary focus, like a photograph of trees, to bring out all the shades in the photograph.

●     Use Shallow Aperture To Give More Color In The Background

A shallow aperture is known for giving the blurring effect or bokeh to increase the presence of colors in the background. It is helpful if there are very few colors in the background. The smoky mountains have a wide range of plants and trees, allowing the photographers to capture different shades. But in high altitudes, this is not possible because most trees have green or amber color; in other words, there is minimal color in the background. With the help of a shallow aperture, the background would make the main focus object pop and brighten the hues in the photograph.

●     White Balance Is Important For Vibrant Photos

White balancing is the process of removing unnatural color casts, which make the color appear as they were in person. When applying the white balance to your photographs, the light source’s color temperature is also essential. If the right color temperature is not taken into account, it can change the perception of the colors in the photograph, making it look unnatural. The correct white balance helps remove the white cast and brighten and strengthen the tones in the photograph.

●     Use Proper Exposure


The amount of exposure in your photograph reflects the amount of light that your camera lenses reflect. You can use both dark and bright exposure depending on your photographs. While exposure is vital for photographs, too much exposure in your photographs can make them look whitewashed or too dark even to see the hues. Only the right or the proper exposure would make the colors in your photograph vibrant.

●     Apply Color Theory To Your Photographs

Color theory is an essential concept and helps make your photos’ colors vibrant. The color theory contains an understanding of the hue, saturation, and values of the shades in the photograph. To implement the color theory, you need to keep in mind the primary colors, the color of the main object, and the shades in the background. With the help of color theory, you can brighten up the background as well as the main object and strengthen all the hues in the photograph.

If you understand the color theory, you will better understand the relation between the background colors and the primary colors. With this, you can make the colors appear vibrant in any photograph taken anywhere in the smoky mountains.


Capturing all colors of nature is a task that photographers master throughout their time. Many photographers visit sky mountains to capture the beautiful fall colors, yet only a few are able actually to bring out the colors. The above tips are for both post and pre-capturing moments, which can help photographers in showcasing the beautiful colors of the fall of sky mountain.

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