Capturing Fall Foliage in New England

Pumpkin spiced lattes are on the menu, the air feels crisp, and you can hear the crinkle of leaves under your shoes as you walk- fall has finally arrived! One of the best parts of fall is the foliage that begins to emerge as the weather becomes cooler. The mix of red, orange, and yellow leaves that appear, especially in the New England area, attract visitors from all over the country and even the world. Some states like Vermont even rely on this touristic traffic for their businesses. This activity has even been given a name: “leaf peeping.” Although pictures cannot always do these breathtaking views any justice, there are certain techniques that you can use to capture the best photos. Whether you are an amateur or professional photographer, this fall foliage guide can give you some useful information about how to make the most of your photo shoot.

1. Find the Best Location for Fall Foliage

If you are really interested in traveling to find the best foliage, there are a few places that have been deemed the best spots for “leaf peepers”:

  • Stowe, Vermont

    • It is called “Fall’s Color Capital” for a reason. There are lots of places to hike around here to get the best mixture of fall foliage colors, or you can take a scenic ride on the Mount Mansfield Auto Toll Road. Don’t forget to pick up some Vermont maple syrup while you’re here.

stowe vermont fall foliage

Stowe, Vermont – Photo by Michelle Maria

  • Bar Harbor, Maine

    • This is a quaint town that offers more than just leaf peeping. Explore Acadia National Park, rent a kayak or a boat, or go whale watching as well. The water here can provide opportunities to capture reflections of the leaves.

fall foliage contrasted with oceanBar Harbor, Maine

  • North Conway, New Hampshire

    • Early October is the best time to come to North Conway and stay at one of the many charming inns and you are surrounded by foliage in the White Mountain National Forest. Make sure to take a drive down the Kancamagus Highway to get 26 miles of magnificent views.

      North Conway New Hampshire fall foliage

      North Conway, New Hampshire – Photo by Martin Pierce

  • Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    • Most people think of the Cape as a summer getaway, but it is actually the perfect spot for people looking for New England’s fall foliage and that cozy fall feeling. In addition to leaf peeping, Massachusetts is also known for its cranberry bogs, so you can always take a tour of one while sipping some warm apple cider.

      Cape Cod, Massachusetts – Photo by Christian Gianelli

2. Best Trees to Capture

Any tree that changes color will be a great foliage photo, but the Maple tree has been said to be the best tree to capture in the fall. Its vibrant colors will pop and create a large contrast between the tree and the background.

fall foliage maple tree lighting

Maple Tree – Photo by Dan Freeman

3. Get the Best Lighting

Catch the “golden hour” of the day for the best lighting for leaf peeping. It comes right after sunrise and just before sunset and at this time you aren’t getting direct sunlight. Try to create a contrast between the blue sky or green grass with the oranges, yellows, and reds that the leaves display. Find places where the last of the sunlight of the day is seeping through the leaves for a dramatic effect.

lighting for fall foliage

Photo by Jérôme Prax

4. Present Your Fall Foliage Photos

Once you have captured and saved your  favorite fall foliage photos, you’ll want to share them with others. Post them on social media to Facebook or Instagram for friends and family. Create an online portfolio for your photos to share with other creatives.