Fall Foliage Photography – State Hotlines & Tips

Acadia National Park Fall Foliage

Acadia National Park – Maine

Foliage Photography Tips for great pictures


For digital there is really only one “must have” filter to bring along for great fall foliage pictures – a polarizer. A polarizer creates dramatic fall foliage pictures by darkening the sky, increasing contrast and deepening colors and removing the sheen from the leaves. Most other filter effects such as, enhancing reds and oranges, sepia and graduated effects can be easily created in Photoshop. Your standard protective UV filter should be removed before putting your polarizer on – never stack filters. Also, don’t forget to remove your polarizer when you move back inside as it reduces light by one to two f-stops.

A second type of filter is an enhancing filter which does just what the name implies – enhances – especially the bright primary colors of autumn (reds, oranges and browns).  A third filter is a Color / Neutral Graduated filter which utilizes a color (or gray) that gradually diminishes from dark to light across the filter. These filters are often used to deepen the sky or to balance the exposure between foreground and background, which helps you keep the sky blue rather than blown out.


  • Nothing takes away from foliage more than a bright white overcast sky. In these situations, try to reduce the amount of sky in your images.
  • Dramatic storm clouds of autumn thunderstorms interspersed with blue sky make a stunning backdrop for the brilliant colors of fall especially when the vivid colors are brought out with a polarizer.
  • Use a tripod for the sharpest possible image to allow an ISO of 100 or 200 and use a remote release or self timer to prevent motion when pressing the shutter.
  • Colors are warmer and can be more dramatic closer to sunrise and sunset. The 1 hour before and after both sunrise and sunset are considered by many to be the “magic hours” where you get an amazing quality of light.
  • Experiment, take lots of pictures and above all have fun!
  • Since your shooting more with your digital camera, be sure to edit down before showing off your work to family and friends
Once you’ve assembled your camera and a few filters, all you’ll need is foliage at the peak of color. We’ve assembled a list of state hotlines below to help schedule your trip. Need some ideas for places to shoot, be sure to visit Bergen County Camera’s Where to take great Pictures page. Have some suggestions of your own please send us an email and we’ll include your suggestions.

Fall Foliage Websites

The Foliage Network

Fall Foliage Hotlines – click on a state below

New Jersey 
mid to late October 
 Late Sep - mid October 
Early Sep - mid October
New Hampshire 
Late Sep - mid October
New York
Late Sep - late Oct
Early October
Early Sep-Late October
Sep - Late Nov
Late October
Late Sep Late October
Rhode Island 
Late Sep - mid October

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