Creating The Best Autumnal Backdrop

With September coming to its end, summer is definitively over, however much some might want to cling to the last fading rays of warmth and sunshine.

Others, of course, will happily embrace everything autumn brings: Crisp, cool air, kicking around in the leaves, the glorious gold, brown, red and orange colours that dominate this time of year, and festivals such as Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Every season has its distinctive shades and if verdant greens provide a summer backdrop to a myriad of other colours and winter is bathed in white, so it is clear that the rusty hues of autumn should form the backdrop to any seasonally themed photography.

The key reason this matters is that the onset of autumn is such a food-rich time. This is when the harvest comes in, and certain fruits are ripe to be plucked, including apples, pears and blackberries, not to mention pumpkins. It is also a time when many veg can still be pulled from the ground, including carrots, sprouts, onions and potatoes.

All this means there is every reason to put together some great shots of seasonal food.

The best way to do this, therefore, is to ensure that the colour balance is right. Clearly not all the produce emerging at this time of year will be the same colour. But wheat, potatoes and onions - especially red onions - will fit in with the reds and browns of the season.

None of this precludes anything that’s green - such as pears - but these will provide variations on a theme in which oranges and browns take centre stage.

You can aid this by using a backdrop with similar colours and also a few props. Wood works well for this, and you can even add a few dried fallen leaves and conkers to leave no doubt about the seasonal theme.

The stand-out colour of the season you cannot ignore is orange, as it is so bright, but also represents the season’s big occasions. The flames of the bonfire fall in this category, but when considering food, pumpkins are the number one in autumn.

Of course, unless you are at Cinderella’s house and the clock has just struck midnight, the presence of a pumpkin is usually associated with Halloween. Any picture based on October 31st will have its own theme, of course, with various creepy and ghoulish elements.

However, pumpkins are not all about the last day of October, as the food itself is becoming increasingly well-known in the UK. While it may have taken the place of the turnip in the US, it doesn’t taste like it, and dishes like pumpkin pie are becoming better known here. Thus pumpkins can appear simply as food and not always as carved lanterns.

The most famous dish is pumpkin pie, but there are others ranging from pumpkin scones to pumpkin soup or even pumpkin thai curry.

All this means you may have a few interestingly different dishes to photograph with an autumnal backdrop, as well as freshly-harvested produce. But either way, because the colours are so distinct, the browns, red and oranges of this time of year are a background theme from which you should never deviate.

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