With fall in full swing, it’s time to get outside and enjoy all the activities that make this season so special! Fall brings temperatures that are perfect for outdoor adventuring as well as holidays that make our time outside so much more special. Documenting these special moments gives us something to look back on that allows us to relive our favorite fall memories. Today, Crystal Sanchez, professional photographer and mom of two is sharing a list of must-have photos to capture this fall, as well as some helpful tips to make your fall images stand out.

Must-have photos to capture this fall

As the leaves turn brilliant shades of crimson and gold and the air gets crisp, there’s no denying that fall is a season like no other. For outdoorsy moms, this is the perfect time to get outside with your family. But beyond fall color hikes and cozy campfires, there’s another opportunity that awaits you during this season: taking photos!

Capturing the essence of your little ones (and this gorgeous season) through the lens of your camera (or phone) is a must for many parents. Fall offers a unique (and beautiful!) backdrop for your kids to shine, and I’m here to guide you through the must-take photos that will become cherished memories for years to come.

Today, we’ll jump headfirst into a giant leaf pile of reasons why fall is such an incredible time of year for outdoor photos of your children. From the kaleidoscope of autumn colors to the playfulness of  pumpkin patches and the warmth of family gatherings, we’ll explore the many ways this season provides a stunning canvas for your kids to express their spirit and create unforgettable moments. So, grab your camera, bundle up your little adventurers, and let’s embark on a photographic journey through the magic of the season. Here is my list of all the must-have photos to capture this fall. 

1. Farms

We visit our local farms every year (multiple times a year, actually). One thing that is a must with each visit is seeing and saying hello to all of our furry and feathered farm friends. When it comes to photographing these experiences at the farm, there are so many fun angles that you can take. I love to pull back and capture photos of the kids and animals from a distance to include features of the farm, like the barn. I also love a good overhead shot that includes a nice close-up of children closely interacting with the animals.

2. Hayrides

Some of my favorite fall memories from my childhood include hayrides to the pumpkin patch. Traditional hayrides aren’t quite as popular where I live, but many farms still have tractor rides (without the hay…achoo!).

The ideal time to capture a hayride experience is once you board the wagon. This way, you can capture your child’s initial excitement as well as be able to hold that camera more steady. I like to use my 35mm or 24mm lenses for these shots because they allow me to capture photos of my kids while remaining close to them. When the wagon is a bit empty, I like to sit all the way in the back or all the way in the front of the wagon to include more of the wagon and tractor in the background of my photos. In late fall, our local farm decorates their wagons with lights to create an even more magical experience!

3. Corn maze

Another one of our favorite things to do at the farm is exploring the corn maze. I love documenting my children as they explore the maze. For these photos, I prefer using mid-range lenses like my 85mm lens. To add more layers to your images, you can try standing behind some of the corn to allow some of it to sit in the foreground of your images.

4. Pumpkin patch 

It’s not fall without a visit to the pumpkin patch! As your child explores and searches for a pumpkin, try to stay a little behind and capture photos of them walking through the fields. Then when they have found the perfect pumpkin, come in closer for those details shots. Photograph your little ones trying to carry a pumpkin too heavy for them, or a photo of their proud faces while holding “the best” pumpkin in the patch.

5. Sunflowers 

Exploring the sunflower fields is always on our list of things to do in early fall. These fields make for a great backdrop for photos and are so fun to run through. I prefer to use my 85mm or 135mm lenses when photographing my kids in the fields to help get a dreamy look. Look out for moments of little ones trying to reach for the tallest flowers, running through the fields, or smelling these large beauties. 

These are such popular photos that we have an entire post on how to take photos of your family at the sunflower field

6. Apple picking

Exploring apple orchards with children can be a really fun and educational experience. Not only do children get to learn about where their food comes from, but they also get to enjoy fresh nutritious snacks during and after their visit. When photographing my children at an orchard, I prefer to choose areas with red apples to add that pop of color to my photos. To add more layers to the images, I will position myself in an area where branches from a nearby tree can hang in the foreground of my images. 

Here’s another great post filled with tips on apple picking with kids

7. Pumpkin carving

Pumpkin carving is an activity enjoyed by both kids and adults. Take advantage of a crisp afternoon to transform your pumpkins into fun and spooky jack-o-lanterns. Be sure to document your kids’ expressions as they carve their own pumpkins. For extra fun, take a photo at night of your pumpkin lit up by candlelight! 

8. Foliage

One of my favorite things about fall is the beautiful display of bright reds, oranges, yellows, and greens among the trees. When photographing the foliage, it’s best to wait until the leaves are at their peak for color. This can vary by location. I like to choose locations where there are bright-colored trees in the foreground and the background. While my children are happily exploring this area, I typically just stand far away from them and try to capture as much of our surroundings as possible. 

9. Leaves

A colorful landscape typically means colorful leaves are in abundance. There are many fun ways to photograph leaves. You can create a huge pile of them and capture fun photos of your child playing in the leaves. An overhead shot of your child lying down on them could also make for a great portrait. One of our favorite ways to photograph leaves is to find a large one and play peek-a-boo with it. 

10. Fall treasures

My children collect treasures year-round. Fall brings in an abundance of different seeds, fruits, and mushrooms. On a short walk, we can easily fill a small basket with a good variety of different items. Then our favorite part is identifying what we found afterward. Photographing these sorts of details could be as simple as pointing the camera into your basket and taking a shot. Or you can dump it all out and take a good overhead shot of everything.

11. Fall bike ride

In early fall, we love hopping on our bikes and going for rides through our local trails. By this time, the summer heat has gone, but it’s still not too cold for longer rides. When I’m documenting our fall rides, I try to find trails with lots of colors within the bushes. I also try to dress my kids in bright colors to make them pop more amongst the greens and browns.

12. Fall hikes

We get out and hike year-round, but the fall is by far my favorite time to hike. When I’m documenting our hikes, I like identifying what landmarks and plant life are unique to that particular hike and then challenging myself to incorporate those things into a photo. I think all lenses work for hikes, but I definitely prefer my 135mm lens for most photos. If I’m hoping to capture as much of the forest as possible, then I will go for a wider lens. 

Here’s another great resource with fantastic tips for photographing family hikes

13. Lakeside

While fishing and water sports aren’t quite as popular in the fall, we still visit our local lakes often in the fall. My favorite thing about taking photos by the lake is that you sort of get double the amount of foliage in your images due to the reflection from the water. But even after the leaves drop, we still visit our local lakes for some fun in the sand. While the trees are bare, we still find lots of pops of color amongst the stacks of canoes and kayaks by our local lake.

14. Mountains

If you live near a mountain range, planning a hike up or near the mountains is a must for fall. Not only is it an enjoyable activity for the entire family, but the views are breathtaking at the top. If you can plan for a day when the leaves are at their peaks, you will not be disappointed. 

15. Fall sports

Many kids play sports such as football, baseball, or soccer in the fall. We look forward to fall sports, and I try really hard to make sure that I am capturing these moments every year. It’s nice to look back on these images to see just how much they’ve grown. Also, don’t forget to document spectating siblings during these games and practices.

16. Cozy attire

As the temperatures begin to drop and warmer clothing comes out, don’t forget to document those little details. A warm hat, glove, furry jackets, long, cozy socks, and boots all add a sense to fall warmth to a photo. 

17. Campfires

On those cool fall evenings, campfires are a must. Whether we are out camping or just hanging out in our backyard, we yearn for the warmth it provides. The next time your family gathers around a warm fire be sure to document those moments. 

18. Playground fun

The fall is our favorite time to visit the playground. While I don’t always bring my camera with me to the playground, I’ve never regretted the times that I have. I try to challenge myself to find unique angles and perspectives in the playground. For the second photo below, I sat on top of the highest part of the playground equipment and used my widest lens to capture my son as he climbed the steps prior to going down the slide.

19. Costumes

As we inch our way closer to Halloween, I try to set aside an evening to photograph my kids in their costumes for the year. My go-to lens for these sorts of images is usually my 135mm lens since I want my subject to stand out a bit more against the background. 

20. Trick or treating

My kids are obsessed with Halloween, so trick-or-treating is something that they look forward to doing every year. If trick or treating is something your family enjoys doing, definitely bring your camera along the next time you go to document this exciting day. 

21. Tree farms

Many families will visit tree farms soon after Thanksgiving Day to pick up their Christmas trees. And while this may have a “wintery” feeling, it’s technically still fall, so be sure to bring your camera along to document this moment. 

22. Holiday lights

My absolute favorite thing to photograph in late fall are all the holiday lights. Everywhere we go is decked out with lights galore. Drive-thru light displays are a must for us during the holidays. Not only are they a great way to kick off the holiday season, but they also make for great photo opportunities. I love capturing my children’s expressions as they marvel at the huge display of lights. I captured the image below by sitting on the window ledge on the passenger side and then using the widest lens I own which is my 24mm lens. 

The following two images were taken at a farm and our nearby zoo. Low-light images, such as these, can be tricky, but if you place your subject in a well-lit spot and bump up the ISO on your camera, you too could recreate these sorts of images.

Favorite fall memories

As we wrap up our exploration of the must-take photos for fun fall activities and share some invaluable photography tips, one thing is clear – the autumn season offers an abundance of opportunities for capturing the essence of your children’s outdoor adventures. With every leaf that rustles beneath their feet, every pumpkin they pick, and every smile that brightens their faces, you have a chance to freeze those precious moments in time.

Remember to embrace the natural beauty of fall as your backdrop, and let your kids be themselves. Encourage their creativity and curiosity to shine through your lens. The candid shots of joy and wonder, the playful interactions, and the vibrant colors of the season all come together to tell a heartwarming story.

Whether you’re enjoying a hayride, hiking in the woods, or carving pumpkins, these photos will serve as cherished memories that you and your children will look back on with fondness. So, don’t forget to capture these moments and create a visual narrative that celebrates the magic of fall, the love of family, and the spirit of adventure. Happy photographing, and may your autumn be filled with beauty, laughter, and unforgettable images!

What’s your favorite fall activity to photograph?

About the author

Crystal is a photographer who homeschools her two young boys alongside running a newborn photography business. If she’s not photographing babies, she’s out with her family photographing their adventures together. Together they enjoy hiking, exploring nearby cities, biking, camping, going to the beach, amusement parks, and, of course, gathering with friends and family. Getting out and exploring with loved ones is their favorite way to spend their days.

You can find more from Crystal online in the following locations:
Instagram: @exploringadventureland
RWMC posts: Crystal Sanchez