The Smallest Detail, the Leaf

Okay here’s lesson number three and it’s an important one. It’s easy to get distracted by the macro opportunities that come with Fall color, but if you are going to photograph a single leaf make sure it’s done RIGHT! We have all seen images of just one leaf positioned in a certain way during the fall season. It’s probably the most common image taken of them all during Fall. The problem is not everyone does it right and just to help here is my poor example.


Okay first and foremost find a good leaf! That might sound obvious but you’d be amazed at how many people just use one that’s already somewhat propped up and has somewhat a decent background. Well If nature provides you with that awesome single moment then take it but for the rest of us, find a good leaf, no bug holes, no bent stem, a good solid color and a good shape. It’s actually a lot harder then it sounds to find that right one. Next find a good background! It’s still the most basic rule of photography, background is important. Once you have both of those doing something interesting with the gesture. Don’t just stick it in the corner of the photograph and call it good. Remember the words of Maisel, gesture is key. Next, the light. Make interesting light don’t just take a flash, blow out the details of the leaf and have a dark background. Lastly play around with depth of field, a shallow depth of field can go a long way in this scenario. As you can see by my example I did NONE of these things and that’s why it is a poor example but it made you read why.

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