A List of Autumn Photography Subjects and Nature Journal Prompts

Autumn leaves and gray stones
Autumn leaves and gray stones. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Autumn photography subjects can include plants, animals, closeup of leaves and many scenes that characterize the season. Looking for images to highlight the season, can become a scavenger hunt. 

I put together this list of autumn photo prompts to start your creative juices flowing. I’m showing off some of my best autumn nature photos. 

Your nature journal is just the place to create a gallery of seasonal pictures.

Each subject can become a photo series. Try some of these ideas.

Nature Subject Prompts

  • things that are red or orange or gold
  • monochromatic gray scenes with a splash of color
  • shades of gray in the landscape
  • things that will soon disappear
  • patterns, circles, lines
  • moody photos that exemplifies autumn
  • pictures of light and shade
  • still-lifes of seasonal objects
  • the same place or object throughout the year in different seasons, weather, times of day
Autumn sunset
Autumn sunset. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Landscapes and Sky

  • look for mini-scenes not necessarily grand landscapes.
  • wide skies with colorful leaves below and blue sky above
  • empty landscapes
  • out of season places that are deserted of humans – playgrounds, waterfronts, seashores, and fairs

Water and Weather

  • autumn colors reflected on ponds or lakes
  • extreme weather of hurricanes, windy days, rain or snow
  • foggy, misty or hazy scenes such as a field

Times of Day

  • early morning frosts on leaves and flowers
  • early morning mists – as the sun rises and as the mist disappears
  • sunsets (use your cameras sunset mode or Aperture Priority set to f/8)
  • sunset reflections (look for surfaces that reflect the sun’s glow)

Harvest Time

  • berries and fruit glistening with dew
  • harvest time at farmers’ markets
  • Harvest time on farms
  • Start with photos of ripened crops still in the fields ready for harvest. Next photograph the crops being harvested. This could mean people picking crops to huge combines quickly gliding across acres of wheat. Finally, focus on the empty fields, hay bales or piles of harvested crops.
Autumn Joy Sedum with Insects
Autumn Joy Sedum with Insects. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Fall Foliage and Plants

  • colored leaves fallen in a rushing stream.
  • fall flowers blooming in brilliant color
  • a leaf-covered forest floor
  • color in the undergrowth
  • mushrooms and toadstools
  • pine cones, seed pods, and seed heads
  • mushroom and fungi that appear after fall rains
  • fallen trees – especially trees fallen due to hurricanes and storms
  • cut lumber – trees harvested to managed a forest
  • gardens – the growing season has ended and many plants will soon disappear
  • skeleton trees and bare branches silhouetted across the sky
  • single leaf
  • Animals
  • animals preparing for winter
  • migrating ducks and geese
  • migrating land birds and raptors
  • the last of the insects busily gathering nectar and pollen


Here is a photo gallery of some of my autumn photos.  I used my advanced point-and-shoot cameras.  I use the cameras’ programmed settings. An overview of the settings I use is in the post, Autumn Nature Photography Tips.

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