6 Tips for Creating Magical Fall Cinemagraphs

The days are getting shorter and the leaves will soon begin to change. Fall may be three months long, but it always seems to fly by so quickly between hot summer days and the holiday rush. With a limited time to capture such breathtaking foliage, it’s important to get outside and start embracing everything that makes Fall such a special time of year.

Here are 6 tips to help you start planning and creating Fall cinemagraphs:

cinemagraph by Jason Teale

Take the scenic route and explore different perspectives

Going on a hike in a tree-covered area is the best way to experience the magic of Fall. Instead of always shooting straight ahead, try experimenting with different angles and vantage points to add a sense of depth to your cinemagraphs. Get macro to examine patterns and water droplets on leaves or carefully set up your tripod underneath a hanging branch. Shoot swaying trees straight up or from a low angle and be on the lookout for water to capture paint-like reflections. If you’ve been thinking about getting a drone for creating aerial cinemagraphs, now is the perfect time!

cinemagraph by Alexandre Miguel

Plan for various weather conditions and times of day

If the sky is even somewhat clear, capture footage during what photographers call the golden hour. The golden hour takes place shortly after sunrise and before sunset, when the sun is positioned lower in the sky. The golden hour’s soft, warm glow opens fleeting opportunities to capture long shadows, lens flares, silhouettes, and more. If you’re planning a daytime hike, consider heading out on an overcast day; the leaves contrast beautifully in cloudy and foggy conditions, adding mood and mystery that’s equally captivating.

cinemagraph by Jonathan Kane Houldsworth

Be prepared with props and ideas

Whether you’re hiking solo or with a group, it’s always a good idea to come equipped with props. Think of items that will produce subtle movement such as a book, compass, lantern, or warm beverage. You may even want to come prepared with seeds or nuts to lure the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks into your cinemagraphs! The ground will be littered with the best props of all so if you’re already carrying enough equipment, there’s plenty you can do with leaves!

cinemagraph by Renaud Davies

Get creative with seasonal produce and decor

Fall harvest brings a variety of colorful produce that will complement more than just some of your favorite recipes. Pumpkins, squash, apples, and other seasonal produce makes for beautiful decorations both inside and out. Get crafty and (pumpkin) spice up your cinemagraphs featuring recipes, home design, new products, and so much more. When you’re done, start thinking with your stomach; pumpkin pie, butternut squash soup, and apple crisp are only a few of many mouthwatering options!

cinemagraph by Virgo Haan

Layer up and embrace Fall fashion

Like the trees, people tend to wear warmer colors this time of year. Apart from traditional autumnal tones, the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report for Fall/Winter typically includes an equal selection of complementary colors. Before going out on a fashion shoot, think about what kind of story you want to tell; do you want your subject to blend in or stand out? There’s no wrong answer. The wind will spark movement in skirts, scarves, and certain kinds of jackets while there are countless ways to get creative with jewelry, hats, and footwear. Check out our fashion and jewelry galleries for inspiration!

cinemagraph by Aaron Coury

Unleash your inner monster for Halloween

Often described as Harry-Potter-like moving images, cinemagraphs can be haunting and mysterious. Watching scary movies is a great way to get inspired and will also help you gain a better understanding of the genre’s unique cinematography.

cinemagraph by Kristypom

Scout out some spooky locations for Halloween-themed cinemagraphs, such as vacant buildings, graveyards, or wooded areas after the leaves have fallen. Shooting at night or inside dark spaces will help you set a frightful tone but make sure to think carefully about light sources. Try using a spotlight, flashlight, candle, or light bulb (without a shade) to experiment with dramatic, hard lighting. You could also think of ways to limit natural or artificial light shining through windows. Full, accurate colors don’t typically make for the creepiest cinemagraphs so don’t be afraid to decrease the saturation, apply a dramatic vignette, or try a black-and-white preset. Trick viewers into thinking they’re looking at a still photo and surprise them with a quick, delayed movement or use lower opacities to paint a ghostly presence on your cinemagraph.

cinemagraph by Chubby Robot Media

If you have any additional tips or questions about creating Fall and Halloween cinemagraphs, join the conversation in our forums. Remember to upload your seasonal cinemagraphs to Flixel.com as public for a chance to be featured in our galleries and social networks!

cinemagraph by Philipp Frank

(Customer Success Leader)

Vikki works with customers to develop best practices and advocate for their needs. She’s a problem-solver who shares content to educate and inspire with a smile that’s often covered in lipstick.