But I have found, that sometimes those gorgeous Fall colors, or even the Spring gardens can actually take away from your main subject. I have taken family portraits, seen them above a mantel, and heard people say, "what a beautiful place!" Thank you, but that's not what I was going for...
A) Window light is KING. Turn off your in-camera flash!! There is nothing better than natural light. It's absolutely wonderful, and by far the most flattering on people's skin tones.
B) CLOUDS are your FRIENDS. Pray for warm days with mostly cloudy skies. Don't think that because it's overcast, forget going outside! Clouds are like a huge studio soft box that filters light evenly and makes for amazing details!
D) TEXTURE, TEXTURE, TEXTURE! Look for rocks, wood, rust, knubby fabrics, anything that can offer a bit of texture where otherwise there is little color. This is especially important if you want to use the black and white approach.
Of course, if you need me... my contact information is all over this website!