photo by piola666 via iStock
As a child I used to love going camping with my family. I had so much fun getting lost and exploring all of the tiny places I would never find in my real life in the middle of a city. I would spend hours flipping over rocks looking at all of the critters that built their homes under them.
I still like to do the same types of things. I think it is so healing to get lost in a forest somewhere (theoretically, of course, because I have literally gotten lost while learning how to photograph forests and that was terrifying). And, since I’m a photographer, I can combine my love of the outdoors with photography.
Forest photography is so invigorating. But, forest photography is also dangerous. You not only need to know all of the forest photography techniques in order to get the most out of a full day of shooting, but you need to own the right kinds of forest photography gear to keep yourself and your equipment safe.
If you’re planning on venturing to some new parts of the world this spring and summer, then you need these forest photography tips.
Use Different Lenses
photo by Alkalyne via iStock
If you follow a lot of landscape photographers on Instagram or Facebook, then you may actually think that forest photography is boring because after a while, each photo starts looking the same.
Of course, this isn’t the case if you know what you’re doing and take the time to explore using different lenses for your forest photography.
My favorite lens to bring with me when I’m photographing out in a forest is a macro lens. You can find all sorts of beautiful flora and fauna you otherwise never would have seen. Not only are there plenty of little critters in the forest, but there is an array of multi-colored flowers and plants.
You can also bring a telephoto lens with you on your next forest photography adventure. Telephoto lenses allow you to capture birds and squirrels that hide in the trees. They also allow you to capture photos of leaves from an interesting new angle.
What I’m saying is, you don’t have to only stick to a wide-angle lens the next time you shoot some forest photography.
Use Natural Plants to Frame Your Photos
photo by RossiAgung via iStock
One of my favorite tips for forest photography is to use your natural surroundings to frame your images. While this usually means using different trees, like pine trees, to frame your photos, you can also get creative.
There are plenty of shrubs and bushes that you could use to frame your photos if you get down a little lower to the ground. You can also use the forest photography tip that the photographer above did and use the trunks of the trees to frame your shot.
The goal of this tip is to make your viewer look a little harder at the scene you’re trying to show them.
Highlight the Existing Contrast
photo by kobzev3179 via iStock
People who think forest photography is boring only think that because everyone insists on only shooting forest photos during the summer months (more on this later).
Greenery is pretty, but it can become a bit dull if it’s all you can find, and there is far more contrast in a forest during other seasons, like spring and winter.
Find the existing contrast in forests in order to make the most of your forest photography. This could mean that you are photographing a sea of yellow flowers over a patch of green moss. It could mean that you are photographing a bright red fox on a patch of white snow.
But, in order to make your forest photos more intriguing, you need to constantly be looking for different colors in each shot.
Shoot During Every Season
photo by alex_ugalek via iStock
While I realize that it is way easier to shoot forests during the summer months when it’s a comfortable temperature and when you don’t really have to think about all of the logistics as much, your photos won’t be as good if you always choose this route.
I especially enjoy shooting forests during the winter months. Of course, you need to follow some basic safety precautions if you’re planning on doing this. For instance, you should always let someone know where you are going to be, you should pack plenty of extra layers, and you should never be off of a well-worn path.
But, one of the better tips is to make sure that your gear is well protected. We typically know how to protect ourselves.
That’s where the Camera Canopy comes in. The Camera Canopy is a shield that you place on your camera’s hot shoe to protect your camera and lens from rain, sleet, snow and hail.
The Camera Canopy comes in two sizes: one for a DSLR and one for a mirrorless camera. The DSLR Camera Canopy costs just under $90, while the mini Camera Canopy costs $60. I assure you it’s the best decision you’ll ever make for your camera if you’re planning on photographing in the wilderness.
These hoods are so much easier to use than those plastic bag-like covers you can buy. Unlike those plastic covers, the Camera Canopy allows you to easily access your camera's controls (and you can easily put your eye to the viewfinder, too).
From a workflow standpoint and a protection standpoint, Camera Canopy is simply the way to go!
Shoot From Different Angles
photo by Ron and Patty Thomas via iStock
Another way to prevent your forest photography from becoming a little boring is by shooting each scene from a different angle.
I recognize that some of these tips for photographing forests are a little harder than others, and it may be frustrating for me to suggest that you shoot aerial photos of a forest if you don’t have the right (expensive) equipment to do so, but there are ways to get creative with this.
For instance, you can find a deer stand used by hunters to take high perspective photos of the forest. You can also hike to the top of a hill or drive to a higher vantage point to frame up a shot of the forest from above.
Don’t be afraid to get down on the ground and shoot up, either. A low-perspective shot of the forest can be quite a pleasing composition if done right!
Use these forest photography tips to improve your shots, and you’ll find that there are far more possibilities for making beautiful forest photos than you once thought!