How to Photograph the Forest

How to Photograph the Forest

You've probably heard the expression, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” However, in this case, the opposite might be true, “you can’t see the trees for the forest.” In other words, detail is very important in making a picture in a natural area, such as a forest.


Step 1

Shoot a close-up of the plants that grow on the forest floor. This will most likely be under low light levels, so a tripod might be necessary. By concentrating first on the forest floor, begin this project by searching for interesting colors and shapes on a two-dimensional plane. You might find that interesting color in a spring flower or an autumn leaf, but sometimes it's the little things that can make for an engaging scene.

Step 2

Look for interesting detail in the trunks of the tree. A close-up of a tree trunk can be a fascinating image, especially if there is something growing on the trunk, like a lichen or a fungus. First take a picture as a close-up. Then step back and try to incorporate the detail of the bark into an overall view of the forest.

Step 3

Point your camera straight up toward the sky. This works best on a sunny day when there are but a few clouds in the sky. This unusual perspective can produce a different angle for a picture, especially in the fall when the colors are at a peak. Also, notice how the lighting changes during the course of a day.

Step 4

Take a picture of the boughs of leaves that hang down near your eye level. Again, this is another exercise in an effort to become more aware of detail.

Step 5

Find an interesting visual device that leads the viewer from the foreground to the background. This can be anything from a small stream to a walking path to a fallen log. Use this item as the center of attention, and let it take the viewer’s eye on a gentle path from foreground to background.

Step 6

Learn about the different lighting conditions. Sunrise and sunset produce very subdued lighting conditions that often require a tripod. However, long exposures under these conditions can make for extraordinary intense and vivid colors. Midday lighting conditions can include sunbursts that come filtered through the forest canopy and produce visible streaks of light on the film.

Tips and Warnings

Use a tripod for longer exposures that will produce stronger colors. Repeated trips to the same place will produce better results. Know the particular hazards of the area that you are photographing. These can come in the form of violent weather, wild animals, reptiles, insects or poisonous plants.

Things You'll Need

Camera with a tripod mount, Tripod

About this Author

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications, and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Photograph the Forest