forest photographyA forest can be a magical place, where all of your daily worries and cares are swept away by the expanse of large awe-inspiring trees, the fresh clean air, and the wildlife that thrives there. Getting the best images of a forest is your opportunity as a photographer to capture the essence of being in nature, where tranquility can be found and anyone can connect with the natural world despite spending every other day in the hustle and bustle of suburbs and cities. But grabbing your camera and heading out to the nearest forest in your area simply will not be enough. You need to know what equipment you need and how to set up each shot in order to be able to take a forest photograph that will truly encompass the scenery that surrounds you.

Before diving into forest photography, it is a good idea to nail down the basics of landscape photography, as these skills will definitely come in handy when you are in the middle of a forest of trees and you want to take a shot that will inspire others with its beauty. You can also begin by reading this blog post that will guide you in capturing a great landscape shot every time. 

The Right Equipment for All Types of Lighting

Forests can be very difficult to photograph because the light is constantly changing. That is why it is a great idea to set aside a few hours during which you can trek through the forest, considering the many vantage points that will allow you to capture a lovely image of what is around you. You may find that one vantage point does not work right away, but give it time because, as the sun moves through the sky, the lighting may become ideal at that particular spot, so feel free to return to it later. Again, the key is to be patient and to give yourself plenty of time. But, in addition to time, you also need the right tools in hand to get the shots you are looking for.

Circular Polarizer

A circular polarizer will dramatically bring out the colors within the forest so that they really pop in your photos. For example, if you are shooting in the summer, the green will become more vibrant, and if you are out there in the autumn, all of those gorgeous hues of orange, gold, and red will become even deeper and richer.

This tool also works wonderfully if you want to eliminate a reflection from a body of water. Just bear in mind that the amount of light that will be able to get to the sensor on your camera will also be limited. Therefore, you should have a tripod to help you.


If you are in a dark forest without enough light, your tripod will allow you to set up your camera with a low aperture setting so that you can gather as much light into your camera as possible and get the clearest shots. The tripod will keep everything steady, no matter how long you need to keep the shutter open as well.


Bring along a macro lens if you wish to get some incredible images of tiny insects or the details on a leaf or a tree’s trunk. Dew drops on flower petals, small mushrooms, and moss growing along a rock are just a few other examples of objects that can be captured with a macro lens.

A telephoto zoom lens that ranges from 100mm to 400mm is handy if you come across wildlife that you want to capture from a distance, such as snakes, large and small birds, and mammals or rodents that call the forest home. The key to photographing wildlife, after all, is to keep your distance and not frighten the animals away, so a zoom lens is a necessity. For more tips on how to capture breathtaking images of wild animals, check out this course.


A variety of lens filters can easily be popped onto your camera whenever you need extra assistance with capturing a unique, clear image. A neutral density filter, for example, will help you ensure the right exposure. An infrared filter, on the other hand, will come in really handy in a vibrantly green forest, as you can use it to transform all of those green leaves to white or any other color, such as blue or pink, with the right editing techniques and software. This will give you the ability to get some truly artistic photographs.

When to Head Out

When it comes to forest photography, there really is no right or wrong time to head out and take some photographs (except, of course, at night). If you want to have a soft glowing light in your images, spend time in the forest in the early morning or at sunset. The streams of golden sunshine piercing through the trees can definitely make for some soothing, inspiring photos. No matter what time of day you head out, just be sure you look for the many interesting ways that the light makes its way through the trees, whether it is in the form of a strong beam of light or even a hazy, ethereal glow. It is a good idea to learn more about how to use natural light to your advantage to take unforgettable photographs.

All types of weather throughout the seasons of the year can also be your friend when capturing photos in a forest. Snow-covered trees and pristine paths can appear majestic and vibrant, especially on a sunny winter day. On the other hand, an overcast day can give you just the right amount of light without having to deal with harsh sunbeams. And rain can bring out the colors of a forest as it saturates the earth, the flowers, and the leaves of the trees around you. Misty mornings are perfect, too, because you will be able to capture a shot that is a little haunting yet peaceful at the same time. Just remember that every season has something different to offer, from the colorful leaves on the trees during the autumn to the bright flowers that bloom in the spring, so take advantage of these cycles to capture unique images throughout the year.

Experiment, Have Fun, and Find Something Captivating

There are already plenty of basic forest photographs out there, so the key is to look for something unusual while you are hiking with your camera. Rather than taking a shot of trees head-on, point your camera towards the sky, perhaps even with a wide-angle lens, to capture the tree branches reaching up and touching the clouds. Or maybe you will find a single evergreen tree amidst barren deciduous trees that have lost their leaves for the winter. Locate interesting elements and then take your time to capture them from a variety of angles. This will ensure that your forest images will be different from what other photographers are churning out.

With a tripod, your camera, some lenses, and some filters, you can take some breathtaking images while walking through a forest. Whether you come across a deer in the winter, the first flowers blooming in the spring, or the tiniest spider crafting a web, these tools will give you the capability to capture the essence of these forest inhabitants. If you enjoy being in the great outdoors and you love taking photographs of the beauty found throughout nature, consider taking this course on hiking for photographers so you can take your landscape shots to a whole new level.

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