10 Best Forest Photography Ideas

From majestic mountains to lush jungles, forests are some of the most beautiful and captivating places on Earth. For photographers, capturing these stunning landscapes can be an incredibly rewarding experience. 

10 Best Forest Photography Ideas

With the right plan, knowledge, and skill set, you can create stunning images of forests that will leave your viewers in awe. 

1. Make Use Of Bad Weather

One of the most overlooked opportunities in nature photography is during periods of bad weather. 

Instead of avoiding thunderstorms, heavy winds, or foggy mornings, photographers should embrace these times as some of their best opportunities for taking amazing photos. 

  • Forests and woods are incredibly vibrant and atmospheric locations to photograph, no matter what type of weather you experience. 
  • The beauty of forests increases immensely in rain, snow, mist, and fog with a reduction in visibility, creating more abstract pictures that can become significantly compelling.

The presence of this fog implements a different depth experience that is drastically different from sunny days due to the dispersion or even disappearance of tree trunks. 

2. Capture Wildlife 

Make sure you keep an eye out for wildlife in forests and take advantage of any opportunities to capture them in their natural habitat.

Wildlife photography in forests can be extremely challenging as forest floors are often covered in shadows and the animals themselves may be difficult to spot. 

  • To make sure you get a good shot, use a long lens and keep your camera ready at all times. 
  • Try to position yourself near known animal habitats such as natural springs, ponds, or lakes and wait for them to appear. 
  • Early mornings or late evenings are usually the best times of the day to try and spot animals in forests.

3. Shooting At Night

Nighttime is a great time to capture amazing forest shots thanks to the unique atmosphere that can be created with light and shadow. 

Depending on the season, shooting during blue hour offers an incredible opportunity for photographers to capture stunning images of the colors and shadows of the forest. 

This is accomplished when the sun has just dropped below the horizon, and before the sky turns completely dark, creating a beautiful light blue hue.

Alternatively, there are times when capturing photos of a full moon rising above dense forests can create breathtaking photos. 

4. Astrophotography

Astrophotography in the forest can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It can help to create a unique connection between nature and the night sky, allowing you to capture the beauty of both in one shot. 

What’s more, great astrophotography doesn’t only come from dark locations – with the right setup, a clearing in the woods can provide just as spectacular results!

The key to capturing stunning astrophotography in the forest is finding a spot that offers an unobstructed view of the night sky. Look for a clearing surrounded by tall trees with widely spaced branches forming a natural frame. 

5. Making Use Of Moonlight

Moonlit forest photography is an opportunity to create unique photographic imagery. There is something magical and mysterious about a moonlit night, especially in a dark and still forest. 

  • When the full moon is up, its light is surprisingly bright, and it can be used to bring out the details of the trees. 
  • In an open woodland, you can take advantage of this light to create photos with amazing dreamlike qualities, where everything glows with beautiful shades of silver and blue.
  • It’s important to note that outdoor low-light photography poses many challenges which need to be addressed when shooting in this environment. 
  • You’ll need a tripod for stability and slow shutter speeds, along with the correct white balance settings in order for the colors to appear correctly – slightly warmer during moonlit nights will yield the best results for your images. 

6. It’s All In The Details

Exploring the outdoors is a great way to be creative and take in all its beauty. One of the details that you can observe is the changing of the leaves in autumn (see also “Autumn Photography: Tips For Photographing The Colors Of Autumn“). 

This can offer fantastic opportunities for capturing the unique colors, patterns, and shapes of the foliage. 

A great way to emphasize this detail is by taking a close-up shot of a single leaf with either a macro lens or by blurring out the background, thus highlighting just that one leaf.

Backlighting can also be used to increase its presence in the scene and to make it more noticeable. 

7. Silhouettes

Silhouettes create a powerful and evocative effect in photography, with the main subject sharply contrasted against a flat, black background. 

Shooting silhouettes at dusk or before dawn is the perfect opportunity to make truly dramatic images, as the soft light of the sun lightly outlines your subject against a dark sky. 

This can be particularly effective when photographing trees, letting their grand shapes be defined against the night’s canvas.

8. Ground-Level Shots

Taking photos of trees from a low angle or the ground can create an interesting perspective and make for a powerful visual. It’s a way of emphasizing how vast, powerful, and large the trees really are. 

As viewers glance at the image, the scale between them and the tree appears so much greater due to this vantage point. People get an appreciation of exactly how large these living organisms actually can be when we seem so small by comparison.

In addition to this, images like this can evoke different emotions in onlookers. Depending on whether you’re capturing vast forests or single trees in singular settings, such as beside a rocky beach or near mountainous terrain – those reactions range widely. 

9. Taking Advantage Of Seasons

When it comes to capturing beautiful photos of nature, there are few things more important than taking advantage of the season. 

Of course, no photographer can accurately predict what kind of weather they’ll encounter on their journey, but that doesn’t mean you should attempt to force a certain look out of the forest. 

In autumn, in particular, photographers tend to expect a variety of foggy and cloudy days with golden-hour sunsets and softly falling leaves.

But often times the conditions might not be perfect for shooting those dreamy sunset shots – it could be cold and rainy instead. 

10. Using People

Adding a person as your subject can often be the perfect way to spike visual interest in your photos and give them an added sense of realism. 

The human form is inherently visually appealing, and giving people something that they can relate to in order to make connections with an image will give it more power. 

Final Thoughts

The key to taking breathtaking photos of nature is patience and an eye for detail. You don’t need the most expensive equipment or the perfect weather conditions to make great shots – you just have to have a keen eye and be willing to wait. 

With these 10 forest photography ideas, you should be able to create some truly memorable photographs of your next outdoor adventure!

Frequently Asked Question

What Are The Best Conditions For Forest Photography?

To begin with, soft, diffused light works best when shooting in forests. Low sun angles combined with deep shadows create atmosphere and drama that can bring even ordinary shots to life. 

Lastly, golden hours or blue hours present a great opportunity to turn ordinary scenes into extraordinary, magical images through careful use of exposure and highlights. 

Laura McNeill
Scroll to Top