Forest Landscape Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners

Posted on: 9 January 2016


You've bought your first camera and you're ready to start taking dazzling landscape photos of forests near you. Landscape photography can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be frustrating if you don't handle it properly. Here are a few simple landscape photography tips that will ensure your forest photos look amazing.

Choosing The Best Vantage Point

Vantage point is everything when it comes to great photography: forest landscapes are no different. While you may be able to get great shots by simply placing your tripod and camera on the horizon and taking a straight shot, you're more likely going to get a rather pedestrian shot. Experiment with high and low-angle shots to capture something unique about your forest.

High-angle shots (which might require standing a distance from the forest), create a birds-eye view that looks dynamic and cinematic. Low-angle shots create a more imposing and sinister approach: the trees will seemingly loom over the viewer. Also, try tilting your camera for the infamous Dutch Angle shot. Though somewhat overused, it still effectively creates a dramatic look.

Use A Wide Angle Lens

To capture the full landscape beauty of a forest, it's usually necessary to use a wide-angle lens. A wide angle lens is designed to capture a wider view, while still keeping items in the foreground in focus. That is their major advantage over zoom lenses, which can only focus on a specific area, leaving the rest of it rather fuzzy and indistinct.

Try to find a lens that has a focal length of 28mm or wider. You should be able to find this setting by reading the box or the product description under "focal length." It may have a high variance, but if you get one that can go above 28mm, you should be just fine.

Minimize Image Noise

If you've taken a few forest photos without changing your manual settings, you may notice your picture looks grainier than you'd like. That's because you are allowing too much noise in your images. Noise is particularly a problem in the unique lighting environment of a forest, so you need to adjust your manual settings to ensure you have as little noise as possible.

Don't panic: this is actually fairly easy! Start by opening your aperture as wide as possible, preferably f/2.8 or wider. This helps let in more light and eliminates the blur of excessive noise. You should also set your ISO to around 500 or so, especially if you are shooting during the day. Higher ISO settings are appropriate only in darker settings.

Experiment with these tips for awhile before taking photos that you truly want to show off. Once you've mastered forest photography, you can even start making a little money off your photos. Don't be afraid to profit from your masterpieces!

For more ideas, check out the landscape photography by Sean O'Neal or landscape work from other photographers you admire.