Remember: Timing is everything.
The best time to shoot trees is during golden hour, the time right after sunrise or right before sunset. “I’m always up an hour and a half before sunrise when I’m out shooting,” says Filer. “And that’s just the nature of the game. You can take a nap when you come back.”
Early morning hours are the best for most types of forest photography, because there’s no harsh sunlight shining directly down onto your subject matter. Bright sunlight poking through tree branches will overwhelm your camera’s sensor and wash out parts of your photo. An overcast day can be great for tree photography, and fog can be even better, adding a little drama to your image.
Line up some helpful equipment.
A tripod is always a good idea for tree photography. Since you’ll be shooting a still subject, you have the advantage of using the manual settings on your camera and the steadiness of a tripod to get the most crisp shot possible.
In addition to your tripod, here are some optional items to bring along:
- Wide-angle lens: This can be a great way to show the vastness of a tree while standing close to it.
- Telephoto lens: This is a good option when you want to focus on a single tree that’s far away from you. Never trespass on private property or disobey the safety signs in a park to get closer to your subject.
- Circular polarizer: This is a filter for your lens that can take the glare and reflections off wet trees and be a great help when shooting in the rain.
Branch out with your composition.
Play with composition and see if you can frame your shot uniquely. Trees can be a great way to explore leading lines in photos: the line that the viewer’s eye will follow. As always, be sure to shoot your photos as RAW files, so you can easily edit your images in post-production.
Perfect your photos of trees with Adobe.
Put the finishing touches on your tree photos with post-processing software like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Fine-tune every aspect of your image in Lightroom and then add a few more advanced effects.
“There’s always something to do,” says Davidson. “I’ll start with Lightroom to make minor adjustments. And then if I need to do more, I’ll take it into Photoshop.”