Into the woods: forest photography basics.
From the lowest ferns to the tallest redwoods, capture the full scope of the forest with these basic camera settings and helpful tips.
Forests cover nearly a third of the earth’s land surface. And they’re as diverse as they are vast. From tropical rainforests teeming with color to dense woodlands blanketed with snow, the possibilities for capturing striking images are endless.
With these pro tips — and an editing boost from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom — you’ll be well on your way to showcasing the majesties of earth like a National Geographic photographer.
Camera settings for stunning forest photography.
- Zoom in: Remember, you’re not supposed to capture the whole forest. The most striking forest images often come from focusing on small details like a particular group of trees, a winding footpath, moss and mushrooms growing out of a decaying trunk, or even a squirrel nibbling a nut.
- Compose thoughtfully: Guide the viewer through your photo with a composition that shows them where to look. That means looking for lines to define the space — paths are the easiest way to guide a viewer.
- Keep it shallow: Use a shallow depth of field. This allows you to really focus on the foreground and keeps the composition from becoming too crowded. The larger aperture you choose, the more “in focus” your focal point becomes — and the more “out of focus” everything else becomes.
Tips for editing forest photography.
- Light and Shadows: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s shadows and highlights presets help to balance out the sweeping scope of light and shadow in your forest shots — from the darkness of the understory to the sun shining through the highest branches. Remove some shadow by dragging the slider to the right and highlight any contrast that’s lost by darkening the blacks. Likewise, you can use the highlights feature to recover details from overexposed areas.
- Colors: When it comes to nature shots, it’s important to capture the brilliant colors found in forests. Increase the intensity, vibrance and saturation of your composition’s colors to help convey the awe of the environment.
- Details: Draw attention to the photo’s focal point by adding a circular filter and increasing sharpness. This helps to add depth and will guide the viewer to the main focus, whether that’s a cluster of leaves on a branch, a flower, or a small animal.
Explore what more you can do with Lightroom to transform your forest photos into stunning pieces of art.