In order to get good photographs of a forest, you must notice the forest as an entity. When you see the elements for a compelling picture fall into place, it’s time to think about composition, settings, and so on. Here are six things to consider when photographing a forest:
Choose a high vantage point. If you’re photographing a forest in the middle of a mountain range or one that’s nestled in a valley, photograph the forest from a high vantage point.
Choose a low vantage point. If you’re walking down a meandering path in a forest and the elements for a great picture appear before you, consider crouching down to photograph the forest from a low vantage point. From this position, you capture the majesty and grandeur of the forest.
Pick the appropriate format. You should almost always photograph a forest in landscape format (the picture is wider than it is tall) with the camera level with the horizon.
Use a wide-angle focal length. To capture the big picture, use a wide-angle focal length, 28mm or wider. Note that if you photograph a forest with a focal length less than 28mm from a distance, you’ll have to include something rather prominent in the foreground to capture the interest of the viewer — such as a large bush, rock, or tree.
Choose the right settings. Use the lowest possible ISO setting to minimize noise. Choose a small aperture with an f-stop value between f/11 and the camera’s smallest aperture.
If you’re shooting in dim lighting conditions, the small aperture yields a slow shutter speed, sometimes too slow to handhold the camera. If this is the case, bump the ISO slightly, but try not to exceed an ISO setting of 800.
Use a tripod. If you want clear, sharp pictures, consider carrying a tripod with you. You may think tripods are a nuisance to carry around, but mounting your camera on a tripod guarantees you get a sharp picture.