How To Photograph Trees - The Ultimate Guide

21 Apr 202414:35

TLDRIn this video, the host shares expert tips on how to photograph trees effectively. He emphasizes finding trees with character, such as twisted branches or creeping roots, and suggests cataloging interesting trees for future reference. The host recommends shooting with a slope behind the tree to create a dark background that makes the tree stand out. He also advises experimenting with different aspect ratios and using reflections to enhance color. The video includes a humorous encounter with a neighbor and concludes with a tip to use pathways in the composition to guide the viewer's eye. The host also mentions the dramatic effect of fog or rain on forest photography, suggesting long exposures to capture the atmosphere.


  • πŸ“š **Pre-order Book Update**: The speaker thanks those who pre-ordered their new book 'Stories within Stories' and shares that the printed books will be shipped out at the end of May.
  • 🌲 **Character in Trees**: Look for trees with character, such as twisted branches, creeping roots, or interesting shapes to engage the audience more.
  • 🏞️ **Location Scouting**: Walk around your own property or a nearby forest to find interesting trees instead of traveling far away.
  • 🚫 **Avoid Trespassing**: Always be aware of your location and avoid trespassing on private property while searching for the perfect tree to photograph.
  • πŸ“ˆ **Shooting Up Slope**: If possible, photograph trees with a slope or hill behind them to create a darker background that makes the tree stand out.
  • 🌌 **Night Sky as Background**: On a clear night, use the stars or the Milky Way to fill the sky behind a tree for a dramatic effect.
  • πŸ‚ **Autumn Colors**: In Autumn, focus on color rather than form, as the changing leaves can transform a scene into a colorful spectacle.
  • πŸ–ΌοΈ **Framing Techniques**: Use framing elements like other trees or natural structures to create a more interesting composition around the main tree.
  • πŸ›€οΈ **Pathways and Trails**: Incorporate pathways or trails in your shot to lead the viewer's eye through the forest and add depth to the image.
  • 🌫️ **Fog and Rain**: Utilize foggy or rainy conditions to create a mysterious and ethereal atmosphere, or use long exposure to simulate fog with rain.
  • πŸ“Έ **Reflections**: Look for reflections in water to double the color in your frame and enhance the beauty of the tree's shape.
  • 🎨 **Aspect Ratios**: Experiment with different aspect ratios and crops to improve the composition and remove unwanted elements from the frame.

Q & A

  • What is the main focus of the video?

    -The main focus of the video is to provide an Ultimate Guide to photographing trees and forests in landscape photography.

  • What does the author suggest as the first step in photographing trees?

    -The author suggests finding a tree with character, interesting shapes, and forms to engage the audience more.

  • What are some characteristics that make a tree interesting for photography?

    -Twisted branches, creeping roots, knots, burs, or even faces in the bark are characteristics that can make a tree interesting for photography.

  • Why is shooting up a slope recommended when photographing a tree?

    -Shooting up a slope helps to fill the background with a darker element, making the tree pop against the background rather than a bright sky.

  • What can be done on a day with a blue sky to improve the photograph of a tree?

    -If the sky is blue, the author suggests filling the sky with stars or the Milky Way to enhance the photograph.

  • How can reflections be used in tree photography?

    -Reflections, such as in water, can double the amount of color in the frame and add depth to the photograph, especially if the tree has an interesting shape.

  • What compositional tip does the author provide for photographing a single tree?

    -The author recommends offsetting the tree to one side of the frame rather than centering it, which can make the composition less obvious and more interesting.

  • What is the significance of photographing trees in autumn?

    -In autumn, the change in color turns a scene of straight, boring tree trunks into a colorful and visually appealing composition.

  • How can framing be used effectively in tree photography?

    -Framing can be achieved by using another tree or elements in the foreground to create a partial or full frame around the main subject, which adds depth and interest to the shot.

  • What role can pathways play in forest photography?

    -Pathways can lead the viewer's eye through the forest and add a sense of journey or exploration to the photograph, making it more engaging.

  • What is the author's final tip for capturing great forest shots?

    -The author's final tip is to take advantage of weather conditions like fog or even long exposure during a rainy day to separate the trees from the background.

  • What is the name of the author's new book mentioned in the video?

    -The author's new book is called 'Stories Within Stories'.



πŸ“Έ Ultimate Guide to Forest Photography

The video begins with the host expressing gratitude to those who pre-ordered his new book, 'Stories Within Stories'. He then promises to share tips that will improve viewers' skills in photographing trees. The host decides to explore his own property for interesting trees rather than travel, and he provides a humorous anecdote about a deer and its droppings. The first photography tip is to find a tree with character, looking for twisted branches, creeping roots, or unique shapes. The host also suggests cataloging interesting trees for future reference.


🌳 Tips for Captivating Tree Photography

The host continues with additional tips for photographing trees, emphasizing shooting against a darker background to make the tree stand out. He also suggests using the stars or the Milky Way to fill an empty sky if the weather isn't ideal. Reflections, different aspect ratios, and off-center compositions are recommended to enhance the visual appeal. Autumn is highlighted as a season that can transform ordinary trees into colorful subjects. The host also advises on using framing techniques and pathways in the composition to add depth and guide the viewer's eye through the scene.


β›… Enhancing Forest Photos with Weather Conditions

The final paragraph discusses the impact of weather on forest photography. Foggy days are ideal for creating stunning shots, and the host humorously negotiates with a neighbor, Phil, to return for such an occasion. If fog isn't available, a heavy rainy day can be used with long exposure to simulate a similar effect. The host closes by thanking Phil for allowing them to film on his property and invites viewers to like, subscribe, and ring the bell for notifications. The video ends with a glimpse of the host's tiny house and a quirky exchange of names.



πŸ’‘Forest Photography

Forest photography is a genre of photography that involves capturing images of trees, landscapes, and the natural environment within a forest. In the video, the host discusses various techniques to improve one's skills in photographing trees within a forest setting, emphasizing the importance of finding trees with character and using different compositional elements to enhance the visual appeal of the photographs.

πŸ’‘Character in Trees

Refers to the unique and interesting features that a tree may possess, such as twisted branches, creeping roots, knots, or even shapes that resemble faces. These features are important in forest photography as they engage the viewer and provide a focal point for the image. The host in the video encourages viewers to seek out trees with such character to create more captivating photographs.


In photography, composition refers to the arrangement of visual elements within a frame. The host provides several tips on composition, such as offsetting the main subject (the tree) to one side of the frame instead of centering it, and using elements like pathways and reflections to add depth and interest to the photograph. Good composition can greatly enhance the storytelling aspect of a photograph.


Reflections in photography can add an extra layer of visual interest by duplicating elements within the frame, such as the colors and shapes of a tree. The host mentions that finding a reflection, especially with a colorful tree, can double the color impact in the image and create a more striking photograph. This technique is not limited to forest photography but is a useful concept for enhancing any landscape shot.

πŸ’‘Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio in photography is the proportional relationship between the width and the height of an image. The host suggests experimenting with different aspect ratios and crops to improve the composition of a photograph, particularly by removing unwanted gaps of sky at the top or bottom of the frame. The aspect ratio can influence the storytelling and the mood of a photograph.


Framing is a technique where an object in the foreground is used to 'frame' or draw attention to the main subject of the photograph. The host discusses using elements such as other trees or natural features to create a frame around a distant tree, which can make the photograph more engaging and visually appealing. This technique helps to guide the viewer's eye towards the main subject.

πŸ’‘Pathways and Trails

Including pathways or trails in a photograph can lead the viewer's eye through the image and add a sense of depth and journey. The host recommends featuring a trail in the composition to make the photograph more enticing and engaging for viewers. This technique is particularly effective in forest photography, as it can create a sense of exploration and discovery.

πŸ’‘Fog and Atmospheric Conditions

Atmospheric conditions such as fog can enhance a photograph by adding a sense of mystery and depth. The host mentions that shooting on a foggy day can result in 'killer shots' due to the way fog can separate the subject from the background. Even without fog, the host suggests using long exposure techniques during rainy days to create a similar effect, which can help in differentiating the trees from the background.

πŸ’‘Seasonal Changes

The host talks about how the perception of a tree can change with the seasons, especially Autumn, when the leaves change color. This transformation can turn a 'boring stick' into a vibrant and colorful subject. The focus during Autumn shifts from the form of the tree to its color, allowing for different types of compositions and photographs that highlight the seasonal beauty.

πŸ’‘Long Exposure

Long exposure is a photography technique where the camera's shutter is open for an extended period, allowing more light to hit the sensor and creating specific effects. The host suggests using long exposure during rainy days to make the rain appear like fog, which can add a unique aesthetic to forest photography by blurring the rain and creating a soft, dreamlike quality in the image.

πŸ’‘Pre-Order and Book Launch

The host starts the video by mentioning a pre-order for a new book titled 'Stories within Stories'. This indicates an additional aspect of the host's work beyond photography, as an author. The book's contract proofs have been signed, and the printed books are expected to be received at the end of May, after which they will be shipped out to those who pre-ordered.


The video provides an Ultimate Guide to Forest photography, specifically focusing on photographing trees.

The presenter guarantees an improvement in tree photography skills by following the tips shared in the video.

A new book titled 'Stories within Stories' is announced, with pre-orders available at a discounted price.

The presenter suggests walking around one's own property to find interesting trees for photography.

Trees with character, such as twisted branches, creeping roots, or unique shapes, are more engaging subjects.

Mentally cataloging interesting trees or noting their GPS coordinates can help photographers return when conditions are ideal.

Shooting up a slope can create a darker background that makes the tree stand out more against the sky.

On a blue sky day, the presenter recommends filling the sky with stars or the Milky Way for a more dramatic effect.

Finding reflections, such as in water, can double the color in a frame and enhance the beauty of a tree photograph.

Experimenting with different aspect ratios and crops can help remove unwanted gaps in the sky and improve composition.

Offsetting the main tree to one side of the frame rather than centering it can create a more interesting composition.

Waiting for Autumn can transform a scene of straight trees into a colorful composition with more visual appeal.

Using framing techniques, such as including another tree in the foreground, can enhance the overall shot.

Incorporating pathways or trails in the composition can lead the viewer's eye through the forest and add depth.

Fog or heavy rain can create a unique atmosphere in forest photography, making trees stand out against the background.

The presenter humorously interacts with a landowner, demonstrating respect for private property while seeking the perfect shot.

The video concludes with a reminder to subscribe and engage with the channel for more photography tips and tutorials.