How To Photograph Trees - The Ultimate Guide

21 Apr 202414:35

TLDRIn this video, the host offers an Ultimate Guide to photographing trees and forests. The tips include finding trees with character, shooting against a dark background, using reflections, experimenting with aspect ratios, offsetting the tree in the frame, and considering the season for added color. The guide also suggests using framing techniques, incorporating pathways for a sense of journey, and taking advantage of foggy or rainy days for unique shots. The video is filled with practical advice and humorous anecdotes, making it both informative and entertaining.


  • 📸 **Find Trees with Character**: Look for trees with twisted branches, creeping roots, knots, or even faces to engage your audience more.
  • 🌳 **Catalog Interesting Trees**: Mentally or physically note down the locations of interesting trees to return when conditions are right.
  • 📈 **Shoot Up Slope**: Position your camera to capture a slope or hill behind the tree to create a darker background that makes the tree stand out.
  • 🌌 **Use the Sky or Stars**: If you have a blue sky, consider capturing the tree against a backdrop of stars or the Milky Way at night.
  • 🔍 **Find Reflections**: Look for water or reflective surfaces to double the color in your frame and enhance the tree's appearance.
  • 📐 **Experiment with Aspect Ratios**: Try different aspect ratios and crops to avoid unwanted gaps in the sky and improve composition.
  • 🌲 **Offset the Tree**: Instead of centering the tree, try offsetting it to one side of the frame for a more interesting composition.
  • 🍂 **Embrace Autumn Colors**: Use the vibrant colors of autumn to transform a boring scene into a colorful composition.
  • 🖼️ **Use Framing Techniques**: Frame the tree with another tree or elements in the foreground to add depth and interest to the shot.
  • 🛤️ **Feature Pathways**: Include pathways or trails in your composition to guide the viewer's eye through the forest.
  • 🌫️ **Capture Foggy Scenes**: Utilize fog or long exposure in rainy conditions to create a mysterious and engaging atmosphere.

Q & A

  • What is the main topic of the video?

    -The main topic of the video is providing an Ultimate Guide to Forest photography, specifically focusing on how to photograph trees.

  • What is the author's new book called?

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

  • What is the first tip given for photographing trees?

    -The first tip is to find a tree with character, looking for interesting shapes, forms, twisted branches, creeping roots, knots, or even faces in the tree.

  • What does the author suggest doing if you cannot find an interesting tree?

    -If you cannot find an interesting tree, the author suggests waiting until Autumn when the trees become colorful, transforming the scene and allowing for a focus on color rather than form.

  • What is a compositional tip provided for photographing a single tree?

    -The compositional tip is to avoid always centering the tree in the frame. Instead, try offsetting the tree to one side to make the composition less obvious and more interesting.

  • How can using a reflection enhance a tree photography shot?

    -Using a reflection, especially with a colorful tree, can double the amount of color in the frame and create a more visually appealing and balanced shot.

  • What is the author's advice for dealing with a blue sky when photographing trees?

    -If faced with a blue sky, the author suggests waiting until it gets dark and filling the sky with stars or the Milky Way to create a more interesting backdrop.

  • Why is using framing in tree photography recommended?

    -Framing is recommended because it can make the shot more interesting by using elements in the foreground or sides to draw attention to the main subject, which is the tree.

  • How can pathways or trails featured in a shot enhance the viewer's experience?

    -Pathways or trails can lead the viewer's eye on a journey through the forest, making the image more engaging and enticing to look at for longer periods.

  • What is the author's final tip for getting great shots in a forest?

    -The final tip is to take advantage of weather conditions like fog or even heavy rain, which can be used in long exposure shots to create an effect similar to fog, helping to separate the trees from the background.

  • What does the author suggest doing when trespassing occurs?

    -The author humorously handles the situation by apologizing for the trespassing, and then asks for permission to continue recording the tutorial, turning the encounter into a friendly interaction.

  • What is the significance of the title 'Stories Within Stories' for the author's new book?

    -While the video transcript does not provide explicit details about the content of the book, the title 'Stories Within Stories' suggests that the book may contain narratives or accounts that are layered or interconnected in some way.



📸 Ultimate Guide to Forest Photography

The video begins with the host expressing gratitude to those who pre-ordered his new book, 'Stories Within Stories,' and shares an update on the book's progress. He then dives into the main topic: providing tips for improving one's skills in photographing trees and forests. The host suggests finding trees with character, such as twisted branches or creeping roots, and emphasizes the importance of capturing these trees from interesting angles. He also humorously recounts a brief trespassing incident while searching for the perfect tree to photograph.


🌳 Enhancing Tree Shots with Composition Techniques

The host continues with additional photography tips, such as shooting with a slope behind the tree to create a contrasting background, and using the night sky or Milky Way to fill an empty background if the tree is a lone figure on a hillside. He also talks about the use of reflections to double the color in a frame and suggests experimenting with different aspect ratios and crops. The video includes compositional advice, like offsetting the main tree to one side of the frame and looking for the best angle to capture the tree's character. Autumn is highlighted as a season that can transform ordinary trees into colorful subjects. The host also recommends using framing techniques and pathways in shots to lead the viewer's eye through the forest.


⛅ Capturing the Mystical Forest in Fog and Rain

In the final paragraph, the host discusses the dramatic effects that foggy conditions can have on forest photography, producing 'killer shots' that stand out. He mentions that even without fog, a heavy rainy day can be utilized for long exposure shots that mimic the appearance of fog, helping to separate the trees from a busy background. The video concludes with a light-hearted interaction with a local resident, Phil, who the host had previously trespassed upon, and an agreement to help with some firewood in exchange for future photography access. The host then reflects on the images captured and invites viewers to engage with the content by liking, subscribing, and enabling notifications.



💡Forest Photography

Forest photography refers to the art of capturing images of trees, landscapes, and other natural elements within a forested environment. In the video, the host emphasizes the importance of finding trees with character and using various techniques to enhance the visual appeal of the photographs. It is central to the video's theme as it guides viewers on how to improve their skills in photographing trees within a forest setting.

💡Character in Trees

Character in trees pertains to the unique shapes, forms, and features that make a tree stand out and visually interesting. The video suggests looking for twisted branches, creeping roots, knots, and even faces in trees. These characteristics are important as they engage the audience more than a simple, straight tree, thus adding depth and intrigue to forest photography.

💡Tree Cataloging

Tree cataloging is the process of mentally or physically noting down the locations of interesting trees for future reference. The host mentions this as a tip for photographers to be prepared and know where to find the best subjects when the conditions are ideal. It is a practical approach to landscape photography, ensuring that a photographer can revisit a location with a compelling tree when the lighting or season is most favorable.

💡Shooting Up Slope

Shooting up slope is a technique where a photographer positions themselves below the tree and aims the camera upwards towards a slope, hill, or mountain behind the tree. This method helps to create a darker background that makes the tree stand out more prominently. In the video, it is suggested as a way to avoid an open, bright sky that could detract from the tree's visual impact.

💡Filling the Sky

Filling the sky with elements such as stars or the Milky Way is a photography technique used when dealing with a clear night sky. The host discusses this as an alternative to a daytime blue sky, which can be less flattering for certain shots. By capturing the night sky, a photographer can create a dramatic backdrop that enhances the tree's isolation and beauty.


Reflections in photography can add an extra layer of depth and color to an image, especially when photographing colorful trees. The video mentions finding reflective surfaces like water or ice that can double the visual appeal of a tree by mirroring its colors and shape. This technique is used to create more dynamic and engaging forest photographs.

💡Aspect Ratios and Crops

Aspect ratios and crops refer to the dimensions and framing of an image. The host recommends experimenting with different aspect ratios and crops to improve composition by removing unwanted gaps of sky or other elements. This technique helps in focusing on the tree and its surroundings, creating a more balanced and visually pleasing photograph.

💡Offset Composition

Offset composition involves placing the main subject, in this case, a tree, off-center in the frame. The host advises against always centering the tree in the shot, suggesting that an offset composition can be less predictable and more interesting. This approach can draw attention to other features in the background and create a more dynamic image.

💡Autumn Colors

Autumn colors highlight the vibrant hues of fall foliage, which can transform an otherwise ordinary scene into a colorful spectacle. The video discusses how autumn can enhance tree photography by focusing on the rich colors rather than the tree's form. This seasonal change provides photographers with a unique opportunity to capture the forest's transient beauty.


Framing in photography is the use of natural or man-made elements to surround and draw attention to the main subject. The host talks about using another tree or a partial frame to create a visual border around the tree of interest. This technique can enhance the overall composition by providing context and depth, making the tree stand out more against the background.

💡Pathways and Trails

Pathways and trails in forest photography serve as leading lines that guide the viewer's eye through the image. The host suggests featuring a trail in the composition to create a sense of journey and exploration. This can make the photograph more engaging and encourage viewers to spend more time examining the scene.

💡Fog and Rain

Fog and rain can create atmospheric conditions that enhance the mood and aesthetic of forest photography. The host mentions that foggy days can produce 'killer shots' due to the way they soften the background and highlight the trees. Similarly, long exposure photography during rainy days can simulate the effect of fog, adding a dramatic and mysterious quality to the images.


The video provides an Ultimate Guide to Forest photography with a focus on photographing trees.

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

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

The video offers a unique approach by exploring interesting trees on the presenter's own property.

The importance of finding a tree with character is emphasized for engaging the audience.

Twisted branches, creeping roots, and knots are highlighted as features that make a tree interesting.

The presenter suggests cataloging interesting trees either mentally or in a notebook for future reference.

Shooting up a slope can create a dramatic background for the tree, making it stand out.

On a blue sky day, the presenter recommends filling the sky with stars or the Milky Way for a unique shot.

Finding reflections, such as in water, can double the color impact in a tree photography composition.

Experimenting with different aspect ratios and crops can improve the composition by removing unwanted sky.

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

The presenter shares a personal anecdote of trespassing while searching for the perfect tree shot.

Waiting for the right season, such as Autumn, can transform a scene and highlight the tree's character.

Framing devices like other trees or a full circle frame can enhance the visual interest of a shot.

Incorporating pathways in the composition can lead the viewer's eye through the forest scene.

Fog or heavy rain can create a dramatic backdrop, separating the trees from the background.

The presenter humorously negotiates firewood in exchange for assistance with a chainsaw.

The video concludes with a teaser for an upcoming shoot of a solar eclipse.

The presenter thanks the viewers and invites them to like, subscribe, and turn on notifications for future content.