5 Simple Tips For Capturing Woodland Photos
Madeira Landscape Photography
Woodland photography can be a fulfilling experience, and I have fond memories of wandering through the forest with my camera in hand. Finding a good composition can be a challenge and sometimes stressful. When I first started photographing in the woods, I found it to be like a chaotic puzzle with no solution.
But over time, I developed a few techniques, both technical and mental, that have helped me. In this article, I will share these 5 techniques with you in hopes that they will aid you on your photography journey.
Tip 1: Isolation
One simple way to capture the beauty of woodland photography scenes is through isolation. By separating individual trees from the surrounding clutter, you can create visually stunning images. You can achieve this by finding a single tree that stands out from the others, perhaps on a hill or in a field. Alternatively, you can take advantage of natural conditions that aid isolation, such as fog, which adds depth to the woods and simplifies the scene.
Low direct light can also help you isolate a subject by highlighting a single tree or branch while the rest of the forest fades into shadow. A telephoto lens can also be used to focus on a single tree or branch, emphasizing simple shapes and lines that are pleasing to the eye.
Tip 2: Framing
Using framing elements is the second tip that can enhance your woodland photography. In my experience, this technique worked wonders when I was on my Madeira Landscape Photography trip. The idea is to select a clean background tree or a group of trees and use a foreground tree or branch to frame the background. A wide-angle lens works best for this technique, and you should get close to the foreground tree while ensuring that there are no intersecting lines in the background. It’s essential to keep the composition neat and free of any distractions around the edges of the frame. The framing elements should pull the viewer into the scene rather than distract them from it.
Tip 3: Building Compositions
Don’t just take a quick snap of a tree and move on to the next spot. Take some extra time to look around and see if you can improve your composition or change your approach to the image. Take a look at these two images, for example. Both feature the exact same trees, but in the second image, I got close to the opening of the left tree to create a framing element. Now, both images have their own unique story to tell, and I like them for different reasons.
It’s amazing how a small adjustment can completely change the narrative of a photo. Building your compositions takes time, so take a shot and review it on playback to see how you can enhance the photograph by adding or removing elements.
Tip 4: Scouting
Woodland landscape photography requires thorough scouting. Personally, I visited the Fanal forest four different times, spending hours and hours exploring. I leveraged Google Maps to pinpoint and mark other trees that I might want to photograph, and I took reference images on my phone. This approach was invaluable to me and one of the reasons I was able to capture great shots. Although the conditions were fantastic at sunrise, the scene was also chaotic. Without prior scouting, I am not sure if I would have been able to capture much.
Tip 5: RELAX
Woodland photography is meant to be a stress-relieving activity, not one that adds to your anxiety. When I was in this grove, the rapidly changing conditions and fog started to overwhelm me. I would hurry to a hill to capture the fog, and by the time I set up, it would be gone. The same thing happened again when I ran to another location, where I spotted the fog forming. This cat-and-mouse game was quite stressful, and it hindered my creativity.
It wasn’t until I took a deep breath, relaxed, and embraced the different conditions that I started to have fun here. I could sit down, appreciate the scenery, and make more calculated decisions on how to capture it. Moreover, by waiting patiently and relaxing, the fog returned to the spot I was in.
Below you will find a small collection of Madeira landscape photography from my Fanal Adventure. I hope these tips will help you not only with your composition but also with your mindset when it comes to woodland photography. Just like anything else, taking great pictures requires practice and patience. So get out there, experiment, and remember to have fun! If you enjoy these images and would like to purchase a print. Contact me here firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂