Tips and Ideas to Photograph Trees

Trees can be a fascinating subject for photography due to their individual and group characteristics. 

Use basic photography techniques when you want to photograph trees in order to maximize interest for the viewer.

We’ll show you tips and techniques to use when capturing images of trees.

Use the photo ideas below to inspire you to get out and take your own tree pictures!

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CAMERA GEAR FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY

We use a Camera Gear Checklist to help us pack all the equipment we need – that way we don’t foget anything!

We recommend the following camera equipment for taking landscape photos:

1. Camera: You probably already have one, but if you’re looking for something new  → check out the compact travel cameras we recommend!

2. Tripod: Using a tripod is something we’ll always recommend. There are many compact and lightweight options out there that are easy to use. → Check out the tripods we recommend!

3. Camera Bag: Protecting your camera from sand and water is essential. Using a camera backpack is so nice for hiking too.  → Check out our camera backpack for outdoor photography.

4. Neutral density filter: There can be extreme differences in light when taking landscape pictures. To compensate for this variance of light you’ll need to use a neutral density filter.  → Check out the Kase magnetic filters we use!

5. Camera cleaning kit: You’ll want a field cleaning kit to remove dust or water that WILL get on your lens. NOTE: this is not for cleaning the sensor.  → This is the camera cleaning kit we use!

6. Memory cards: Purchase name brand memory cards since you’re trusting your images to the card!  → We use Lexar and Sandisk!

7. External hard drive: Don’t forget to copy the photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’.  → Check out these awesome portable external hard drives

8. Headlamp: For the best sunrise shots, you want to arrive at your designated location well before the sun rises. Most of the time this means total darkness. Use a flashlight or headlamp to light your way from the parking lot to your spot. Wearing a headlamp allows you to set up your equipment without having to hold a flashlight. Remember to use the red light setting and keep the beam pointed on the ground in front of you to avoid disrupting other photographers in the area taking long exposure shots. → Check out these headlamps with the red light!

Photograph Trees: Photo Ideas

Take a look at the photo ideas for taking pictures of trees shared by members of our Facebook Group, Your Photography Journey.

WATCH the video as we discuss compositional elements in each image.

Photographing Trees: Tips and Ideas

Take a look at these awesome photos where trees are the main subject.

Use the tips and ideas for inspiration to get out and take your own tree photos!

Single Tree

One idea for photographing trees is to single out one tree and organize a composition around it.

William Holmes applied this compositional approach to his amazing capture of a single tree in a rock-strewn landscape. 

He also used the rule of thirds to enhance placement of the subject and create additional interest in the composition.  

Cindy Shaffer used the same approach in her awesome photograph of a singe tree. 

She composed this lone tree to include vegetative foreground with mountains in the background to tell a story of the location. 

Placing the tree a bit off center in the photograph provides interest for the viewer. 

Part of the Whole

A defining characteristic of trees is their trunks. 

Enveloped in wooden skins, the trunks of trees introduce us to a world of diverse textures and patterns. 

Denise Thomason composed this photo to focus on the narrow path within a sea of trunks.

The leading lines of the path and trunks add depth to direct the viewer’s eye.

Tony Kendrick has focused on the trunks of trees in this magnificent capture of a wet and wooden grove. 

One stunning aspect of Tony’s photograph is the reflection of the wood’s conglomeration of lines and angles reflected in the standing water. 

Silhouette

Trees are great subjects for silhouette photographs and work particularly well against a bright background. 

Sharon Plyler has brilliantly illustrated this concept in her sunset capture of a lone tree against an orange sky. 

The lines and textures of the tree’s branches and foliage provide a nice contrast to the warm tones and soft structure of the sunlit clouds.

Bonnie Melnichenko used a silhouette approach in her beautiful capture of a lone tree filling the frame against the soft tones of a soothing sunset. 

The lack of foliage among the twisting branches enhances the late year mood of the sky and water behind them.

She also used the tree to block the sun so it’s not too bright and distracting.

Perspective

Using perspective adds impact and interest so look for opportunities to capture that when composing a photo.

Grant Andrews looked up to take this stunning image of a tall tree.

The leading line of the trunk guides the viewer up through the composition to the characteristic branches and foliage above. 

The perspective created in the composition lends a sense of depth toward the sky. 

Roy Goldsberry provides us with another example of the value of looking up in his inspiring capture of trees surging into a blue sky. 

The perspective created in each individual tree, combined with the group perspective created by the whole, draws the eye of the viewer through the photograph to a specific point in the distance. 

Roy’s awesome image conveys a real sense of the cooperative nature of the group dynamics of trees.

Framing

Kelly Benton delivers an intriguing lesson in the framing attributes of trees in this beautiful forest capture. 

The action of the photograph, upon the distant lake, is breathtakingly framed by trunks, branches, and roots.

She uses foreground, midground and background to create depth in the scene as well.

In this photo by Terri Chabot at golden hour, she uses the tree to frame the setting sun.

The framing curves of twin tree trunks draws the eye of the viewer to the cloud-dimmed sun on the horizon

Tree branches from the upper right of the frame balances the image nicely. 

Seasons

Trees are terrific subject to showcase seasons throughout the year.

The affects of changing seasons are well displayed within the branches of trees. 

Spring is a time of renewal and vibrant color. 

Teresa Daniels filled the frame with a part of the whole to capture the freshness of a revitalizing time of year.

Fall is a classic time of year for photography. 

The dying leaves of many trees provide an array of brilliant colors that envelope the countryside. 

Lisa Mason framed the vibrant colors of fall with green vegetation in the foreground and a moody sky of textured clouds in the background.

Winter is a time of cool colors, dynamic weather, and freezing temperatures that often provides ample opportunity for eye catching photographs. 

Leon Korkin’s image of a single tree encased in winter ice perfectly conveys the cold and beauty of this season.

The use of lines and angles in the composition provide a nice sense of balance to the captured scene.

Seasons expose us to a variety of weather affects that can be very dramatic in photography. 

Following weather patterns and searching out such opportunities can lead to beautiful experiences and photographs.

In the photo above, Ghe Buhay captured a part of the whole scene to focus on the effect of the fog and light in the trees.

Were you inspired by these photos?

Every week in our Facebook group (Your Photography Journey), we have a challenge that focuses on an element of composition. Understanding these simple elements will help you improve your photography skills!

→ DOWNLOAD our 52 Week Photography Challenge List!

We also do live video Photo Reviews each week to discuss compositional elements on the photos group members want us to review, similar to the video we included in this article.

Our group members find the reviews very helpful – see what they have to say! We’d love to have you join us!

join free photography group

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