I am currently organising a forest photography contest with Sony Netherlands. Submit your best autumn photo and tag #sonyherfst to win a Sony A6400. You can join with any picture taken with any camera!
Here are 5 tips to get your started.
1. Find a calm scene in the chaotic forest.
When you photograph a forest for the first time your impressions can be overwhelming and chaotic. A lot of things are happening. Try to find peace in all the chaos around you. Make it easy for yourself and use a telelens at first (70-200 or longer). Look through your viewfinder and slowly move from left to right, up and down to get a small framing and until you find something interesting. This can be really anything: a single tree, some shrooms, a little group of trees, a branch that stands out, something with contrast, literally anything that gets your attention and stands out
Find interesting trees or branches with your telelens.
2. Follow the light
Light is extremely important when photographing forests. Good contrast and light make for the best pictures. Try to photograph against the light and not away from it. By photographing towards the light you'll get these great contrasts between the beautiful light and dark trees. If you photograph the other direction everything looks way more chaotic because of all the shadows everywhere. Light is changing constantly and 'dances' through all the trees. New compositions pop up every minute. Walk slowly and follow the light!
Light is constantly creating new compositions because it's lighting different parts of the forest every minute
3. Go out in the morning
Most of the times the light in the forest is the most beautiful in the morning. Especially during those humid mornings when the sun just rose over the horizon you have a good chance of these beautiful sun rays that pierce through the tree branches. You'll have to get up early but this often rewards in the best photographs.
With a bit of luck you get these beautiful sun rays in the morning.
4.'Bad' weather is great for photographing forests.
Not only mornings with beautiful light are good for photographing forests. Thick fog and sometimes rain can make forests really beautiful on pictures, especially in autumn. Strong autumn colours can really pop in grey 'bad' weather. Rain and thick fog make for limited visibility which really helps for separation in the forest, making forests much less chaotic and easier to photograph.
5. Forest photography doesn't necessarily need a forest.
You often don't need to visit a forest for forest photography if you don't have one near you. Even in cities you can find beautiful trees and treelanes. Or on country roads. They're really everywhere and you'll start to notice the beauty of them especially in autumn. Look around everywhere when you're driving!
A simple country road in the morning with sun rays piercing through the trees.
For more inspiration, check my Autumn photos from last year.
For a complete forest guide with tips about gear, compositions and more tricks, check HERE
Hope to see your photos with #sonyherfst. Good luck!
Winner is announced December 20, 2019