These are five problems with your woodland photos, and how to fix them
I love spending time in the forest and taking photos. Ironically, I’m not that good at woodland photography, and I can’t seem to improve much. If you feel the same way, Nigel Danson has a perfect video for you. He explores the complexities and allure of autumn woodland photography, explaining why it may not work. He also proposes solutions to these problems, some editing tips, and excellent examples to illustrate his points.
Woodland photography is attractive to many landscape photographers. However, it can be particularly challenging. Nigel emphasizes the need for photographers to navigate lighting and composition challenges that are especially obvious during the vibrant autumn season.
Critical tips for improving woodland photos
Nigel stresses the importance of minimizing distractions in woodland scenes. And I’m sure you’ll agree – there can be many of those. He suggests that you stay aware of the elements, like stray branches or patches of sky, that detract from the main subject. By adjusting the framing or zooming in, you can isolate more engaging aspects of the scene, creating a cleaner, more focused composition.
Embracing simplicity and purposefulness
Relying on the previous point, many of us tend to overcomplicate the scene and include too many things. Simplifying your composition can make a significant difference. Nigel encourages you to be deliberate with your subject choices and placements. Zoom in or focus on the scenes with fewer elements. This way, you’ll create a sense of harmony within the frame. This purposefulness can transform a chaotic woodland scene into a truly captivating photo.
Light and weather
Light and weather dramatically impact woodland photography. In the autumn and winter months, these can pose a challenge more than usual: the daylight lasts shorter, and the weather changes fast. However, you can use the varied weather conditions to your advantage. For example, rely on the morning fog for the mystical quality and depth. Use the sunlight to create dynamic contrasts and shadows. And, of course, shooting into the sun or during the golden hour can add a warm, glowing mood to your compositions.
Effective use of composition techniques is crucial in woodland photography. Nigel demonstrates the use of leading lines, natural frames, and foreground elements to add depth and interest to the photos. He also suggests that you work on achieving balance in composition. Be mindful of the placement of trees and their relationship to other elements in the scene.
The final reason your woodland photos may not work happens when you get home and transfer your photos. Post-processing can be crucial in refining your images, and many of us pay too little attention to it (guilty!). However, proper editing can do wonders. It gives you a second chance to remove distractions and crop or straighten the image. You can also enhance colors and contrast and add to the overall mood of each shot while maintaining the natural beauty and authenticity of the scene.
Nigel’s insights into woodland photography offer valuable guidance for all of us who want to improve our photography while enjoying a hike through a forest. By emphasizing simplicity, purposeful composition, and the thoughtful use of light, you can overcome the challenges and capture stunning, natural woodland scenes. Keep practicing, and remember these tips the next time you go to the forest with your camera.
[Why your Woodland Photos DON’T WORK | Nigel Danson]
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.