Trees are a classic photography subject. Besides being beautiful, they work great in a wide range of moods, conditions, and genres. They’re photogenic in all kinds of weather, from heavy snow to scorching heat, and they work great as the background, foreground, or sole subject of a photo. They have texture, color, and basically everything you could want from a subject. They even stay in the same place!
Whether you’re taking a quick shot or embarking on a year-long photography challenge, trees are a subject you can always rely on. That isn’t to say they’re always easy to photograph. You may still struggle with lighting, composition, or lack of inspiration. It can sometimes be difficult to think creatively with such a simple, commonplace subject.
One way to boost your creativity is to consider new angles, interesting weather conditions, and/or types of trees you haven’t photographed before. Try brainstorming a list of possibilities, then choose one or two possibilities that seem interesting.
For starters, here are seven possibilities to build off of: Palm Trees, Lonely Trees, Dense Forests, Trees in Fog, Spring Blossoms, Trees in Autumn, and Snow-Covered Trees.
If you’re living in a tropical area or near a beach, you might’ve thought of this option right away. But if you’re surrounded by oaks and pine trees, it’s easy to forget about the trees common in warmer climates. Since palm trees can be found all over the place, even in non-tropical regions, they’re a possibility–you may just need to look harder or travel a little farther to find one.
Mariano Colombotto – Empty beach
Sharon LuVisi – Good morning, Sunshine!
Darren Sethe – North Shore, Oahu
stega60 – Costa Rica Santa Teresa Panorama II
A single tree, standing alone, is a great starting point for an interesting composition. It doesn’t matter what the tree’s shape, size, or variety is. The “lonely tree” look works with just about any kind of tree.
pmvarsa – Dunes with Pine Tree
Greg David – More from Killbear
Suzanne Cummings – Cholame Valley Road
Photographing a dense forest can be tricky, especially if you have lighting issues, but the added challenge can make getting a good photo even more rewarding. Also, with a forest, you have numerous options to work with. Unlike with a single tree, you can roam around. You can look for a perfect sun beam, an eye-catching row of trees, or a beautiful path winding through the woods.
Lindell Dillon – Light in the forest …
Serge Skiba – Wormsloe Plantation
Trees in Fog
Fog can turn an everyday scene into an otherworldly landscape. It has a quiet, mysterious atmosphere that works wonderfully with tree photos. It can also act like a type of negative space, highlighting trees that would’ve otherwise been lost in the landscape.
Just remember that fog, like a cloud, moves quickly. It can change in density in a matter of minutes, so it might be worth taking the same shot a few times. You might be surprised by how big of a difference five or ten minutes can make.
Fotis Mavroudakis – Foggy autumn forest road
Marco Bergner – Enchanted Forest IV
Julio López Saguar – Autumn Forest
If you love photographing flowers, spring blossoms are a natural first choice for tree photos. You get the beauty of flowers with the stateliness of a tree. Some blossoming trees that are especially stunning in spring include magnolias, fruit trees, and ornamental cherry trees. If you don’t have any in your neighborhood, try visiting a local orchard or Japanese-style garden.
jordan parks – peach tree blossoms
Greg David – Under the Cherry Blossoms
Trees in Autumn
Autumn, like springtime, can transform a landscape with color. You need only look through a collection of fall photos to feel like booking a trip to a gorgeous autumn destination. Like where, you might ask? How about these 10 amazing locations in the US.
Ken Lane – Funky Sky & Aspens (Grand Teton National Park)
Ken Lane – Aspens at Mormon Row Historic District (Grand Teton National Park)
Pascal Silvain Arabatzis – Prateralle
TroyMarcyPhotography – Autumn Timber
R Casey – Falling on the road…
Spring and autumn are famous for their beauty, but winter can be equally lovely, especially when trees are decked with snow. Bare tree branches can be striking, too, but if you’ve got snow…
John Church – Born of the Mist
Melinda Szente – Winter in the park
All of the above photos were selected from our community on Flickr. Got a fantastic tree photo? Share it with the group so we can admire it!