Waterfall Photography Tips

6 Waterfall Photography Tips

Waterfalls are a popular subject for landscape photography. They can be challenging to photograph but, when done properly, they turn into magical images. Here are a few waterfall photography tips to help you take beautiful pictures.

1. Use a tripod

I don’t think anyone really enjoys carrying a tripod around. However, I recommend using a tripod for landscape photography, especially when shooting waterfalls. If you want to blur the water, you need to use a slow shutter speed. If you handhold your camera, you can blur the water, but everything else around it will also be blurry. It’s almost impossible to get everything sharp at speeds that are around 1-2 seconds. Even if your camera or lens has image stabilization, it will not help much. In fact if your lens does have image stabilization, it’s recommended to turn it off when using a tripod.

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2. Use a filter

You can use a neutral density filter (ND) or a circular polarizer. The ND filter reduces the amount of light that reaches the sensor. Since you will be using a slow shutter speed, this will help achieve a correct exposure and avoid an overexposed photo. I prefer using a circular polarizer, which is similar to having polarized sunglasses for your camera. Polarizing filters are great at cutting out glare on bodies of water and making the sky a deeper blue. They also reduce reflections of objects making them more vibrant. Like ND filters, they also reduce the amount of light entering the camera.


3. Shoot in any weather

When shooting waterfalls, bright sunlight will not work to your advantage since you will be using a low shutter speed. Also, the light around waterfalls tends to be patchy and it will result in overexposed areas in your pictures, even if you use a filter. For that reason it’s best to shoot on cloudy days. Do not include the sky in your shots since it will be washed out anyway.

4. Include something in the foreground

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I believe that a good foreground is a key ingredient for a great landscape shot. Waterfalls are no exception. By including something in the foreground, you lead the viewer’s eye into the photo.

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5. Go abstract

You don’t have to use slow shutter speeds or to include a foreground object all the time. Be creative and try something abstract as well. Zoom into the water for example and you might be pleasantly surprised with the result.

6. Include people

I like including people in my shots whenever I can. For waterfalls, especially large ones, this will be a great opportunity to add some scale to the photo.

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I hope you found these waterfall photography tips helpful. Please share them with your friends using the icons below.

For more photography tips and ideas, check out my latest photography book, Picture (Im)perfect Photographynow available at Amazon.

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