Waterfalls are among my favourite nature photography subjects. Their elegance, movement, and ever-changing character make them beautiful to capture, but they do present a number of practical and technical challenges which can make them difficult to shoot.
The following waterfall photography tips will help you snap stunning images, and master the technical and creative sides of photographing this fascinating subject.
CAPTURE THEIR MOTION
One of the most interesting things about waterfalls is the way they move. From the meandering flow of water across rocks to the splash and spray of a crashing torrent, they’re always full of energy and excitement.
Motion is a key aspect of waterfalls, so be sure to include it in your photos. Image by Paul Bica.
The key to capturing this movement is choosing the best camera settings before you start shooting. So flick your camera into Shutter Priority or Manual mode and set it up as follows.
Every waterfall is different, and there’s no single “correct” shutter speed to use, but if you want to capture movement in the water you’ll need to use a slow shutter speed – generally somewhere from 0.3 seconds up to several seconds.
A good rule of thumb is to start with a speed of 1 second and take a test shot. Review it on your camera’s LCD screen and adjust until you get the correct level of blurring. Don’t worry if the scene is overexposed; we’ll adjust other settings to compensate for that.