When I Started Following This Advice, My Image Went Straight To The Top3 In The Next Photo Contest

When I Started Following This Advice, My Image Went Straight To The Top3 In The Next Photo Contest

Photographer John Davenport wrote down his best tips for waterfall photography over at Digital Photography School.

Long exposure aside, these are the things you should focus on when planning a waterfall image. If you miss one of more of these points, your photo will become average.

Composing waterfall photographs

When composing a waterfall scene you’ll have to take into account not just the waterfall itself, but the direction of water flow, the rocks and debris that make up the foreground, the trees in the background, and everything in-between. Next time you’re photographing a waterfall, try just moving the camera around, get high, get low, pay attention to what you see through the viewfinder, and take as many different photographs as you have time for.

Importance of light in waterfall photography

Due to the nature of waterfalls often being off the beaten path, and being dangerous to get to, it can be difficult to photograph at sunrise or sunset if you’re not a seasoned hiker. Therefore, as a second best option, I’d highly recommend planning your waterfall adventures for cloudy day. At the very least this will reduce the occurrence of hot spots on the water, and at best it will give you a few extra stops of shutter speed to work with if you need it.

Don’t forget about water flow

When it comes to creating the silky smooth waterfall effect, the amount of water actually flowing through the waterfall plays an important role in the end result. A powerful current has more movement to it than a small stream, and as a result this high flow waterfall may not require an exposure as long to achieve the desired result.

In most cases it’s probably better to photograph smaller waterfalls with a light flow of water when you’re looking to create the silky smooth waterfall effect. Often, high flow waterfalls, will simply overpower the look that you’re trying to achieve, and as a result are often better photographed at a faster shutter speed in order to freeze the motion.

We also have a video tutorial for you, by professional landscape photographer Sarah Howard. She’ll show you her best tricks on how to create beautiful waterfall images.


Read John Davenport’s full article over at Digital Photography School.

Source: Digital Photography School

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