Waterfall Tips and Tricks

I never used to have much respect for photographing waterfalls.  It just felt too cliche for me.  But my time with our local photography group instilled in me a love for these cascading waters.

Oregon has so many to offer, it’s hard to get bored.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

These are what I do to make a successful waterfall shot:

  1. I use a tripod – this is essential for long exposures (see #4).
  2. I use an ND filter – this is essential for allowing for long enough shutter speeds in bright daylight.
  3. I use a polarizer filter – this is essential for cutting out water glare and bringing out richness in the colors of the sky and leaves (I don’t always use both an ND and a polarizer; depends on how much light is present).
  4. I shoot long exposures – at least 1 second is a good rule of thumb.  Much longer than that could obscure too many details, and shorter doesn’t quite get enough water blur.
  5. I try to get low to the water for a more unique perspective.
  6. I manually focus on an interesting point in the foreground – this could be a rock, tree, or leaf.
  7. I use a remote trigger or 2-second shutter delay to avoid camera shake.
  8. I try to frame the shot as interestingly as possible.

This is why I use a polarizer.  These images have not been edited; the only difference is the presence of a polarizer in the second image.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

I have a new appreciation for waterfalls.  Good thing there are so many around me upon which to practice!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Questions?  Leave them below; I’d love to hear from you!