5 Tips to Improve Your Waterfall Photography

It’s difficult to imagine landscape photography without waterfalls. Every professional landscape photographer has a number of high quality waterfall images in their portfolio. And honestly, if you’re new to photography these images often seem unachievable. The water is so smooth and the colors are so vibrant, among other things. I can’t take you through an entire waterfall workshop in a blog post, but I can give you these five tips that will dramatically improve your waterfall photography.

1. Slow down with a Tripod

To achieve this sense of movement in the waterfall you need to slow your shutter speed down. That means putting the camera in manual and adjusting the settings yourself (head over and check out some of my other posts if you need help with this). For me, it’s about creating movement and texture in the water. It’s not just about making the water as smooth and milky as I possibly can. For this reason, the shutter speed I use will change depending on the waterfall, but I often find myself with a shutter speed around 1/4th to 1/10th of a second.

Waterfall cascading over mossy rocks in early morning light.
Waterfall cascading over mossy rocks in early morning light.
I captured this waterfall in western North Carolina with a shutter speed of 1/4th of a second.

I think the slower shutter speed has done a lot for the above image. It has allowed the movement in the water to create a dreamy, almost magical atmosphere, that I most definitely felt and wanted to capture standing at the base of the waterfall. Probably the most crucial element in being able to capture this image at a slow shutter speed is a good quality tripod. A quality tripod allows you to portray the moving water, while maintaining complete sharpness in the rocks and the leaves. The tripod that I have used for several years now, and has always been an absolute rock for me, is the Gitzo Traveller Series Tripod. Can’t recommend it enough, especially for landscape and waterfall photography.

2. Bad Weather is your Friend

3. Bring Extra Shoes and Clothes

Waterfall cascading over rock shelves with fall foliage lining the side of the stream.
Waterfall cascading over rock shelves with fall foliage lining the side of the stream.
Knee deep in icy water.

4. Stop Glaring

5. Enjoy Yourself

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have any questions or want to chat further about any of this please reach out to me, I will get back to you. And if you do take any waterfall pictures please tag me in them on instagram @mattgashley. Thanks for taking the time to read, I genuinely appreciate it. Stay healthy, and I’ll talk to you all next Tuesday!

Fine Art Landscape Photographer in Charlotte, NC mattgashley.com

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