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Waterfall Photography In Eight Easy Steps

Monday, June 15th, 2015 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography

It’s 5:00AM and my obnoxious alarm shatters the silence, bringing an abrupt end to my slumber and jarring me out of bed. As my synapses slowly start to fire, I notice the pitter-patter of raindrops as they dance upon the top of my camper.

A grin starts to draw across my face, but not because I think I’m going back to bed. See, I’m out for waterfalls and conditions are about as ideal as they can get.

Let’s face it – if you’re a landscape photographer, waterfalls tend to be on the menu. After all, they can be found in just about any region, with even the driest places occasionally receiving a transitory flow now and then. However, getting a wall hanger isn’t as simple as it seems.


The biggest challenge with waterfalls is that, when you’re standing face to face with them, they seem deceptively easy to photograph. It’s only upon returning home and facing some disappointing files on your computer do you realize maybe transforming that liquid beauty into a unique photo was tougher than you thought.

The truth is capturing a stunner takes an intelligent mix of planning, effort, and persistence. Let’s examine eight essential tips for capturing better waterfall photos.

#1. Go For Great Conditions

The only path to incredible waterfall photos is to shoot when the conditions are right. Sounds relatively simple, but so many people miss the photographic boat on this one.

First, consider water flow. Good water flow is absolutely critical to putting a winning shot on your memory card. Anemic amounts of water will always equal a disappointing photo, and a gushing overflow will destroy the elegance of the chute. Do the Goldilocks thing and hit the falls when the water flow looks “just right”.


Of course, half of what makes a great waterfall photo is the setting around the falls. Always shoot when the supporting cast of trees, rocks, and vegetation are at their best.
 This post is way too long to fit in a newsletter, so I’ve got a a bunch more tips on photographing waterfalls  and a fantastic video over at my photography site Backcounty Gallery. Click here to see some more amazing photographs and learn how you can take great waterfall shots, too.
While you’re there, check out more of my work and a lot of great photography tips. You can also pick up a copy of my guide to Wildlife Photography.
~ Steve

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One Response to “Waterfall Photography In Eight Easy Steps”

  1. Trish says:

    Your waterfall photos are great, but I don’t want the flow. I want to see actual droplets or water texture. Any suggestions for me? Thanks, Trish

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