Photography on Water

I love photography on water, whether it is waterfalls, streams, rivers, cannel or sea beaches.
Making great photos is easy if you know how to make them.
To help you get the most out of your water photography, here are some of my tips and ideas for making great water photos.

Photography on Waterfalls

Exposure: 1/4 sec f/18 ISO 50, Location: Jiuzhaigou Natural Reserve, China.

We see many beautiful waterfalls images at and we think about how to capture them. In this article, I will describe how to take easily beautiful waterfalls images.


Before to go a waterfalls place you need some preparation.

Except for the camera Lens, you need Tripod, ND Filter, Tissue paper, shutter release, raincoat for the camera.

Camera setting

 Shutter speed:

Normally we see waterfalls images look silky smooth.

It can possible to use slow shutter speed. So you need to set our camera slow shutter speed of several seconds or longer. Slow shutter speeds create the ghosting effect, making the subject appear smooth and blurry, which is exactly what you want.

ISO Setting

Set the camera ISO smallest number. It also increases image quality.

See your camera ISO 200, 100 or 50 (some cameras have costume settings for 50 ISO)

Aperture setting

Set your camera aperture lowering or high f/ number. Lowering aperture decreases light to pass through the lens. You can set f/11, f/16 or f/22

Use ND (Neutral Density) filter

Already you have set the lowest ISO, set aperture largest aperture (to pass minimum light) and largest f/number. This combination helping you to set a second or more second exposer. If still, you cannot get a second or more second exposer. So in this situation, you can use ND Filter it will help you to go one second or more second exposer. Normally you can use ND4 or ND8.

Use Tripod

We using an extremely slow shutter so it is not possible to handhold a camera to avoid camera shaking. If you have no tripod you can put your camera on stone or any hard things, which is not shaking. But for better composition and better results, you must use a tripod.

Raincoat & Tissue

Normally big and high waterfalls are making draggling in this surrounding area so you need a camera raincoat to save your camera & lens. In exposer time must check your front lens or Filter for water drops, so wipe it with a tissue before every single expose.

Most people like sunset and sunrise photography. Sunrise and sunset light are very important to capture good photos.
The colorful light at these times brings seabeach scenes to life. Try to shoot towards the most colorful part of the sky to maximize the reflected light in the water.

Use Tripod, set slow shutter speed for water motion, Minimum ISO, aperture f11 or f16

A beautiful sunset is reflected waters,  Location: Cox’s Bazar World Longest seabeach,  Bangladesh. Camera: Canon 1DsII, Lens: Canon 16-35mm  f/2.8 lens, Exposer: ISO 50,  f/11, 1/6 second.

Shooting on High Tide and Low Tide:

When you are working in the coastal area always check tide times. Coastal or seabeach scenes changing dramatically with the tides. Sometimes best scenery can capture on low tide, others high tide, and even somewhere in between, it depends on locations. Tide information is easy you can get online, giving you instant tide information at your fingertips

Water Motion,  Location: Saint Martin’s Island,  Bangladesh. Camera: Canon 1DsII, Lens: Canon 16-35mm  f/2.8 lens, Exposer: ISO 100,  f/11, 1/8 second.

Photography on splashing water:

Use fast shutter speeds when photography on splashing water or large waves crashing against the shore, or when a person or animal is moving fast through the water. That way, you can dramatically freeze the water drops as they fly through the air. Try to use shutter speed 1/1000 or 1/2000 to capture those fast moments

Water Splashing Boy, Location: Semporna Island, Malaysia. Camera: Canon 1DX, Lens: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, Exposure: ISO 160, f/6.3, 1/1600 second.

Catch the wave:

In the sea beach waves make excellent foreground elements for photography on water. Long exposures create streaking lines, adding visual interest and energy to your compositions. Try to an electronic shutter release to trigger the shot precisely when wave action is at its best. Outgoing waves can be particularly effective for coastal photos, especially when water rushes around objects emerging from the surf.

Motion Waves,  Location: Saint Martin’s Island,  Bangladesh. Camera: Canon 1DsII, Lens: Canon 16-35mm  f/2.8 lens, Exposure: ISO 50,  f/22, 1/10 second.

Protection of your equipment:

Carefully handle or use your equipment around water. If necessary, store cameras and lenses in a dry bag or waterproof container, only take out them when you are ready to shoot. Pay extra attention to tripod placement when setting up in moving water. You have to be careful that the current or waves aren’t strong enough to sweep your tripod away or send vibrations up your tripod legs to your camera, which can lead blurry photos, especially during slow shutter speed using or long tile expose.