An Effective Technique for Waterfall Photography

Waterfalls are some of the most popular landscape photography subjects, offering the ability to add a sense of motion to otherwise still scenes and to leverage natural leading lines to bring your viewers' eyes through the scene. If you are new to the genre and looking to improve, check out this fantastic video tutorial that will show you some helpful tips and techniques for improving your waterfall photography. 

Coming to you from Michael Shainblum, this awesome video tutorial will you some helpful advice for waterfall photography. The beautiful thing about waterfalls is that you do not actually need a large one to create a sense of grandiosity. Just remember your rules of perspective. Using a wide angle to exaggerate perspective and getting up close can recreate that feeling of immense and dynamic motion. Living in Ohio, I do not have access to epic waterfalls, but I have still been able to create compelling images even with those that are only a few feet tall. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Shainblum. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi," which is currently on sale along with the rest of the Fstoppers store! 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments


In terms of shutter speed, the eye "sees" at about 1/15th of a second.

Much faster than that, things look too static, and don't convey a sense of movement. Much slower than that, and things look unnaturally silky and smooth.

This is evidenced by video frame rates. Early movies were 12 frames per second, and looked "choppy." Television established the 30 fps (interlaced) rate as being fast enough to be perceived as continuous motion.

So, you can choose what "look" you're going for… which may not always be the "silky smooth" look.

If you want it to look like you saw it, then around 1/15th of a second would be about right.

Yes, after long trials between shorter and longer exposures I agree with your sweet spot of exposure time.

This time gives imho the best dynamic when shooting waterfalls, rivers with eddies, waves at sea, and mostly you don't even need a tripod with stabilised lenses/sensors.

Of course, sometimes you want that artistic touch, go for longer times, sometimes catching droplets in flight requires shorter times. I rarely do that.

These were some of the best waterfall pictures I have seen in a long time. Interesting compositions where the length of the exposure was not so important.