Who would not be amazed to see the breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls? Each waterfall tells a story of its own, and no two are alike. But seeing and praising the beautiful creation of nature, and capturing that scenery in photographs are completely different. Waterfall photography requires skills, knowledge, and expertise. You will find some useful tips in this article that will make your work easier.
Here are the top 5 tips for waterfall photography:-
1.Choose the correct focus point
You need to find out the most interesting part of the subject, which is different for different waterfalls. Don't depend on your camera's default selection of focus point, rather select it yourself, switching to the manual focus option. Surprisingly, the best shot doesn't always come from focusing on the waterfall itself. Maybe there is something much more interesting in the surroundings, and you would like to focus on it, keeping the waterfall in the background. So, instead of using the autofocus mode, use your own brain, and shoot creative pictures.
2.Know the right shutter speed
Shutter speed depends on how you want your photo to look. To get the classic look of waterfalls, you have to use a slower shutter speed. It will show its flowy movement it. On the other hand, a faster shutter speed will show the power of the waterfalls, freezing the water that moves in that fraction of a second. Shutter speed settings will also depend on the size of the waterfall. For a large and vigorous waterfall, a shutter speed of 0.5 seconds would be ideal. Whereas for small waterfalls with a weak current, you can use a shutter speed of upto 5 seconds.
3.Be careful about the lighting:-
These two are perhaps the most important factor to click a marvelous waterfall photograph. As stated earlier, you should look at the surroundings also, in order to capture the waterfall better. Notice how the water flows through the waterfall too. For the lighting, you can be assured that no matter what time of the day you're shooting, the sunlight will light up some parts of the waterfall and the remaining parts will look darker, in most cases. Only if you shoot on cloudy days, you can get even lighting. You might shoot during the blue hour too, i.e. right before sunrise and right after sunset, to get even lighting.
4.Experiment with the aperture
The aperture of the lens controls how much light would enter. If the aperture is higher,i.e. the f-stop number is low, it will let more light enter, and give you a shallow depth of field. It means only a smaller portion of your subject will be in your focus. On the other hand, a low aperture will produce images with a deep depth of field. The former creates a dreamy effect, whereas the latter image would be sharp and clear. Generally, if the aperture is set between f/8 and f/11, it produces a balanced landscape photograph, waterfall photography is a part of which. But if you have a particular creative style to add to your photo, you can change the aperture accordingly.
If an excess amount of light enters the lens, you cannot use the slower shutter speed required for waterfall photography. To prevent that, place a Neutral density filter in front of the lens. It will be a savior for you while shooting on sunny days with long exposure, to capture the classic look of the fall. You will find ND filters with different 'stops' to control the amount of the restricted light. 3-stop, 6-stop, and 10-stop ND filters are the most commonly used ones. You will also need a polarizing filter to avoid the effects of reflection of sunlight on the water, or shining leaves or stones in the surroundings. If you don't want to stack filters, use only the polarizing one because it will darken the photo itself, so you could go on clicking without an ND filter.
Written by Sanga Basu, Content Writer, WPC.