Waterfalls are a favorite subject of many landscape photographers. If you want to perfect your photos of this beautiful nature’s creation, then Mads Peter Iversen has something for you. In this video, he shares nine tips for photographing waterfalls. He covers different topics, from camera settings and shutter speed to practical tips in regard to filters and tripods, so I’m sure you’ll find it useful.
The video follows Mads’ visit to two waterfalls in Lofoten, Norway, so you can see his tips in action. Here’s what Mads advises to all of you who want to shoot waterfalls:
- Determine if you need filters before you find your composition – depending on the weather conditions, time of day and the shutter speed you use, you may need ND filters to cut off some of the light. This is because it’s advised that you use slower shutter speeds when shooting waterfalls, and this takes us to the next tip.
- Use a shutter speed between 1/4s and 1s – Mads prefers setting his shutter speed to somewhere between these values. Using a slower shutter speed makes the water look a bit smoother, and in my opinion, it’s closer to what we see with our eyes when we look at the waterfall. You can take it even further and shoot with shutter speeds of a few seconds, which will result in silky smooth water and give you kinda surreal images if that’s your thing.
- Think about the composition – look at the waterfall and think about how you can use it in your composition. Is it the main subject? Do you put it in the foreground, mid-ground or the background? How can you combine it with other elements in the scene?
- Change your perspective and focal length – experiment with your perspective and focal length so you change the relative size of the elements in your scene.
- Rain and melting snow feed waterfalls – the more rain or snow there is, the larger the waterfall will be. So if you want to shoot when there’s more water in the waterfall, choose the time right after the rain or when the snow is melting.
- Take a long exposure photo of the entire waterfall and analyze parts/sections of it – this lets you see what the water looks like in different sections. You can choose those that you like best and then photograph them individually.
- Think holistically about your photo – this leans on the third tip and expands it. When you think your composition through, think about how each of the elements affects the image. Keep in mind that everything you include in your scene or exclude from it should benefit the entire photo.
- Just go out and shoot – in Mads experience, you can plan all you want, check the forecast and take everything into account. However, you can never know. A cloudy day can quickly turn into a sunny one, but the other way around is also a possibility. And because of all this, just go out and shoot!
- At small waterfalls you have to get low – even though there is no a lot of water at small waterfalls, you can get a beautiful and dramatic shot. You just need to get low and close to the waterfall.
Do you enjoy shooting waterfalls? With Mads’ tips, I believe that you’ll learn some new tricks and make even better photos. And if you have any tips and tricks to share, feel free to drop them in the comments.