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Top 7 Tips for Shooting Waterfalls, Creeks, and Streams

Tips for Shooting Waterfalls

There are certain scenes that will always leave your audience short of breath. Some of such scenes include waterfalls, creeks, and streams. If you know how to shoot these screens, you will always leave your audience very impressed.

Apart from getting breath-taking scenes that will impress your audience, other highlights of shooting waterfalls and streams include water drop splashes, bubbling rushing sounds, and even the chirping animals and birds. These types of scenes leave you with so much nature in one image.

Photographing waterfalls, creeks, and streams often come with their own challenges. The difference between an amateur and professional photographer is the ability to capture these scenes in a way that will certainly leave your audience very impressed. Moreover, most photographers find these scenes irresistible.

In this article, you will learn of some hidden secrets professional photographers use in shooting waterfalls, creeks, and streams to stand out.

Tips for Shooting Waterfalls ‫

Top 7 Tips for Shooting Waterfalls, Creeks, and Streams

1. Make Use of a Polarizer

This is one of the most important tips you must remember at all times. You need a polarizer if you want to avoid glare and bring out the most important detail in the water colors. Moreover, using a polarizer will help you show everything that is underneath the water.

To use the polarizer, ensure you adjust when it is on your lens and then see how it looks through the Live View or viewfinder. The goal here should be to avoid the glare as much as possible.

2. Don't Be Afraid to Get Your Feet Wet

If you want to get the best image of river or creek that you are photographing, you should never be afraid of getting your feet wet. It is one of the challenges of the job but the result is always very rewarding. You will often get the best compositional leading lines and action within the river.

Remember to get good footwear and apply extra caution especially when you are setting up shoots from slippery rocks and deep water.

3. Shoot When it's Wet

If you want to get the best from the weather, you definitely need to shoot when it is all wet. This weather condition will give you nicely saturated shadows. Moreover, wet leaves and rocks give you a rich and vibrant-looking scene.

If you want a softer light with lower contrast, you will achieve it during rainy or overcast days. The implication of this is that you don't need to bracket to capture a dynamic range. When you are about photographing the waterfall, just have one thing in mind, "the wetter the better". You may need to monitor the weather for days before you can get this kind of weather condition. Just be careful, the ground can be extremely slippery.

4. Avoid the Sky Completely

Most photographers find it difficult to avoid that ugly white triangle when they are starting out. If you want to create a more intense scene when you are photographing waterfalls, creeks, and streams, ensure that you completely avoid this sky. This will help you to avoid that ugly-looking triangle and dedicate your entire image frame to what matters the most.

5. Clean your Lenses Regularly

One of the challenges of shooting in wet weather condition is that your lens will always get misty especially when you are in the water. To ensure that you don't get images that you will end up regretting, endeavor to regularly check the lenses. If you there are a lot of sprays on the lenses, use a baggy or graduated filter to compose your shot first.

6. Use the Right Shutter Speed

When it comes to the shutter speed to use when shooting waterfalls, creeks, and rivers, there are no strict rules. It will depend on a number of factors. Most photographers like long exposures in order to get a smooth, cotton candy type of look from the water.

The shutter speed you will use will depend on the type, size, and flow of the water. Additionally, it will depend on the kind of light that you are working with and your camera settings as well. In some situations, such as the mid-morning light situation, you may need to use a relatively fast shutter speed or risk getting an overexposed look.

Note that you will need to study the situation first and make a decision whether to use a slow or fast shutter speed.

Tips for Shooting Waterfalls

7. Use a Tripod and Remote Control

Obviously, you need a tripod and remote control if you don't want to risk blurry images. Surprisingly, many amateur photographers usually forget to go along with their tripod. If you forget to carry a tripod, you can improvise by setting your camera on a flat surface such as a rock or your backpack.


Shooting waterfalls, creek, and streams is an experience every landscape photographer wants to get at some point. The trick to having a successful shoot is preparing well, get into the right wears and go along with the right equipment. You will also need some powerful editing tools to make your image better during processing when you are back from the field.

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