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A Lesson in Photographing Waterfalls

By Chris Corradino on March 10, 2015


The New York Institute of Photography is the world’s largest online photography school, and because we are, we often publish fun and useful photography tips. Please enjoy!

Long exposures give photographers the ability to create an alternate reality. This is perhaps most prominent in waterfall photography. That beautiful appearance of silky water is typically captured with a slow shutter speed. This can be anywhere between one second, and 1/60th of a second. The exact settings ultimately depend on the volume of water. To further emphasize the height and power of the falls, the photographer has opted for a vertical composition. He also includes a person to introduce a sense of scale.

While it may seem counterintuitive, overcast days are actually ideal for photographing waterfalls. The clouds work as a natural soft box, providing soft, even light. This is far more pleasing than a high contrast scene that's dappled with sun and shade. Check the radar to plan your shoot on a cloudy day. If that’s not possible, head out early in the day when the sun is still low in the sky.

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About the Author

Chris Corradino is the head of the photography mentor program at NYIP. Just like all of our mentors, he is also a professional photographer. See Chris's photography lesson from last week for more.