Take beautiful waterfall photos in 8 easy steps
- Shoot on a cloudy day or around sunrise/sunset
- Steady your camera on a rock, wall, beanie bag or tripod
- Switch OFF any vibration reduction function on your lens while it is on a tripod
- Use Aperture Priority at f/16
- Set ISO to 100
- Focus on a rock in the waterfall or next to it. (If you cannot move the focal point, set the AF-area mode to Single Point Focus)
- Use a polarizer if you have one. Find a highly reflecting wet area and turn the polarizer to reduce the glare
- Set the self timer to 2 sec or use a remote and take the shot
Tip: Always check the sharpness of the picture by zooming in on the LCD before walking away!
Wait! That's still not what I wanted!
Don't worry, help is at hand!
Try the first step and if needed add the next one
But, the water does not really look silky! You will need to reach a longer shutter speed. Do this:
1. Find the exposure compensation button and set it to +1. Still not good? Try +2.
2. Use an even higher number for the aperture, such as f/22
Now the water is silky but the rest of the photo is really bright!
1. Count on nature's help and wait for the sun to set further.
2. Sometimes you cannot get closer without additional help. Use post-processing software.
- Don't trust your eyes! Switch on the highlight warning on the LCD and bring the exposure compensation down again so that you have very few areas that are too bright.
- Use post-processing software to darken the whole picture after the fact.
- If there are too many areas with blown out highlights, you need to use a neutral density filter for this shot. More on using those will come soon
My picture is not sharp! Either the camera moved or the subject moved.
If the camera moved, you need to steady it more:
1. Stuff you tripod feet deeper into the ground. If that's not possible, hang your bag filled with some rocks on the tripod. Fix it under the camera with a string and make sure the bag is on the floor so it doesn't swing around.
2. Lower the tripod to make it more stable.
3. Didn't use a tripod? Get creative! Put the camera on a bag of sand or put some polstered rocks on both sides of the camera.
If it's windy your subject moved, so you will need a shorter shutter speed:
1. Find the exposure compensation button and set it to -1. Still not good? Try -2.
2. Use a smaller number for the aperture, such as f/8
3. Increase ISO to 200, then to 400
Now my picture is sharp but the water is not silky any more!
This only happens if it is really windy outside. You would need a shorter shutter speed for the leaves of the trees to be sharp and a longer one for the water to be silky.
The only thing you can do is take those 2 photos and combine them in post processing.
If that's not your thing, walk away with the sharp photo and come back when there is no wind.