how to photograph waterfalls

Waterfall Photography Secrets and Techniques

Waterfall photography is one of the most stunning variations of photos we can create. Learning how to take pictures o waterfalls not only inspires us to become great panoramic professional photographers but in addition helps us to strive to become better photographers in a general sense. There is one trouble with taking photos of waterfalls that many photo enthusiasts battle with. That is the daylight. Sometimes waterfalls can be too dark or overexposed. It seems to be a challenge to get the true exposure.
In this waterfall photography tutorial I will be discussing the foremost problems with exposure. Exposure is a term to explain how much total lighting there is. This means that the brightness of your waterfall must be just right; not too bright and not too dark. This can be tough when you are photographing your waterfall on a bright day.

You can see one of my past photos of a waterfall. This was photographed on the automatic mode ten years ago when I knew very little about photography. Thankfully times have changed and I know what to do now!

waterfall photography tutorial

Mastering waterfall photography depends on light and composition. Photo copyright by Amy Renfrey.

The trouble with this image is that the digital camera exposed for light off the shadow areas of the photo and missed the top section. As a result the crest of the waterfall is not detected because it’s overexposed.

Years later when I invested in Lightroom I made the decision that I’d become familiar with it by attempting to fix some of my previous pictures, such as this waterfall photo here.

Here is the result.

how to photograph waterfalls,

I was not able to improve it, as much as I tried. Why? Because the photo was not taken properly to begin with. I tried to fix the highlights and reduce the brightness at the top to even out the light but it still does not work. I had to forget about this one unfortunately.

When waterfalls are taken on a bright day in the automatic setting we get one of two things. The waterfall is flawlessly exposed and all the surrounding elements, like your mountain range and cliff face is underexposed. (Too dark.) We might also be challenged by the surrounding things being just right and our waterfall being overexposed (too bright.) How do we get the waterfall and the surrounds both looking perfectly exposed?

I  suggest using gentle light. A soft grey light will not only put emphasis on your green leaves and trees surrounding the waterfall, but it will not overexpose anything too much. You will still need to meter off the white water however.

You will observe that when capturing your waterfall in subdued light, it’s quicker to get improved exposure. The brighter areas are reduced and the shadows are not as strong. Light is refracted due to the cloud sand hence we get a subdued look in our photos.

Let’s take a look at some examples of what waterfalls look like in filtered light.

waterfall photography tutorial

This waterfall photography tutorial can help you get stunning waterfall photography- not only good lighting but with vibrant colour and sharp focus as well. Photo copyright by Amy Renfrey.

This photo was a 3 shot panorama. Water is tough when you capture panoramas. You have to have your shutter on extremely fast. I’ll talk about that in a different photography tutorial.

Let’s observe this photo a little more attentively. The light is coming from the upper part of the photo and we see shadowed areas in the rock face below. To be able to shoot this waterfall photo I made certain that I had the correct exposure. I metered off the waterfall. You see your waterfall will be the most luminescent thing in the shot so it is important to tell the camera to meter off that. This works especially well if you are spot metering.

how to photograph waterfalls

How to photograph waterfalls to create stunning shots means getting the right vantage point. Photo copyright by Amy Renfrey.

This photo was taken from a fair distance, at the end of a very high platform, looking across a river. I wished to be able to have a more interesting vantage point but it was not physically achievable, so I made use of what I had.

How to take photos of waterfalls depends on your brightness, where you stand and getting the precise exposure. Once you have all three then you can enjoy going to the next level; editing. Sometimes bringing up the whites and shadowed areas by a fraction will help even out the light even more. You might want to increase the colour vitality, or boost one colour only. Take your time and find the right method that works for you. Soon your waterfalls will be appearing like masterpieces you will want to hang upon your wall.


Enhancing Texture and Better lighting in Your Photography

There is very much to discover in taking photographs. Not only do we require to master our camera but we should recognize how lighting manifests as a photo. We need to comprehend how light works for the reason that we can utilize this wisdom to create spectacular photos. Beautiful images refers to clarity, power, colour and tone.

A most ideal way to turn out to be expert in photography is to start photographing various surfaces of different things. Different textures will include wood, metal, trees and terracotta. These types of materials can really highlight intensity and an interesting light very rapidly and effortlessly. We can discover a lot through shooting these surfaces of different things. Once we get the right light to draw attention to these textures our photos suddenly have intensity and come to life. You can prove these textures a number of ways. I recommend photographing these attractive textures with well-balanced light spread evenly right through your image. If you are unable to get evenly spread lighting then shadows may work to an advantage.

A very good photo that has fascinating textures are dried plants drapped over a timber exterior. You can wait until the sunlight has gone down in the sky to get some shadow areas underneath the plants. You may discover that your shadow areas becomes part your placement of subjects within the photo. What this will mean is that shadows can work to your advantage.

A pastoral look and feel is a wonderful place to start. Photographing aged wooden fence posts with nails and wires can certainly bring wood as a texture to life. You see what we want is make the wood and the nails look so they look authentic. In other words make it stand out by increasing the depth of the photo. We would like the viewer to think like they can reach out and touch the texture.

In order to create this realism in your picture making you need to construct a little list of things to shoot. The fence line and nails are a terrific starting point. You may also like to photograph contrast in textures such as metal and wood. A metallic band wrapped over a wooden fence post can make for a good picture. A distinction in different textures such as this can be shot in an antique tone and monochrome for extra effect. They can also be shot in a variety of other tones that you can make up yourself in Photoshop or Lightroom.

What is a tone? A tone relates to light and colour. Saturdated colour, deep tones mean that your image may have a lot of black and grey, deep yellow and deep orange to it. Light tones may mean that your shot has lots of shades of pale shades. In rural photography, where we want to shoot breathtaking textures, we often find that saturated tones are a factor.

Deep tones can accentuate the shadow. In order for your shots to look like they have real live texture then we should draw attention to the intensity and light range within your image. You may choose a deep or shady tone to give that nail more rust or that metallic band around the wood more brightness.

When we use more contrast in our pastoral photography we get a better looking surface. This is since the a distinction in the light brings up the detail of the surface of the textured subject. The lighting works to bring out the finer details in the light parts and deepen the shadow in the dark areas.

A key to creating thriving textured surfaces is to keep your composition simple. Genuine textures, such as trees and wood, work best when there is nothing to clutter the shot. Simply shoot the main subject and make sure there are no distracting elements in the backdrop or the forefront. Once you’ve taken this you can work to boost the contrast, perfect the light and intensify the tones. There is nothing more distracting than a messy shot.


Old abandoned cars are an example of how you can create wonderful textures in your photography. When my husband and I were traveling to a country town we stumbled across an old abandoned utility. This vehicle was from either the 1940s or the 1950s. It looked like it had been forgotten about for for years and years. As soon as I saw this car I became very enthusiastic. The second I saw it I knew I wanted a monochrome.

I knew that the steel, oxidation and discolored paint would look absolutely fantastic in antique. Once I took a string of photos of the old vehicle I then opened the photo in Lightroom. I boosted the white and highlights, amplified the blacks, and played around with the tone curve. What does this signify? It simply means that I manipulated the tone of the photograph to highlight the fascinating points of the car. I wanted to increase the illuiminent steel against a gentle, natural backdrop. Once you amend the light all of a sudden your different textures come to life.

Depending on how you want your textures to appear, you can use brilliant or filtered light. Soft luminosity is always best because it supplies us more choices in the long run. Bright light can produce highlights and shadows that put emphasis on contrast. This can actually work to your advantage.

Filtered light can work very well for surfaces of different things because it accentuates the detail. it can give your texture a more three dimensional look. If you are photographing an old fence post then the lack of bright will bring out the detail of the wood. You will get to see the designs, outline and shapes of your texture a lot more in gentle light. In harsh bright sunlight you may miss these fine points completely.


If you want to capture gorgeous different textures and not be troubled about the tiny features, then a country scene with excellent differences between light and dark may work beautifully. A fence line sitting in overgrown grass can be a wonderful textured image to begin with. Once you angle the camera so that the fence line is running into the distance you not only have superb textures but you have great composition.

There are a lot more things you can do to draw attention to your textures. There is a cell phone application identified as Instagram. It has recently hooked up with Lightroom. This is a marvellous thing! Instagram is an app that generates antique, sepia, black-and-white and the whole other number of tones for your pictures.

Instagram gives you the option of antique tones. In other words if you apply an antique tone over your image it looks like it was captured in 1977. Once Instagram meets Lightroom, you have the alternative of generating a special look and feel over your textured photographs.

Instagram also supplies you the selection of different borders. You can have a stark deep black border to emphasize the deep hues and tones in a photo of dried golden leaves. Or, you can have a soft white border to match the muted tones of a photo of a car park. Or you may have no border whatsoever.

Remember that producing different textures is easy. Once you have photographed it then the fun begins. Make sure that you choose contrasting subjects like dead plants or shiny metal. Take photos of them at the same time. Then try improving the contrast and lighting of the image once you open it up in your prefered editing software program.

I recommend that you let originality and wonder be your guides. Open up your photograph in your favourite editing program and try a variety of different things. Boost the contrast, diminish the yellow, reduce the blue, alter the white balance etc. These are just examples of things that I tried when I was learning how to perfect my different textures in my photos. I got to a point where I understood what I loved and created many different alternatives for myself.

These various options I created gave my pictures a look and feel that I loved. Some were heavily saturated in deep yellows and warm tones. Some were a slight sepia, and some were a very high contrast in the monochrome medium. These lights, colours and looks, applied over rustic things, made my textures look amazing. Rusty fences took on a strong presence. Metallic bands wound securely over wooden fence posts seemed interesting and old. Hanging metal bells looked classic and timeless.

Just think about texture and daylight first. Then your editing comes afterward. Think about the light and how it interacts with your background to highlight physical surfaces. Think about in what way lighting acts and makes things seem different at different times of the day. Photograph various natural and man-made physical surfaces jointly. This will let you to explore contrast within your textures. The examination of light will enable you to photograph out the depth and the detail within the photograph. Then apply some simple editing. This will enable you to alter the tone. Changing the tone gives you the opportunity to generate some extraordinarily imaginative photographs.

This is an experiment in creative  pursuit. This is not about winning awards or being better than anyone else. This is about how this makes you feel. You can impress people later but to begin with learn to examine your light on how it works with the textures in your environment. Once you’ve shot this you can create extraordinary textured photographs. Have fun and happy shooting!


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