Tips for Photographing Water Every Photographer Should Know

Love the way water turns out in photography? Capture your own stunning photos of water with these great tips for photographing water!

How charming and captivating are photos of bodies of water? A photo that captures the ocean right when the sun is setting or an image of ripples formed by a duck in the lake. Photos like these are calming to just look at, and fun to shoot, too. Water photography doesn't revolve around just pictures of the ocean or lake. It can even be something so small like a puddle or a light stream. What matters is the water becoming the main attraction when viewers are looking at the photos.

You want the water to stand out the most. That's what makes it water photography. From droplets to water fountains, there are so many ways to capture water in any form. While it might sound complex at first as a beginner in photography, photographing water isn't difficult to master. All you need is practice and to follow these tips for photographing water to shoot the best photos of water.

First, get the proper equipment.

When it comes to water photography, you can't simply use a regular camera. You'll either need a camera that's waterproof or get yourself a waterproof case for your camera. This way, your most expensive equipment won't be damaged from the water that can possibly get on your camera. It's better to be safe than sorry!

And how else will you shoot underwater photos? Getting a waterproof case and a waterproof camera bag is a must if you're willing to take the extra mile in water photography. So, as one of the tips for photographing water, gather the proper equipment before getting started.

Pick the right setting for shooting.

It could be the ocean from a stunning beach, a slim stream in a forest, or a simple puddle in your backyard. Whatever the water photography you're aiming for, find the perfect setting to achieve it! So, if you're thinking about capturing a shot of a tiny puddle in your backyard, there are so many ways to put it in the frame.

While you've got the puddle in the frame, you can also grab its surroundings in the shot, too, aspects like rocks, grass, and even trees and flowers in the background. It gives the viewers a feel of the setting when there are other elements around the puddle.

Grab the water's motion.

Grabbing the water's motion is a great one among the tips for photographing water. There are tons and tons of ways to capture water. From splashes to droplets, ripples, and other motions, it looks amazing in shots when water is in motion. It can be difficult at first to make a motion in the water and immediately shoot it, but practice makes perfect!

In order to perfectly freeze the motion in a photo, use a fast shutter speed. A fast shutter speed has the ability to freeze the moment like a crashing wave or a droplet. If you don't use a fast shutter speed, this will cause the water in your photos to look blurry. For all quick water motions, a fast shutter speed is the best setting to use!

Capture the water's surface reflection.

Viewing the water's surface reflection is truly a stunning sight to see. What's great is that we can actually capture those moments on camera! Whether the lake is reflecting the forest behind it, the ocean reflecting the bright blue sky, or a puddle reflecting the grass surrounding it, when water is still, it comes off as true beauty through what it can reflect.

If you're getting started with water photography, you can easily capture gorgeous photos of water surface reflections, and it's not difficult to do. Face a body of water and when the lighting is right, the reflecting will immediately be exposed off of the water's surface. This also gives off a beautiful symmetrical effect, and this is one of the best tips for photographing water.

Shoot larger bodies of water.

Shooting larger bodies of water almost always comes out fantastic. Among the tips for photographing water you should know, taking photos of the ocean, lake, or even a river can appear amazing if you're shooting in the right setting. 

A great example of this is taking a photo of the Hudson River, because it's surrounded by the colorful architecture of New York City, which can also be reflected off of the water. Another way to capture beautiful photos of larger bodies of water is to shoot the ocean. Haven't you ever witnessed the sun setting right behind the ocean and the colors completely stun you? That right there is the perfect shot any aspiring photographer would want.

Try photographing water in streams and rivers.

When it comes to streams and rivers, the shape of them is important if you want to capture the best-looking water photos ever. If the stream is narrow and small, its surroundings play a huge role in any photo, since the stream itself doesn't give much in the frame. This also allows viewers to acknowledge the setting of the stream.

Rivers or streams shaped vertically can make a great photo, but from the tips for photographing water, an S-shaped stream is certainly a better option. They're more captivating and you can usually find a few in a forest surrounded by rocks, leaves, and plant life! Make sure you get in real close for a better view point!

Make sure to use light when shooting photos of water.

Unless you know how to make water photography look amazing with flashes, natural lighting is the better option to use. Among the tips for photographing water, the sun is easily your best source of light when capturing any form of water photography. Depending on the time of the day, where you are, and the weather, you can certainly shoot stunning photos of the light hitting the water just right.

Like the sunset over the ocean, this is the perfect way to include light in your water photography. Right when the sun is midway setting behind the ocean, it gives off this fiery light all across the water. The ripples and waves in the ocean exaggerate the light, and this scene overall makes it the ideal water photo to take.

Use props for your water photography.

You don't have to take photos of just water, throw something in there! Add a few pebbles, put a flower and a couple of pedals, even a little duck can be in your water shot. Give some character and creativity to your water photography! Putting in a few props into the water along with its surroundings gives the photo better imagery and a character to it when people are looking at it. It also looks more natural.

If you're taking photos of a lake and spot a few ducks, get them in the photos! While they may care about the sudden paparazzi, it'll give more emotion and character to your photos. However, the best way to get ducks in your images is by getting close to them. Even though this may be hard to do without scaring them, shooting from a closer perspective can make your photos look more professionally taken.

Edit your water photos with creative filters.

Editing your water photos is definitely one of the best tips for photographing water. Even though your water shots came out phenomenal, editing them and giving them filters will make your photos look breathtaking. Play with the highlights in the water, darken the shadows, brighten the colors in your photos, there are tons of ways to edit your water photography to make them appear more stunning.

If you've captured the greatest photo of a narrow stream surrounded by rocks, grass, a few flowers, and a forest in the background, bring out the colors in nature! Expose a bit more of the highlights in the water as well as the details. However, don't overdo the filtering and editing. Unless you want to filter the hell out of your photos, by all means go right ahead, but if you want your water photos to look natural, do minor tweaking. Your photos will still turn out natural.

Fill the frame with the water.

Lastly, filling the frame with water is one of the must know tips for photographing water. Even though it sounds like a boring photo to take, you can get really creative with this. Instead of taking a photo of a body of water with its surroundings, simply capture the water in the entire frame.

While you put nothing but the water in the frame, you can also capture its surface reflections, too. You can even capture the sky in your photos. Or even better, capture yourself in the reflection! This is definitely a cool way of getting a selfie.

Scarlette Brown
Scarlette Brown

Loves everything about plastic surgery but would never drop a dime on a nose job. Can’t stop buying makeup even though she has the same lipstick shades but in different brands.

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Tips for Photographing Water Every Photographer Should Know