Shooting Long Exposure Photography of a waterfall

How to Take Long Exposure Photos of Waterfalls And Water

How to Shoot Long Exposure Water Photos

Long Exposure Photography might have an impact on the viewers similar to magic, but trust me, it is not. Cascading water is exciting to watch and photograph. Raging rivers also make beautiful photographs. Surging white water rapids, briny mist, and cascading spray are all the elements you need for a great picture.

Here are 8 tips to consider when photographing water in motion:

1 – Use a shutter speed of 1/15 of a second or slower. A slow shutter speed renders moving water as a silky white blur. Using an ND filter can help slow down the shutter speed.

2 – Use a low ISO setting. A low ISO setting gives you a relatively small aperture, which ensures a large depth of field.

Tutorial: How to Shoot Long Exposure Water Photos.
Use a Tripod to keep the Camera Stabilized

3 – Use a tripod. When you use a slow shutter speed, stabilize the camera to get a sharp picture. Having a solid travel tripod is a must.

4 – Use a neutral density filter in bright light. In bright light, you won’t be able to use a slow shutter speed and get a properly exposed image. A neutral density filter cuts down on the amount of light reaching the sensor, which means you can get a properly exposed image using a slow shutter speed.If you use neutral density filters on a regular basis, consider purchasing a variable neutral density filter. This is actually two filters in one. You rotate the outer ring to dial in the strength of the filter.

5 – Use a fast shutter speed when you want to freeze the motion of a raging river. You can also use a fast shutter speed when you want to show the details of a waterfall. You may have to increase the ISO setting when using a fast shutter speed to achieve a large depth of field, which requires a small aperture. Don’t increase the ISO too high or you’ll end up with a noisy image; use a tripod instead.

How to Shoot Long Exposure Water Photos
ISO 100 | F-22 | 0.6 sec
 Long Exposure Water Photos
ISO 100 | F-16 | 0.5 sec

When you compose the image, position the horizon line in the lower third of the image. It’s also a good idea to place the waterfall to one side of the image.

6 – Rotate the camera 90 degrees when photographing a waterfall. This is known as portrait format. Rotate the camera 90 degrees any time you photograph a subject that is taller than it is wide. The only exception to this rule would be a waterfall like Niagara Falls that is actually wider than it is tall. I always have an L-bracket on my camera so I can quickly switch from landscape to portrait.

Shooting Long Exposure Photography of a waterfall
Camera Settings: ISO 100 | F-20 | 0.6 sec | WB 5600K

7 – Take a picture downstream from a waterfall. You’ll often find wonderful details when you venture a couple of hundred feet downriver from a waterfall, such as this image that was photographed a few hundred feet down a waterfall in Shenandoah National Park.

Camera Gear I use for These:

Wrapping Up

This will be added to my travel photography tutorial series. These long exposure photos make a huge impact on your travel photos or videos. Pair this with an Iphone Hyperlapse and you’ve got a banger of a travel video!

dis·patch | (/dəˈspaCH/) | verb
to send off to a destination or for a purpose.

I started this site as a platform to share my adventures, passions, tips, fails, and everything in between. A safe place and space to shed some inspiration, information and education.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Now more than ever, people are heading out into the wilderness and nature in search of freedom, recreation, peace, normalcy. We have an opportunity to promote a positive influence through sharing each of our own experiences to help control our social,  environmental and commercial impact.

I would love to hear your voice & share it on here: Reach Out!




I am a professional photographer & visual content creator for the outdoor industry. I started this site to serve as an outlet to share some of my adventures on and off the grid. I believe the best way to LEARN is to LISTEN, and in turn, SHARE.


Founder, Nick Tortajada

My Cart Close (×)

Your cart is empty
Browse Shop
error: Content is protected !!
Tutorial: How to Take Long Exposure Photos of Waterfalls And Water
5 Awesome Memorial Day Sales for Outdoor Gear Going on Now 8 Helpful Tips for First-Time Backpackers 5 Super Helpful Things To Help Plan For Your Next Backpack The 6 Best Hikes in Sedona You Need to Do This Summer