Being at the beach this week gave me a lot of time to practice taking pictures in the mid-day sun. It also gave me a chance to practice taking pictures of water. Water can be a lot of fun to work with but you have to know what your end goal is going to be. Do you want to freeze water in your frame or catch the motion? Regardless of what you are trying to accomplish, shutter speed plays a key role in both situations.

how to photograph water

How To Photograph Freezing Water

To catch water, you need to use a fast shutter speed. Start with a shutter of speed of at least 1/5000th of a second or faster. When doing this, you may need to use a larger aperture. This works best when capturing water fountains or even sprinklers. You can also use your camera’s Action Mode to help you get the shot. The Action mode will set a fast shutter speed for you.

how to photograph water

How To Photograph A Waterfall or Water In Action 

To catch the motion of the water, you need to use a slow shutter speed. Using a shutter speed of one second or longer works best. This is perfect for capturing waterfalls, streams and waves. When using such a slow shutter speed, you may need to use a tripod to reduce camera shake. You may want to add a remote shutter trigger as well to keep the camera as still as possible. To achieve a silky water affect, try using a small aperture. Start with f/ 8 and work yourself up until you achieve your desired look.

How To Photograph Reflections

One of my favorite things to photograph is reflections. It gives your viewer something to look at and can make for an interesting picture. When trying to capture a reflection, don’t use a flash or you’ll get a hot spot in the water. Generally mornings and cloudy days are best for capturing reflections. Late afternoon shots work well too. But I’d suggest not trying to capture a reflection during the sun’s peak hours or during the mid-day sun.

how to photograph water

How To Photograph Water Droplets

Photographing water droplets is all about timing. Again, you need to use a pretty fast shutter speed {start with at least 1/5000th of a second}.  Some others things to remember when attempting to catch droplets is that any reflection in the water will be upside down. To go along with this, make sure you keep your background simple. If you aren’t comfortable shooting full manual or you don’t have a dSLR, set your camera to the Portrait setting. This will make sure that your subject is the sharpest thing in your photograph.

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