Long exposure waterfall shot

How to shoot waterfall with smooth silky water

Shooting long exposure photo of a waterfall

Ever wondered how to get that long exposure, dream shot of a waterfall? If that’s a “Yes”, well then you are at the right place, here are some quick tips and tricks to help you all capture that shot with silky and smooth flowing water.

Starting with a brief introduction for beginners, long exposure shots are those shots, where we use slow shutter speed to add a fleecy effect to moving subjects and at the same time, preserving the details and sharpness of stationary subjects.

So, let’s start.

Step 1: Choosing the right location

Try to forecast the weather and choose a time with maximum natural light, also if possible you can pre-visit the location to plan your shoot. It is always better not to go to the crowded tourist spots, bustling with tourists. But rather a quiet and calm location, where you can take your time and experiment different shots.

Step 2: Setting up the gear

If you have ever tried going below the shutter speed of “1/40” in your DSLR, then surely you will understand, how difficult it is to hold the camera steady using your hand and how you end up getting blurry photographs.  So, the best possible way to overcome this issue is to mount your camera to a Tripod. So, Tripod is a must have tool in your photography kit, especially if you want to try low light and long exposure shots.

Step 3: Adjusting your camera

Use Manual mode. Shutter speed should be below “1/5”. Personally, my ideal number is somewhere around “1” sec to “2.5” sec. One can toggle to lower shutter speeds as well to get a more silky effect. The aperture should be somewhere between “f/11″ to f/22”, which is ideal for landscape photography. ISO can be set according to the requirement. Now talking about focus, you can either use, manual focus or auto focus. In the case of autofocus, you will require to half-press the shutter to focus and then lock the focus by shifting the focus switch to manual focus. You can also use back button focus here.

Step 4: Press the trigger!

After following all the above steps, one just needs to decide his frame and trigger the shutter to capture that dream shot. Also, always keep an eye on the exposure meter or the histogram to ensure your photographs are not getting underexposed or overexposed.

Long exposure waterfall shot

The EXIF details of this waterfall picture are given below. I recently shot it during the trip to Western Ghats.


Aperture f/22

ISO  400

Shutter Speed “1.6” sec

Focal Length : 50mm

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