Water photography: make stunning pictures of water in any environment

Water photography: make stunning pictures of water in any environment

From dramatic coasts to serene lakes, our new Shoot Like A Pro series on improving your water photography will help you learn how to take stunning pictures of water from any photo location you might find yourself in. In our first installment we look at freezing water movement and suggest ways to capture the power and detail in crashing waves, setting up your camera for waterfall pictures and other fast-flowing water.

Water photography: make stunning pictures of water in any environment

From crashing waves to crystal-clear reflections, there are loads of ways that water can add impact and interest to your images, whatever you shoot. For example, flowing water can add a lovely sense of movement to your landscape photography.

However, the way you capture water (blurred or detailed) can be a thorny subject. On one side you have the photographers who think that the blurred ‘milky’ water effect achieved by shooting at slow shutter speeds doesn’t look ‘real’, and that you should only use fast shutter speeds to capture the detail in the water.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who swear by using long exposures to blur water in order to achieve a striking creative effect.

In this month’s Shoot Like A Pro series, we’ll show you how to do both, but there’s more to shooting water than shutter speed effects. You’ll also learn how to capture (or remove) reflections, and find watery details to shoot.

So what are you waiting for? Take the plunge, the water’s lovely! But first, let’s have a quick reminder of how to stay safe when shooting pictures of water in potentially dangerous photo locations.

Essential water photography safety tips

Shooting near water requires a few precautions – here’s how to avoid wet kit, a dunking, or something worse


  • Check the tides in advance and make sure that you have a safe route back to shore
  • Watch out for waves, especially when you’re concentrating on setting up your camera
  • Look out for slippery or loose footing, especially when shooting on rocks and riverbanks
  • Keep your camera and other gear covered up as much as possible to prevent damage
  • Take a cloth to wipe any spray off the body of the camera and lens, but don’t use the same cloth for the front of the lens or filters


  • Change lenses out in the open when there’s a lot of water spray or sand blowing around
  • Venture out at low tide without having a plan for getting back before the tide starts to turn
  • Expose your camera to too much water spray, especially when you’re shooting near the sea
  • Forget to wash seawater and sand from your tripod after shooting at the coast

PAGE 1: Water photography tips for freezing movement
PAGE 4: Blur movement like a pro for classic effect
PAGE 6: How to photograph reflections like a pro
PAGE 9: How to remove surface glare from your water photography
PAGE 10: Get creative with the fine details


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