Digital Camera's top 5 water photography tips

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Image: Doug Richardson

Water, water everywhere, make your shutter blink, water, water everywhere, show us what you think (sorry Coleridge). In this round of POTY and Young POTY we want you to embrace H2O! Whether you’re photographing a cool splash art, misty waterfalls, milky seas or you have something meaningful to say about this life-giving substance.

Here are five pictures from the Water category of Digital Camera magazine's 2019 Young Photographer of the Year and Photographer of the Year competitions so far, with some vital tips. 

You have until midnight 7th February 2019 to get your entries in for this category. Make sure you enter your shots now to be in with a chance of winning some amazing prizes!

1. Reflections 

(Image: © António Bernardino Coelho)

Still and calm water creates an excellent opportunity to capture tranquil and unique images. When it comes to composing your scene think about how the reflection will sit in the frame. It could be that a 50/50 spilt may work better than the rule of thirds so have an experiment. If shooting during the day use a polariser to reduce any glare and to boost the rich blue of the water and sky.   

2. Go silky smooth  

(Image: © gordondryden)

By slowing down your shutter speed flowing water transforms into a silky smooth liquid and can greatly enhance your landscape scene. To ensure you use a slow enough shutter speed attach an ND filter to your lens. Also remember to secure your tripod in place to avoid any movements.  

 3. Freeze the action  

(Image: © Borut Pihlar)

If silky smooth water doesn't take your fancy then go the other end of the scales and freeze the water in action. The classic water drip is a great place to start. Use flash to ensure the drip jumps from the page!   

 4. Frozen water 

(Image: © Wayne Kliewer)

As water freezes it becomes ice and this glistening substance is also fantastic to photograph. So whether you go to the freezing shorelines of Iceland or simply capture homemade ice blocks from your freezer, just be sure to take a creative angle to make your image stand out.     

 5. Underneath the water  

(Image: © Janine lee)

Although it's far easier to photograph above the water surface you can get fantastic results if you take the plunge! Janine lee captured these beautiful Gannets of Noss Head in Shetland diving for fish. Of course you're going to need a good water proof camera case (probably a warm wetsuit too in cold water!) and  additional lighting will help as the light dramatically reduces as soon as you go underneath the surface.     

Enter the competition here

About the prizes

Digital Camera Photographer of the Year is back for 2019, with an amazing prize fund worth £30,000 up for grabs! This year the awards are free to enter, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, mpb.com and Affinity Photo.

The expert judge's chosen winner of the Urban Landscape contest will receive a Rohan jacket worth £249. The winner of the crowd vote will receive a year-long subscription to Digital Camera magazine.

The winners will be featured in Digital Camera magazine and on Digital Camera World, as well as sister magazines including N-Photo and PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and they will receive additional exposure through Digital Camera’s social media. There will be an exhibition at The Photography Show in March 2019, and winners will be invited to attend a special gala reception.

The overall winner of Digital Camera Photographer of the Year 2019 will win an MPB voucher worth £2,500 GBP, a £2,000 Rohan shopping experience, a Sony A7 III + 28-70mm lens, a Rotolight NEO 2 kit and a CEWE print.  

The expert judge's chosen winner of the Urban Landscape  - 25 & Under contest will win £100 cash and Affinity Photo + Affinity Photo Workbook. The winner of the crowd vote will receive Affinity Photo and a year-long subscription to Digital Camera magazine. The top ten of the crowd vote will each receive Affinity Photo.

The overall winner of Young Digital Camera Photographer of the Year 2019 will win £3,000 cash, Affinity Photo, an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, a Sony RX10 IV, a Rotolight NEO 2 kit and a CEWE print. 

Find out more about the competition here