Take stunning photos of waterfalls with only two accessories

Take stunning photos of waterfalls with only two accessories



  1. A neutral density (ND) filter
  2. and a tripod.

ND Filters reduce the amount of light making its way into the camera. With less light entering the camera, you will be able to slow a camera’s shutter speed down to capture a longer exposure, without over-exposing the image. Over exposing a long exposure typically leads to bright undesirable white patches in an image. A slower shutter speed allows anything moving in your frame to become blurred, and in this case, create that smooth water effect. In order to keep your photos sharp, you will want to use a tripod.

Tripods do not need to cost you an arm and a leg. You can get away with a $40 tripod, but higher end tripods will allow you to shoot at different angles, and even upside down.

Now that you have your tools, find yourself a waterfall! If you want to practice at home, you can set your gear up next to a sink with running water to test out these settings.

Set up your camera on the tripod, and find a composition you like. Remember to use your ND filter (circular or fixed). You can shoot in aperture priority, shutter priority or manual. Turn your ISO down to ISO 100. You want your aperture somewhere between f/5.6-f/22, and your shutter speed to be at least 5 seconds, or longer. Feel free to increase your shutter speed up to 30 seconds to capture an even smoother effect. Last but not least, be sure to set a two second timer on your camera.

If you find that your image is too dark, be sure to decrease your shutter speed (slower). If you find that it is too bright, increase your shutter speed (faster).


Have more questions? Schedule a 1-on-1 in-person photo class at the Shutterbug (1 hr for $45) online or in-store! Interested in renting from The Shutterbug, Beaverton? Give us a call for availability at (503) 639-5088.