How to Get Great Photos of Waterfalls

The keys to success: slow shutter speed and soft lighting

by Jim Zuckerman

Glacial melt, Patagonia, Chile
Glacial melt, Patagonia, Chile
© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
In my opinion, waterfalls look best when they are photographed with slow shutter speeds. When the water is falling very fast, such as this waterfall in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, use a shutter speed not faster than 1/2 second. This image was taken at 2.5 seconds. Note that the water appears virtually without definition.

The image was taken with a tripod, of course. Don't make the mistake of using a slow shutter without a firm support. What makes these types of shots successful is the juxtaposition of the blurred water against tack-sharp surroundings.

Also note the soft lighting in the picture. Direct sunlight would have ruined the shot.

More information on Jim Zuckerman...

- Jim Z teaches many online courses at BetterPhoto's digital photography school, including Low Light Photography, Techniques of Natural Light Photography and Perfect Digital Exposure

- Also, Jim contributed to two how-to books co-authored by Jim Miotke and Kerry Drager: The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light and The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography.

Article by Jim Zuckerman. To learn more about photography, explore the many online photography and Photoshop classes offered here at