Daytime long exposure: photography tips for smoothing water and blurring skies

Daytime long exposure photography is the landscape cliche that just won’t quit. Love them or loathe them, long-exposure landscape shots are here to stay, and judging by the amount of slow-motion seascapes in particular that are emailed to us each week, it’s clear that many of you love creating them as much as we do.

Daytime long exposure: photography tips for smoothing water and blurring skies

Whether it’s milk-smooth seas or cloud-smeared skies, leaving your camera’s shutter open for anything from several seconds to a couple of minutes, and allowing the world to pass by in a blur, is an addictive technique with potentially awesome results.

The time of day has a big impact on the look of your pictures, not just in terms of the quality of the light but also its quantity, and shooting at dawn or dusk near the coast enables you to capture lots of colour and detail in the soft light while using long exposures to blur the movement of waves.

You’ll need to use low ISOs and fairly narrow apertures in order to get shutter speeds that are slow enough to soften the motion of waves and clouds.

However, if conditions are too bright this may not be possible without the use of a neutral density, or ND, filter.

Not to be confused with an ‘ND grad’ (although one of those can be useful too – more on that later), a standard ND filter is simply a piece of dark grey glass or resin that’s placed in front of the lens to restrict the amount of light entering it, enabling you to use a slower shutter speed without ending up with overexposed shots. ND filters are available in a range of strengths or densities, which are measured in stops.

Each stop halves the amount of light, and the darker the filter, the stronger the effect. If, for instance, your DSLR suggested a shutter speed of 1/80 sec for a scene, attaching a 3-stop ND filter would enable you to reduce the shutter speed to 1/10 sec.

The ND effect

The ND effect
In this before and after example, you can see how a fairly dull scene can take on a more mysterious quality with the addition of a neutral density filter. Although the unfiltered shot is perfectly acceptable, the overcast, early morning light leaves it lacking a little ‘oomph’.

The ND filter extends the exposure from 1/8 sec to more than two minutes, smoothing out the waves and creating an effect akin to a sheet of ice.

As well as looking very cool, this creates contrast that helps to separate the rocks from the water. The filtered shot also shows the typical side-effects of using a strong ND: a colour cast (cool in this case), and slight vignetting on the wide-angle lens used here; both of these effects can be fixed in software.

Choosing an ND filter

Choosing an ND filter
In addition to various strengths of ND filter, there are also two different formats: screw-in or square slot-in.

The screw-in type have the advantage of enabling you to use a lens hood as normal, so you can shield the filter from the sun and the effects of glare and flare; the downside is that they take longer to fit to and remove from the lens, which can be frustrating when you want to try different strengths of filter.

Square filters are quicker to use once you’ve added the filter holder to the lens, and they also make it easier to add ND grads to balance the exposure in a picture.

Unless you opt for the additional expense of a compatible lens hood for the system you’re using, though, there’s a danger of light hitting the filter when you shoot towards the sun.

PAGE 1: Using ND filters for daytime long exposures
PAGE 2: How slow can you go in your daytime long exposure?
PAGE 3: Calming the waters
PAGE 4: The best way to set up your camera for daytime long exposures


Seascape photography tips: using your 10-stop ND filter for ultra-long exposures
10 common camera mistakes every photographer makes
The 10 Commandments of Landscape Photography (and how to break them)
10 quick landscape photography tips
Camera Filters: the only cheat sheet you’ll ever need to get beautifully balanced exposures

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Photoshop depth of field effects: how to make an f/22 exposure look like f/1.2

In this tutorial we’ll show you a really easy way to use simple Photoshop effects to create a sense of shallow depth of field in any image.

Photoshop depth of field effects: how to make an f/22 exposure look like f/1.2

Shooting with an open aperture creates that lovely shallow depth of field focusing the eye on a subject while blurring out its contextual setting.

But while automated modes or simpler cameras, such as mobile phones, may not provide the luxury of aperture control, a little understanding of Photoshop’s Layer Masks allows even the longest f/22 exposure to look like it was taken at f/1.2.

Masks provide a non-destructive method allowing selective layer visibility depending on the mask content. Create a mask using the Add Layer Mask icon at the foot of the Layers Panel.

This becomes visible in the Layers Panel, linked and filled with white by default. Click to select it and paint or fill any areas with black to hide, or mask, areas from view.

This simple method allows us to duplicate and blur our image and simply paint into the scene the focused areas to complete our finished effect.

How to create shallow depth of field in Photoshop

Photoshop Effects: how to create shallow depth of field - step 1

01 Duplicate and blur
Duplicate your original image layer and blur the copy using the Filter>Gaussian Blur. The amount of blur you apply will depend on the content and composition of your image.


Photoshop Effects: how to create shallow depth of field - step 2

02 Create the mask
With your blurred layer selected, click the Add a Mask button at the base of the Layers Panel. Your mask appears as a white box next to your layer thumbnail. Click to select it.


Photoshop Effects: how to create shallow depth of field - step 3

03 Reveal sharp areas
Make use of the Brush tool as well as Photoshop’s various other selection and fill tools to paint black onto the mask to reveal sharp areas from the lower Background layer.


How to Photoshop wedding photos: get your digital workflow correct from the start
Photoshop Curves Tool: 6 techniques every photographer must know
Raw Editing: what you need to know about white balance correction
3 selective adjustment tools your raw files can’t live without
Photoshop Levels Tool: 6 tricks all the pros use

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The Surreal Landscape: Long Exposure Photography

Long exposure photography

It seems to me that we live in a world orientated to a digital generation demanding instant gratification. This extends to photography, encouraged by the prevalence of camera phones and Instagram type apps. How many photographers, when they come across a beautiful scene, just stop and snap a photo with a camera phone and then move on?

Long exposure photography is different. It demands patience, an appreciation of beautiful light and a deep understanding of composition. It is as much about the mind-set of the photographer as it is about the subject. It’s not brash or flashy – you rarely see long exposure photographers use techniques such as high dynamic range (HDR) photography or adding texture layers.

What is long exposure photography? There is no precise definition. I think of it as involving shutter speeds of ten seconds or longer, but I’m sure some photographers will be thinking in terms of shutter speeds of a minute or more. But the aim is the same – to create beautiful and surreal images by leaving the shutter open long enough to record anything that moves within the landscape, such as water, as a blur.

That’s why most long exposure photography tends to take place along the coast. The sea creates an interesting subject, helped by natural features such as rocks and islands, and man-made ones like piers and jetties.

Painting with light is also a form of long exposure photography.

Long exposure photography

Contemplation and the landscape

You may be wondering what one does while waiting for the camera to take a photo when the shutter speed is longer than a minute.

The answer is that long exposure photography is a naturally contemplative pastime. While waiting, take some time to enjoy the beautiful location you are in. Breathe and enjoy the smell of the air. Listen to the sounds. Watch the light as it fades away. This meditative approach will help you notice things an instant gratification seeker will miss.

Getting started

Interested? How then, do you get started? One of the nice things about long exposure photography is that the basic requirements are not extensive:

  • A tripod and a good ball-and-socket head. Beware of inexpensive models – they may be too flimsy to support your camera properly during long exposures. A good aluminium or carbon-fibre tripod is required.
  • A cable release or remote release so that you can activate the shutter without touching the camera.


A polarising filter is useful for eliminating reflections from shiny surfaces, such as a concrete jetty made wet by sea water. It also blocks between one and two stops of light, helping you obtain longer shutter speeds.

Some photographers use neutral density (ND) filters, but they are not essential. You can get started without them by turning up late in the day and taking photos as the sun sets. During twilight you can obtain shutter speeds of thirty seconds or later by setting a low ISO and a narrow aperture.

The benefit of neutral density filters is that they extend the period of time during which you can use long exposures. They come in various strengths; three, four, nine and ten stop ND filters are the most common. Nine and ten stop ND filters are designed to enable long exposure photography during the middle of the day – you won’t need them if you are shooting at dusk.

Learn more about neutral density filters.

Long exposure photography

Noise reduction

Shoot in Raw and turn off the long exposure noise reduction setting. The software you use to process your Raw files will take care of noise reduction for you.


Here are some more resources that will help:

BW Vision

Slices of Silence

Interviews with long exposure photographers

Long Exposure Photography: 15 Stunning Examples

Eight Tips for Long Exposure Photography

Photo Tutorial – Long Exposure Photography

Final thoughts

That’s a lot to take in, so don’t forget the most important thing of all – to go out and take some photos. It takes a while to get the hang of long exposure photography, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempts aren’t as polished as you would like. It takes time to master the techniques and develop the eye for graphical composition required for successful long exposure photography.

Mastering Photography

My ebook Mastering Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Using Digital Cameras introduces you to photography and helps you make the most out of your digital cameras. It covers concepts such as lighting and composition as well as the camera settings you need to master long exposure photography and take photos like the ones in this article.

Long exposure photography

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

The Surreal Landscape: Long Exposure Photography

The post The Surreal Landscape: Long Exposure Photography by appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Milky Pin-Ups Are Traditional-40’s Pinup Photos Made With High-Speed Milk [NSFW]

London based photographer Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz is known for taking high speed photography to the extreme. (And for poking at a $12K Profoto setup with a $500 Einstein).

Milky Pin-Ups Are Traditional-40S Pinup Photos Made With High-Speed Milk [NSFW]

Jaroslav’s latest endeavor involves nostalgia, naked girls and some incredibly well executed high speed photographs of milk.

The project aims at creating a pin up calendar inspired by the popular pinup calendars of the 40’s and 50’s. Only instead of clothing, the models are wearing milk. Milk frozen with high speed strobes.

Home Studio Photography

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10 ways to drive photography snobs mad

We’ve all met a photography snob at some point. Invariably it’s the person who likes to wear their camera around their neck on a permanent basis, despite the lack of photo opportunities.

10 ways to drive photography snobs mad

They also tend to bang on at length about which settings they used to take a shot and explain in real time how long it took them to get everything ‘just right’.

If you’ve found yourself grinding your teeth listening to one of them droning on at length, then this article is for you. We’ve put together 10 ways to drive them crazy.

How to annoy photography snobs: 01 Blown-out highlights

Fixing Bad Pictures: Why do my skies look white and washed out?

Photography snobs are a bit retentive about highlights (ha!), they like lots of detail and don’t like things burned out.

So if you shoot nice, bright high-key shot they’ll start to twitch. It may look good (which means it is), but there’s no detail in the background, it’s clean and white.

They’d really prefer you to make sure that no pixel goes over a brightness of 254, even if nobody can tell the difference between that at 255. They’re also likely to start waffling on about the tonal range of film.

MORE: Blown highlights: how to rescue overblown skies using simple Photoshop effects

As well has having better regard for what works aesthetically, they need to be realistic and bear in mind that if there’s a naked flame in a dark room, the brightest part of it is probably going to be burned out if there’s going to be any sense of atmosphere or detail in the rest of the shot.

Expose to create an image that works rather than to slavishly preserve the highlights.

PAGE 1 – How to annoy a photography snob: 01 Blown-out highlights
PAGE 2 – How to annoy a photography snob: 02 Soft images
PAGE 3 – How to annoy a photography snob: 03 Visible noise
PAGE 4 – How to annoy a photography snob: 04 Shooting portraits from below eye-level
PAGE 5 – How to annoy a photography snob: 05 No eye contact
PAGE 6 – How to annoy a photography snob: 06 Colourcasts
PAGE 7 – How to annoy a photography snob: 07 Converging verticals
PAGE 8 – How to annoy a photography snob: 08 Tilting horizons
PAGE 9 – How to annoy a photography snob: 09 Imperfect joins
PAGE 10 – How to annoy a photography snob: 10 Great shots from compact cameras


Banish bad pictures: 9 quick fixes for common camera complaints
Photography Basics: the No. 1 cheat sheet for metering and exposure
Expose to the right: the camera technique every landscape photographer must know
3 exposure techniques every beginner must know (and when you should use them)
10 common exposure problems every photographer faces (and how to overcome them)

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How to Create a Stunning Surreal Landscape

Preview of Final Results

Tutorial Resources

  1. ModelTwilitesMuse
  2. Image BaseCat-in-the-stock
  3. Mountains in the backgroundLyfiar
  4. Mountain in the rightCastock
  5. Mountain in the leftBurtn
  6. RiverFaestock
  7. SkyAustriaangloalliance
  8. TowerDivsm-stock
  9. Castle –  Lilystox

Step 1 – New File

Open a new file, with 1311px of Width and 100px of Height

Step 2 – Gradient Background

Before you add any image, create a gradient to be the base of the image.

Step 3 – Place

To place a image go to the menu File in the option Place.

Step 4 – River

Resize the image of the river like this:

Step 5 – Less Opacity

Reduce the layer opacity to 80% and add a layer mask

Step 6 – Hiding

In the layer mask paint with a black brush to hide parts of the image in this case are the clouds the one’s you need to hide. Select the layer mask in the layer thumbs and with a black brush with 50% of opacity paint over the clouds.

Step 7 –

Like you did before Place the other image of the mountains and resize it. Pick ONE of the corners and press shift to change the the resolution of the image without distortions.

Step 8 – Changing color

Double click in the image thumb, then you will see this window, press ok.

You can also  duplicate the layer to have the original.

Then  press Ctrl + U and press the option colorize, and just reduce the saturation to 12. Now save the image Ctrl + S, now the color will change in your mountains.

Step 9 – Layer mask

Once again add a layer mask and with a soft round black brush paint to make the mountains look like they are part of the image. Reduce the opacity of the layer to 70% so you can see the background.

Step 10 – Layers

Change layer’s order, move the one with the river and set it over the one with the mountains like this:

Step 11 – Details

Now do the same with other details of the image like the castle, Place the image, then resize it and with a layer mask hide the undesired parts of the image, also you can use help from the Magic Wand tool or another selection tool of your choice.

In the image above you can see that using the Magic Wand tool the blue parts of the image are selected.

Pass the black brush over the selected area and the result will be this one:

After that change the size of the image.

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How to Take Sharp Photos

Be a sharp shooter and don’t shake your camera. Have you sometimes looked at those wonderful coffee table books or maybe at some photo websites and asked yourself, “How can the pictures be so sharp? Is it some kind of digital trickery? Why can’t my pictures be so crystal clear?”

sharp photo

“Divided Belfast” captured by David Hobcote (Click Image to See More From David Hobcote)

This is what I saw the other day. I was walking through the park near my home. A young man was taking a photo of his wife and child. He had taken out his camera and he’d clearly done some thinking. First of all they were not out there in the bright sunshine where they would have black sockets for their eyes but they were in the open shade under a tree in front of the lake – good idea.

Then the man had squatted down on his haunches to take the photo. He didn’t want to be looking down on his wife and little girl – also a good idea.

And then, the next thing he did was compose the picture on the screen of his camera which he held out right in front of him at the end of his arms. No, no, no! I wanted to go up to him and say, Please don’t do this. Anyway, he got up, the three of them looked at the screen, they seemed pleased and off they went.

I’m pretty confident that if that family wanted an enlarged picture it wouldn’t be very big before it looked pretty blurred. Maybe they’ll think they need a new camera. I’m sure it’s obvious. You simply can’t hold a small and light camera right out with your outstretched arms while balancing on your heels and expect it not to shake and quiver like a leaf in the wind. And that’s the basis of camera shake. So, what can you do?

Tip 1 – Hold your camera steady

Quite often when you want to take a photo you know the viewpoint’s very important. You may be in the middle of a field. If so, you must be the support for your camera. You must stand, or kneel, but make yourself a really solid base. Stand with your feet apart. You must hold the camera as steady as you can – certainly not waving it around with one hand. If you can, bring the camera to your eye if it has a viewfinder. If you have a strap, you can wrap the strap around your neck and use it keep the camera steady. and when the time comes to actually take the photograph, remember to press the shutter release very,very gently. If you jerk it, you will shake the camera.

crisp photos

“Seagull in Flight” captured by Linda (Click Image to See More From Linda)

Tip 2 – Take several photos of the same subject

Don’t forget, if your subject is not changing all the time take several photos – 10 – or so at the same settings. You’ll find that one or two are sharper than the others.

Tip 3 – Use a fast shutter speed

If your shutter speed is too slow the shake will show. It’s not easy to judge with modern digital cameras but the old photographers’ rule might help you: Always use a shutter speed related to the focal length of the lens. for a 50mm lens use a minimum of 1/50th sec. For a 300mm lens use a minimum of 1/300 sec. Get the picture? Long lenses will magnify the shake.

Tip 4 – Find a support

As I said, viewpoint is very important but perhaps you can change your viewpoint a little bit. If you do not have a tripod, look around you and you might see a tree, a wall, a bench, a table, a lamp post, something like this which is absolutely solid, unmoving, unshaking.

If something like this is in the right the place, then use it to brace your camera. When you do this, make sure the camera itself makes contact. In other words, if you’re using the branch of a tree, hold the camera on the tree branch directly, not just your hand or your arm but the camera itself. This will make the camera rock solid.

Of course, you might find that the horizon is not quite straight or something of that kind. You can change this by moving the camera a little bit or using your hand to help though that’s not ideal. You can correct it later in a computer if you use one. This technique will provide a rock solid support and stop you shaking the camera.

Tip 5 – Use the Self Timer

If you have a solid support like a wall, and you have the exact viewpoint you want you can use the self timer. The self timer is normally used to take pictures of yourself but if you switch the self timer on and press the shutter release gently there will be a delay of a few seconds before the shutter fires. This will kill any vibration or camera shake. Use these techniques and your pictures should be sharper. If you want to be more sophisticated you will have to take some more equipment to support your camera. But that’s for another day.

how to take sharp pictures

“contrasts” captured by David Hobcote (Click Image to See More From David Hobcote)

About the Author:
Hi. I’m John Rocha ( I’m a British photographer based in Sofia in Bulgaria. Most of my work now involves Rights Managed and Royalty free Stock Photography. I’ve made the transition from the darkroom to the lightroom in the last few years but I still experiment with film and non-camera photography.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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Master Adobe Lightroom in 12 minutes or less

Mastering Adobe Lightroom doesn’t take long, but it does require you to get your head around a particular workflow – and, for those used to Photoshop’s pixel-pushing approach, a slight shift in mindset too. In this quick Adobe Lightroom tutorial we’ll show you how to master the basics in no time at all.

Master Adobe Lightroom in 12 minutes or less

Rather than altering pixels, anything you do to an image in Lightroom is stored as an extra bit of data, leaving the original image untouched.

So whatever tweaks or enhancements you make, you’re simply changing the way Lightroom displays the image. This means everything is non-destructive, there’s no having to save or open images, and raw files are easily managed.

At heart, Lightroom is like a database that catalogues where your images are stored and what you’ve done to them. But first you need to tell it how to find the images by importing them.

During the import, you can perform a few handy tasks like adding keywords or embedding copyright. Once imported, you can begin sorting, enhancing and taking your images in all kinds of directions using Lightroom’s array of seven different workspaces, called Modules.

The Library and Develop Modules are the main hubs of Lightroom, so we’ll focus on them here. First you’ll organise your images and pick your favourites in the Library Module.

Then you’ll move to the Develop Module, which is where the fun begins in terms of enhancing, boosting tones and creating effects.

You can be up and running in a matter of minutes, and once you’ve mastered a few essential edits – like boosting tones, making selective adjustments and using presets – there’s much more to explore.

Timesaver tip
When you insert a memory card or plug in your camera, Lightroom’s Import dialog will open. Get used to downloading files from a card and you’ll save lots of time.

You can copy the files to a folder on your hard drive by choosing Copy, or Copy as DNG, then selecting a destination. You can also add keywords, embed copyright and apply tonal presets.

PAGE 1: What Adobe Lightroom can do for your workflow
PAGE 2: Organising your images in Adobe Lightroom
PAGE 3: Editing your photos in Adobe Lightroom


Adobe Photoshop Touch: how to use Photoshop for phone and tablets
Best photo editing tips for beginners: 18 quick fixes to common image problems
10 reasons your photos aren’t sharp (and how to fix them)
Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer needs to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop’

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Waterfall Photography Tips and Techniques

Waterfalls seem to grab the hearts and minds of people. Go to any location that has one or more waterfalls and it is pretty much a guarantee that they will be a major attraction, if not the main attraction, of the area. However, as beautiful as waterfalls are, it is not so easy to capture that beauty with a camera. It is easy to produce pictures of waterfalls; it is not so easy to produce powerful images.

waterfall photography tips

“Fall” captured by Tony Taffinder (Click Image to See More From Tony Taffinder)

Waterfalls provide their own unique set of problems which requires a unique set of solutions. This article is about those unique problems and the solutions that allow photographers to produce images that communicate the power and beauty that is inherent in the waterfalls that stand before their lenses.


Weather plays a huge part in producing great waterfall images. Quite simply, waterfalls do not photograph well in nice, sunny weather. The best time to photograph waterfalls is in overcast weather.

Some waterfalls will photograph best in light overcast. Light overcast produces a light that is gentle but which still has enough power to bring out the colors in a scene. Other waterfalls photograph best in strong overcast. Strong overcast can produce a very moody image with a power to convey that sense of mood in an image. In fact, very powerful waterfall images can even be produced in rainy weather (during a break in the rain).

An Old Filter

One of the major challenges in photographing waterfalls has to do with water getting on the lens (or the filter in front of the lens). Powerful waterfalls can drop huge amounts of water which produces a mist. In other cases, the weather may produce fog, drizzle, or rain that gets on the lens. All of this can be exacerbated by wind (which always seems to be pointed directly toward my lens).

A partial solution is to place an old, clear filter in front of the lens while the equipment is being set up. Once the photographer is ready to go, the photographer will need to remove the filter from the lens in order to take the shot.


Don’t even think of photographing a waterfall without a tripod. A large part of the nature of waterfalls is the movement of the water. This movement is most often captured with shutter speeds that are slow enough that clear images can not be produced with a handheld camera.

techniques for waterfall photos

“Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground” captured by Mark Broughton (Click Image to See More From Mark Broughton)

White Balance

The lighting involved with waterfall shots can be tricky. In overcast or rainy conditions, the light will likely have a blue tint. If the waterfall is in a forest, the light may bounce off the trees and pick up a green tint. Neither the auto white balance nor the preset white balance options on a camera will guarantee accurate white balance. The best solution is to perform a manual white balance (your camera manual will explain how for your particular camera).


Objects that are wet tend to produce glare. This glare is often polarized. This is particularly an issue with waterfall shots because the rocks and vegetation near the waterfall will be wet and will almost certainly have a certain amount of glare. A polarizer will remove the glare. In addition, a polarizer has a secondary effect. By removing the glare, the color saturation will improve.

Bubble Level

Sadly, the human eye is not a very good judge of whether a camera is level. Luckily, a bubble level is designed specifically for leveling a camera. A bubble level is an inexpensive, small, easy to use device that fits into the hot shoe of a camera and allows a photographer to verify that the camera is level. It works in the same way as a carpenter’s bubble level. Simply center the bubble between the lines and the camera is leveled.

waterfall photo

“Waterfall” captured by Derrick Smith (Click Image to See More From Derrick Smith)


Identifying and capturing strong composition is an extremely important part of creating powerful waterfall images. While the purpose of this article is not to carry out a thorough review of composition, a couple of aspects of composition, curves and environment, will be covered.

Curves can make or break a waterfall image. With waterfalls, two types of curves are particularly important. The first type of curve is the curve formed by the water. Waterfalls that have water that flows or falls in such a way as to form curves tend to create much more interest than waterfalls where the water simply falls straight down. In essence, graceful curves add an element of elegance to a waterfall. The second type of curve is any curved object that points toward the waterfall. This type of curve will repeatedly direct the attention toward the waterfall and strengthen it as the center of interest.

The second major component of waterfall composition, covered in this article, is the environment surrounding the waterfall. This is extremely important to many waterfall shots. By itself, falling water is not always that interesting. Rather, it is the surrounding environment that gives waterfalls much of their character. Therefore, why not include some of that environment in the image to bring out the waterfall character. The surrounding rocks, trees, and vegetation can make the waterfall image come alive.

Shutter speed

What shutter speed should be used to blur the falling water? That seems to be the first question that people usually ask about shooting waterfalls. However, there is no such thing as one correct shutter speed for shooting waterfalls! Rather, the proper shutter speed is a function of five factors.

water motion photography

“Play Misty for Me” captured by Debra Vanderlaan (Click Image to See More From Debra Vanderlaan)

  • The amount of blur desired
  • The volume of water
  • The speed of the water
  • The distance between camera and water
  • The direction of water flow with respect to the lens

In short, the best shutter speed varies from one waterfall to another. At first, that might sound a little bit daunting, “How can I ever figure out the best shutter speed; it changes from one waterfall to the next?” Actually, with a digital camera, it is easy to find the best shutter speed. You can simply take some test shots at different shutter speeds and examine the results on the camera monitor. Zooming in on the monitor will allow you to see the water detail fairly well.

For large waterfalls with huge volumes of tumultuous water, where it is desired to capture the violent nature of the falling water, 1/100 second is a good shutter speed with which to start. For smaller waterfalls, waterfalls with less water, or waterfalls where it is desired to produce a dreamy look, a shutter speed of 1/2 second to 2 seconds might be used.


Getting the right exposure can sometimes be a challenge when photographing waterfalls. Probably, one of the biggest problems is that it is easy to clip the highlights in the water. What this means is that the detail in the water is lost, and the water becomes just a big area of pure white. When this happens, the water just doesn’t look very real. The solution for this problem is to take a test shot of the waterfall and check the histogram on the monitor of your digital camera. If the histogram is cut off on the right side, the highlights have been clipped. If this is the case, the exposure needs to be decreased.

waterfall image

“Guadalupe River on Roar” captured by Rob Zabroky (Click Image to See More From Rob Zabroky)


With these tips, you should be on your way to capturing some great waterfall images.

About the Author
Ron Bigelow ( has created an extensive resource of articles to help develop photography skills.

For Further Training on Long Exposure Photography:

Check out Trick Photography by Evan Sharboneau; a very popular instructional eBook that explains how to do most of the trick photos that often capture attention and amazement from viewers. It also teaches the basics that are essential before moving onto advanced techniques. With 300+ pages of information and 9 hours of video tutorials, it is very detailed and includes extensive explanations of many complicated methods that are very fun to learn.

Found here: Trick Photography and Special Effects 2.0

Go to full article: Waterfall Photography Tips and Techniques

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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How to change your composition with Photoshop Elements’ Recompose tool

Photoshop Elements’ Recompose tool is a clever function that allows you to alter the ratio of your images without distorting key details. In this tutorial we show you how it works.

How to change your composition with Photoshop Elements' Recompose tool

We all know how frustrating it can be when it comes to displaying our favourite photographs and they don’t match our chosen print size, or are the wrong ratio for a frame we want to use.

Cropping won’t always solve the problem, as you might lose interesting detail at the edges of the frame, or end up with an image that feels unbalanced or doesn’t conform to the rule of thirds – perhaps because you’re left with just a thin sliver of sky.

Elements introduced a Recompose tool back in version 8, and this enables you to make ‘content-aware’ transformations.

The tool gives you the power to reshape an image, whether it’s by changing the ratio, extending the canvas or reducing the gap between subjects for a tighter composition.

The clever thing about the tool is that you can select areas that you don’t want the tool to distort, and these will be protected; you can also highlight areas that you don’t mind being distorted or lost.

For this tutorial we’ve got a landscape shot that we want to resize to a more panoramic 16×9 ratio, but we don’t want to stretch or squash the river, so the Recompose tool is ideal for the job.

How to use Photoshop Elements’ Recompose tool

How to use Photoshop Elements' Recompose tool: step 1

01 Crop to ratio
Download our start files and follow along! Open recompose_start.jpg. There are a couple of ways of recomposing our scene. First, select the Crop tool and choose 16x9in from the ratio menu. Drag out a crop within the confines of the canvas, then drag the handles to extend the box outside the canvas so the full height of the image is included. Take the Recompose tool, select the Mark for Protection brush and paint over areas you want to protect, such as the river.


How to use Photoshop Elements' Recompose tool: step 2

02 Stretch to fit
Next take the Mark for Removal brush, and paint over the areas that you don’t mind being removed or distorted, such as the distant fields and the edges of the sky. A green overlay indicates the areas you want to protect, and a red overlay indicates the unprotected areas. Now drag out the left and right handles of the bounding box to stretch the image until it fits the 16×9 ratio, and hit Return to apply the transformation.


How to use Photoshop Elements' Recompose tool: step 3

03 Mark it up again
The other way of recomposing an image doesn’t require you to crop it first. Reopen recompose_start.jpg, or just undo the previous edit. Select the Recompose tool, and paint over the areas you want to protect with the Mark for Protection brush as before, then paint over the areas you don’t mind being distorted or lost with the Mark for Removal brush.


How to use Photoshop Elements' Recompose tool: step 4

04 Auto recompose
Select the 16x9in option from the ratio menu, and this time the tool will automatically recompose the image to fit the selected ratio. Use the Threshold slider to fine-tune the transformation and  minimise distortion: the lower the value, the less the image will be distorted. Click the green tick button, or hit Return, to apply the transformation. You crop the image slightly to tidy up the edges if you need to.


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