Water is everywhere! Rivers, lakes, oceans, puddles, rain… You can find water to photograph in most places that you pass through!
Water is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying subjects to photograph as you can get amazing and unexpected results. In this tutorial you’ll discover 10 tips for taking incredible photos of water with your iPhone.
1. Use Burst Mode To Capture Splashes
If you’re photographing splashing water such as crashing waves or cars driving through puddles, it can often be difficult to capture the splash at the exact moment you want. You usually end up taking the photo too soon or too late.
But if you use the burst mode feature in your camera app, you can take a series of photos over several seconds. You can then look through the photos to find the one that captures the splash at its best.
To use the burst mode of your iPhone, simply hold your finger down on the shutter button for as long as you want to keep taking photos. Try to anticipate when the splash will occur and start shooting in burst mode a few seconds before.
2. Use Long Exposure To Blur Waterfalls And Rivers
Have you ever wondered how people create those beautiful photos of waterfalls and rivers where the moving water appears smooth and silky to give it a soft, dreamy look?
It’s actually easy to create this type of long exposure photos using Slow Shutter Cam app on the iPhone. First, ensure that your phone is steady on a tripod. Then set the shutter speed to several seconds and take the photo.
The movement of the water during the long exposure will appear as a soft blur. You may need to experiment with the exposure time to get a good result.
3. Look For Reflections In Puddles
Still water that has a mirror-like surface is great for taking reflection photos, and puddles provide a perfect water source for this type of photography.
As you’re walking down the street, look out for interesting reflections of buildings in puddles. Or wait for someone to walk or cycle past close to the puddle so that their reflection appears in the water. The beach is another great place for taking puddle reflection photos.
When shooting puddle reflections, you’ll get the best results if you crouch down and shoot from a low angle. You might even want to try holding your iPhone just a couple of inches above the water.
4. Capture The Reflection Of The Sky
If you’re taking photos when there’s an interesting sky such as beautiful warm sunset colors or a blue sky with white fluffy clouds, try to capture the reflection of the sky in the water.
This works best when the water is fairly still such as a lake, puddle or slowly flowing river. It’s usually best to shoot from a low angle so that you can get both the sky and its reflection into the frame.
5. Create Symmetrical Compositions Using Reflections
Another powerful way to use reflections in water is to create symmetrical compositions. Images with symmetry have a strong visual impact that will grab the viewer’s attention.
Once you’ve found a reflection that you want to photograph, crouch down so that you’re shooting from a low angle – this will ensure that you get the subject and its reflection into the frame.
Experiment with the position of the subject and its reflection. For example you could create perfect central symmetry by positioning them with equal space above and below. Or you might want to use the rule of thirds, capturing one third subject and two thirds reflection, or vice versa.
6. Use Leading Lines When Photographing Rivers
When photographing landscapes that contain a river, you should compose your shot so that the river creates a leading line through the photo.
Leading lines create a powerful visual element that leads the viewer’s eye into the image. This helps to give your landscape photos depth as your eye will follow the river from the front of the photo into the distance.
Leading lines work best when they start from the foreground or one of the bottom corners of the frame, and then lead the eye into the distance.
7. Shoot In The Rain
We often want to stay indoors when it’s raining, but this can be one of the most interesting times to take photos.
When it’s raining you can take amazing photos of the raindrops falling and splashing as they hit the ground or other surfaces. This works especially well if the sun is shining.
It’s also a perfect time to capture interesting street photos. You’ll see people behaving differently to normal, such as running through the streets, seeking shelter in doorways and huddling together under umbrellas.
8. Photograph Wet Surfaces
Wet surfaces are great subjects to photograph as they look completely different than when they are dry. As well as having a shiny, reflective appearance, wet surfaces will have greater color depth and saturation.
So if you don’t like shooting in the rain, venture out as soon as it stops and try photographing the wet surfaces around you!
9. Capture The Sun Sparkling Through Water Droplets
If you’re photographing splashing water in bright sunlight, you can take amazing shots by capturing the sun shining through the water droplets.
The sparkling water will really bring your photo to life and catch the viewer’s eye. The technique works particularly well at waterfalls, when water is crashing over the rocks, and at fountains where the water is shooting high into the air.
You may need to experiment with your shooting angle. If the sunlight is hitting the water at just the right angle, you can even photograph rainbows!
10. Photograph People Having Fun In Water
Water is a great place for people (and animals) to have fun, so don’t forget to capture this joy in your photos as they splash around in the water!
Emil Pakarklis is the founder of iPhonePhotographySchool.com, a website about taking better photos with iPhone. If you want to improve your iPhone photos, visit iPhoneography 101, which is a resource Emil created for everyone who wants to start taking better photos with iPhone.