10 Tips for taking great photos of waterfalls

Waterfalls are one of nature’s finest gifts to us. From small, jungle falls to the raw power of giant mountain cascades, the sound, freshness and smell of the kicked up water is sure to relax and inspire.

That said, have you ever struggled to get a great photo? You’re there, standing in front of this magnificent site but when you look at the picture you just kind of think meh. Well, you’re not alone. While waterfall pictures are some of the best, when done right, they are not easy.

Now I’m by no means a professional photographer (my dad is, so I learned a few things) but I recently asked people to share some of their best waterfall photos for an Instagram feature but the response was so good, I thought I’d also turn it into a blog post too. And if that isn’t enough, be sure to also check out some of the best waterfall quotes to really get your creative juices flowing.

Of course, one thing to be sure of is that having a great travel camera helps, although phones do a fantastic job when taking pictures of moving entities such as water, sometimes they do struggle if you want to use some special functions.

But that tip aside, let’s get on with it.

The Travel Blogs tips on taking great/better waterfall pictures

Slow your shutter speed

If you have a tripod great, if not then find a sturdy surface, use the three-second self-timer and slow your shutter speed down to capture that movement. If you don’t feel confident in full manual mode, most cameras have an S setting, this is shutter speed. You can put it anywhere from a quarter of a second to two seconds, depending on the speed of the water and lighting, and the camera will work out the rest. If you are comfortable with full manual, you don’t need me to tell you what to do!


A quiet corner at the jaw dropping Plitvice Lakes in #croatia such a stunning area. #waterfall #croatiafulloflife #plitvice #lakes #stunning #travel

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Look for natural framing

Sometimes a photo of a waterfall can just be a little boring on its own. When you are there you can feel it, hear it, in a photo, sometimes those feelings just don’t come across. When trying to frame your picture, you could seek out rocks for the foreground or jungle, just something to throw a bit more interest in there. 

Read more about Asia’s largest waterfall (below) on A Nomad on the Loose.


Some waterfalls are worth chasing for #takemebacktoBali

A post shared by iannesy (@iannesydiannesy) on

Get creative with your angles

Get creative with the direction you are shooting. Can you look straight up at it? This can help to make it look bigger than it is or make the person looking at the photo feel they are close, the water is almost falling on them.


[English below] En el interior de Cloud Forest (Bosque de nubes) en Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, se encuentra la cascada interior más alta del mundo Como amante de la naturaleza me gustan las ciudades con paisaje natural, con montañas y lagos reales. Pero aún así Singapur me enloqueció. Los Singapurenses inventaron un nuevo concepto de ciudad bajo el slogan “una ciudad en un jardín” A pesar de ser un paisaje artificial, es uno de los más increíbles que vi. Recuerden que en el blog hay más info de Singapur: postcardsfromivi.com Si entran a #PFISingapore ven todos mis fotos de este destino. . Inside Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore you can find the world’s tallest indoor waterfall As a nature lover, I prefer cities with natural landscape. Even so, I loved Singapore. Singaporeans have invented a whole new city concept under the slogan “a city in a garden” It might be an artificial landscape but it’s one of the most amazing ones I’ve seen. You can read more about Singapore on the blog postcardsfromivi.com and enter #PFISingapore to see all the posts in this city. . . . . . . . #traveblog #travelbloggers #LiveTravelChannel #TravelStoke #justgoshoot #passionpassport #TravelAwesome #travellingthroughtheworld #WeLiveToExplore #argentinayelmundo #instaviajeros #viajandodesdecasa #buscablogs #lugaresimperdibles #thetravelmag #bloggerargentina #blogdeviajes #yourshotphotographer #bloggersargentina #traveltagged #thisissingapore #visitsingapore #yoursingapore #eclectic_shotz #urbanocity #journeyexperience #aov #visualsingapore

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Use people

Using people in your pictures can be a great way to give a sense of scale. Whether jumping in from the top, stood next to or even under, a great way to let people know how big the falls are.


I looked up at the waterfall and was blown away with the strength, the power and grace that’s being emitted from this wonder of nature. In these few months while we’ve been living an island life, I’ve learned that chasing waterfalls is one of the best things a person can do. It feels special. #thetravelleaf

A post shared by TheTravelLeaf.com (@the.travelleaf) on

Take a Wide Angle shot

Have a look around, is there more you can include in your photo than just the falls? As beautiful as waterfalls are, they are quite common, so what really gives your photo a sense of place and tells the person looking at it where it was taken . . . without words.


I could listen to this all day

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Use locals if possible

Here we have an awesome blend of two of the above tips. When the people you can use in the photo are local people, it’s like a two for one, sense of scale and sense of place.

Get Inside the falls

If you can . . . why wouldn’t you? Just be sure to protect your camera from any errant spray and don’t fall over!

Chase the rainbow!

Waterfalls can kick up spray which in turn can create rainbows which go on to create some wonderful photos!


Can’t believe this was already a week ago. Take me back to Patagonia!

A post shared by Travel with A Side of Sunsets (@asideofsunsets) on


Okay, one last photo of Niagara Falls! (and with a rainbow! ) . Today, let’s do something fun. Select the one statement you think is NOT true about Niagara Falls: The first person to go over the falls was a 63-year-old teacher who traveled down the Falls in a barrel in 1901. It is the collective name for 2 waterfalls that overlap the borders of Ontario & New York. It was created roughly 10,000 years ago by glacier activity. . What do you choose? Check the correct answer on my IG stories!! . #travelcanada #adventureisoutthere #natureloversgallery #imagesofcanada #discoveron #exploreontario #discoverontario #discoverniagara #tourcanada #niagarafalls

A post shared by Travel + Food Blogger • Cat (@fortwoplz) on

Discover the best time of day

Sunset and sunrise offer some of the best shots. If you know where the sun rises and sets, it helps to decide which is best for your waterfall. Get it right and you can create something spectacular.


One of the many reasons to be in love with the Earth. Happy ❤️ Day.

A post shared by Andrew Bramasco (@andrewbramasco) on


Throwback to the most photographed waterfall in western Iceland, Kirkjufellsfoss! Which reminds me that I still need to publish that draft from our Iceland road trip which has been sitting on my HD for almost a year .. ugh procrastination ? Husband needed an image from our Iceland trip last year for some photography contest at work.. even though I showed him a ton of other great images, he selected this. This was truly his shot with my edits so I decided to share it here too. We are past Monday ya’ll! . . . . . . . #iceland #wowair #icelandadventures #exploringiceland #ig_iceland #ig_europe #europe_vacations #beautifuldestinations #dicovereurope #discoverglobe #nature_brillance #bns_earth #travel_captures #seetheearth #teamcanon #natgeotravel #nature_perfection #world_captures #kings_shots #majestic_earth_ #long_exposure_pics

A post shared by MyTicklefeet (@my_ticklefeet) on

Create something

Because sometimes nature just wants a helping hand.

Create nothing

And other times the falls are so beautiful and iconic that nothing more is needed. Here are some of those.

Iguazu Falls


One of the most insane views I’ve ever seen. The Argentinean side of #iguazufalls defies the laws of nature.

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Iguazu Falls should be on your bucketlist for sure! Both the Argentinian and Brazilian side are worth visiting if you can. I came to the Brazilian side first, on a rainy afternoon after taking a night bus from Curitiba to get there. The sheer size and power of the falls blew me away! This is just a tiny section of the falls, taken from the Brazilian side. #backpacking #backpacker #travel #wanderlust #worlderlust #instatravel #wishyouwerehere #southamerica #amazingplaces #discovertheworld #seetheworld #traveltheworld #travelpics #traveladdict #aroundtheworld #passionpassport #neverstopexploring #exploremore #discoversouthamerica #brazil #brasil #instagood #lovebrazil #visitbrasil #backpackthegalaxy #ilovebrazil #iguazu #iguaçu #waterfall #nature

A post shared by Claire Sturzaker (@talesofabackpacker) on

Victoria Falls


VICTORIA FALLS __ Of course when you come to Livingstone you have to tick off one of the seven natural wonders of the world. And boy, it did not disappoint! We went on a falls tour with Savannah Southern Safaris and think we said ‘wow’, ‘amazing’, ‘incredible’ about a thousand times. Our guides Charity and Lineker were so friendly, lovely and knowledgeable. We learnt that at peak water flow, 10 million litres per second rush down. Insane. . . . . . . . . . . . .#savannahsouthernsafaris #travelmore #traveljunkie #backpackerlife #landscape_lovers #traveldeeper #exploringtheglobe #travelfar #travelingourplanet #aroundtheworldpix #theglobewanderer #traveldeeper #iamatraveler #LiveTravelChannel #justgoshoot #passionpassport #worlderlust #getoutstayout #wanderlusting #letsgoeverywhere #adventureawaits #wheretonext #worldplaces #exploreeverything #traveltheworld #lifeofadventure #ilovetravel #passportready #instalove #sponsored

A post shared by Rachel & Jeremy ?Travel Couple (@thekiwicouple) on

Dudhsagar falls, Goa


Perfect ending to a wonderful trip #dudhsagar falls in its full glory #solotravel #goa snap from the #train

A post shared by Gokul Raj (@g.raj15_plansavetravel) on

Niagra Falls


Is there a band that you would travel to see? For me, it is Bare Naked Ladies (A Canadian band) and thanks to #radissonhotel Hotels, I will take my boys on a road trip to Canada to for their first concert! Go to the link in my bio to enter to win the free night at a Radisson Hotel that one of my readers will get!! Make your Canadian road trip dreams come true this summer and celebrate #canada150 #sponsored . . . . #canada #barenakedladies #bnl #giveaway #giveaways #travelwriter #travel #instatravel #travelgram #tourism #instago #passportready #travelblogger #wanderlust #ilovetravel #writetotravel #instatravelling #instapassport #postcardsfromtheworld #traveldeeper #travelstroke #travelling #traveltheworld #igtravel #roadtrip #TBIN

A post shared by Jamie Italiane-Decubellis (@dailyadventuresofme) on

Seljalandsfoss (or pretty much any) waterfall in Iceland


Daydreaming of past adventures. Iceland you’re one hell of a beaut ? #takemeback

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Above all enjoy it

Hope you enjoyed reading, maybe you picked up a tip or two, maybe you didn’t and just enjoyed the photos. Either way, thanks for reading. If you have any tips to share, we’d love to hear them in the comments and remember this one thing, don’t let the camera distract you from enjoying the moment. You are there for you, great if you can take an awesome photo and share it to make everyone jealous, but don’t do it at the sacrifice of enjoying the moment yourself.

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23 thoughts on “10 Tips for taking great photos of waterfalls”

  1. I wish you had written this post earlier!! I have wasted 3 trips (picture-wise, the experience and the memories in my head are still great), one in Greece (Edessa) and two in Serbia (Gostilje and Prijepolje). My pictures look so bad!

  2. Waterfalls are so pretty and each one is unique in its own way. I like that your tips remind us that we can and should be creative. The result will be some memorable shots.

  3. Oh wow! So many beautiful waterfall places in the world. I particularly enjoy the ones with a captured rainbow, so magical. The different angles also make for some pretty fantastic shots. Not a real photographer myself, but keeping that s button in mind!

  4. Matt, these are some great tips. I never thought of slowing my shutter speed. Shame on me,i was using it for traffic, stars and Light only but these photos prove that it works well for waterfalls too


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