4 Water Photography Techniques
- Water Photography Tips in the Rain
- Working With Moving Water
- Water Photography at Home Using Reflections
- Underwater Photography
- Photograph against the light (this is photographing in the rain 101).
- Keep track of reflections in puddles or ponds.
- Use your own umbrella to frame your picture. Just allow the umbrella to fall down over your lens and cover the upper ⅓.
- Use the smallest amount of flash - if any at all.
- Watch for emotions on people’s faces. The rain transforms us. This transformation can also transform your photos!
- Eliminate background clutter (you need to be able to see the small water droplets).
- Experiment with ways to move the water (drop something into it, flick it, put it in your hair and shake it all over the place).
- Throw water at your subject and capture their emotions right when it hits.
- Explore the 10,000 splash photography manuals out there. You’re bound to find one you like.
- Get as close to the reflective water as the shot will allow. Reflections will be brighter and less distorted this way.
- Use a circular polarizing filter to make the reflection stronger.
- Use ripples to purposefully distort your photo.
- Emphasize the symmetry between the real item and it’s mirrored reflection.
- Use natural light and never dive farther than 20 feet or else the sun’s rays won’t reach your depths.
- Get as close as possible to your subject without scaring it off. Water distorts images.
- If you’re shooting a subject at farther than 3-4 feet, don’t use a flash.
- Photoshop it up with your raw pictures to increase the contrast and wow your friends.
Photo by Kento Iemoto on Unsplash
It’s hard to outline a grand water photography techniques plan because water is like photography, there are a million ways to approach it.
While I won’t be covering “freezing objects in liquid nitrogen and then shooting them in a studio with a $400 backlight,” I will be covering the basics of how to make yourself feel more at home shooting all sorts of things while soaking wet.
Table of Contents
Water Photography Tips in the Rain
The first tip I have for water photography is to get over being wet. Yes, it sucks; yes, it makes you a better photographer. See what I mean in the video above by Alen Palander.
If you’re only in the photography game for easy shots then you’ll never grow your business. Photographing in the rain is a great way to get yourself out of your comfort zone and to get photos that a lot of other photographers are never going to get themselves.
One of the reasons I became an adventure photographer was to photograph parts of the world that most people will never get to see in real life, and photographing in the rain follows the same line of reasoning.
Do you want people to be astounded by the shots you get? Then start photographing during storms.
Just because I claim to be okay being uncomfortable doesn’t mean I don’t have a few tricks up my sleeve. One of these tricks is the Camera Canopy, an affordable way to keep my camera and lens dry during all day shoots and treks through the jungle.
We’ve all been in a situation, even if just with your phone, where you get caught out in the rain and immediately all of your gear (including your technology) is soaked.
You never quite give up the whole time you’re out in the rain, rearranging your equipment to hopefully shield some of the unwieldy raindrops, but in your heart you know the damage is already done.
Well, after a few years of searching for products to remedy this situation, especially as my cameras and lenses grew more and more expensive, I came across Camera Canopy online.
Camera Canopy Camera Canopy is a relatively small operation, so they’re able to keep their products cheap. Just $88 will buy you one of these shields. It’s also one of the easiest products I’ve ever used to keep my equipment dry (no more dealing with those horrible bags). You just mount it to your camera’s hot-shoe mount and you’re ready to roll.
Once you have the right precautions set in place to protect your prized possession, you can begin by taking shots in the rain outside your home. No need to venture to Scotland to get started!
Tips for photographing in the rain:
Working With Moving Water
Photo by Johnny Brown on Unsplash
There are a few ways to photograph moving water and creating the movement is one of them. Splash photography has been used to sell delicious, ice cold beer and margaritas for what seems like centuries (though it can’t be more than a few decades) for a reason.
Splash photography puts the viewer into the photo. It’s 3-dimensional in a way most other photography isn’t. Plus, as you can see in the video below by workphlo, it’s pretty!
Tips for splash photography:
Water Photography at Home Using Reflections
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash
I remember a time when reflection photos were all anybody ever posted on their Myspace pages. The artsy kids found out about reflection photos and essentially, painfully, slowly killed them off with their middle school drama.
Well, I’m happy to report that reflection photography is making a comeback and in a big way. Reflection photography is moody like your first Myspace, but in a more respectable way. It pops up frequently in travel photography as a different way to exhibit a picture of the same old monument you’ve seen a thousand times.
Learn a quick water photography trick in the video below by Hayden Pedersen.
When you’re photographing in the rain, it’s important to remember to look for the chance to capture people or objects and their reflections. Reflection photography is also a beautiful way to capture landscapes, particularly over lakes in mountainscapes.
Tips for reflection photography:
Photo by Francis Taylor on Unsplash
You’ve definitely heard the age-old adage that underwater photography is for the trust fund babies in the photography world. While this may be true of professional underwater photographers, there are ways for you to join the party with only minimal equipment.
Underwater one-use cameras have been available since the early 2000s for under $20. So if you feel like challenging yourself, buy one from B&H and jump in the pool or ocean and start photographing!
If you later decide you’d like to continue to pursue underwater photography, there are cheaper options than expensive housing for your DSLR. Housing cases are available for your smartphone for under $100, and most work up to 50 feet underwater.
Chances are your buddy who loves to free dive and take pictures of models in ocean coves is actually just using their smartphone and some fun post-production tricks. See what’s possible with a GoPro in the video below by Science Filmmaking Tips.
Underwater photography tips:
With that, you have a few tips to elevate your water photography game. So, grab your gear, get out there, get wet, and take some epic shots!