One of the most elegant subject in landscape photography are waterfalls. The world is full of these wonders; our country alone would have thousands of waterfalls. There are many different types of waterfalls; from cascade, plunge, multi step, tiered, punch bowl, etc. Each would have its own beauty to behold. Here are some tips that I can share for those who wish to photograph waterfalls. The tips are based on my experience and countless times photographing these subjects.
1. Include interesting layers in your composition. From mossy rocks, to flowers, to curved lines of cliffs. Add these layers as anchor points to your photos.
2. Use slow shutter to have that bridal veil effect. Technique plays an important part if photographing waterfalls. A shutter speed from ¼ to 4 seconds is the optimal, it blurs the water but still leaves enough details. Long exposure can also work for strong or bigger waterfalls, 30 seconds to 1 minute usually works for me.
3. The DIAGONALS. Inclusion of dynamic lines such as diagonals or curves is a sure hit in any visual design. It leads the eye of the viewer to the waterfall. Diagonals can be found from rocks to the shape of the shoreline of the river.
4. The REFLECTION. In any waterfall environment, it is often that shallow pools of water forms around the area. Look for reflections and use this as your foreground element. Don’t forget to use a CPL filter to enhance the reflection.
5. The TOP VIEW. For certain types of waterfalls such as punchbowl, it can only be viewed from the top. Try to use the cliff as your leading lines, curves are also dynamic lines.
6. The INTIMATE. Photographing waterfalls is not exclusive to wide angle lens, certain type of waterfalls such as multi-level/steps would be better if shot with a telephoto and highlight details.
6.The INCLUSION of ICONIC elements. If the waterfall is beside a mountain, include it your composition, use the waterfall as your foreground element that leads towards the landmark.
I hope these tips will provide a jumpstart to photographing waterfalls. Research nearest waterfalls in your area. From Metro Manila some waterfalls worth visiting are from Laguna, 2 hours drive such as Pagsanjan falls, Kalayaan twin falls, Liliw waterfalls, etc.