7 Ways to Photograph Water


Detail of wind generated texture on water


What is a photograph of water actually about? Here are some possibilities 

  • A straight record of a stream, lake or sea


  • Depicting the form that the water takes in relation to its surroundings


  • Telling a story: the journey of the water from spring to sea


  • A uniquely photographic point of view: freezing the movement of fast moving, powerful water


  • Exploring movement: illustrating the movement of the water within the still frame


  • Exploring metaphor: meaning derived not so much from the thing itself but from a less tangible, more symbolic connection to something other than what is in front of the camera


  • Abstraction: concentrating on the design elements within the frame

The above photo is not so much a photo of water, but a study of the temporary and ever changing texture and shape created by the combination of moving water and a fast shutter speed.

Next time you're out and about with your camera try to explore the subject matter in front of you in a slightly deeper manner. A simple technique is to ask yourself what attracts your attention. In the case of the above picture it wasn't the water that caught my eye, but the interesting shapes and textures on its surface and the opportunity to record the momentary reality passiing before me.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru