Photo Guide: How To Take Photos of Waterfalls

Person infront shooting tall waterfall

Since the release of the NJspots Maps, the Waterfalls and Lookout Spots map has been one of the more popular maps, and rightfully so. In travel and social media, it seems like all the trendy influencers are taking photos in front of massive waterfalls. But here in New Jersey, we like to think you are looking to explore them for different reasons.

Whether you’re searching for tranquility, a swimming hole, or an excellent spot to take photos in front of the cascading water, we can all agree some impressive waterfalls can be found here in New Jersey. There are quite a few famous and well-visited falls in New Jersey, but you can always hike and find some additional ones that we outline on our map.

Suggested Resource: NJspots Waterfall Map

Equipment For Photographing Waterfalls

Before we start going over techniques and tips, you must show up to a waterfall like you “kind of” know what you’re doing. These are some things to bring or wear along your journey to the falls.

  • Tripod
  • 6 (or ten stop) ND (Neutral Density) Filter
  • Waterproof shoes (or ones you don’t mind getting wet)
  • Extra Socks
  • Plastic Cover for Camera & Lens
  • Microfiber Cloth for Cleaning Lens from Mist

Tips for Photographing Waterfalls

Now that you have all your proper equipment ready for your trek, it’s time to get your techniques ready. Like taking photos anywhere, the settings and setup will sometimes differ for every waterfall you visit. Remember a few things like the time of year, the area’s popularity, and the lighting when taking photos of the waterfall.


Yes everyone LOVES exploring the outdoors when it’s sunny out, but believe it or not, it’s easier to capture the flow of water when it’s cloudy or overcast, and there isn’t any harsh lighting for the water.


Like the weather, it’s also essential to time your photos of the falls. If it’s a popular area, get there early enough to miss the crowds. No one likes waiting for people to get out of the way or if it’s also a famous swimming hole.

Suggested: 5 Best Waterfall Hikes in Harriman State Park

Setting Up Your Camera

If you plan your timing and the weather correctly, it’s time to set up! Set your camera on a tripod for steady support, whether on a rock, ground, water, or anywhere you find the perfect angle. Make sure if your camera is near the water, you have a good weight (or grip) on it, so it doesn’t float away.

Ready To Get Those Smooth, Buttery Waterfall Shots?

, Photo Guide: How To Take Photos of Waterfalls

Best Camera Settings

After your camera is secure, time to have fun! To get that smooth waterfall shot, the key is to keep your shutter open on your camera and capture a long exposure. You must have an ND (neutral density) filter to accomplish this. Think of it as sunglasses for your camera lens that allows you to keep the shutter open without bleeding out the scene.

Open Your Shutter & Use Filter

Using the ND Filter is something that we suggest you practice with, perhaps with your kitchen sink running before you head out to the waterfall. Generally, you usually use a shutter speed between 0.5 and 2 seconds. For smaller waterfalls or trickles, you may find that the whole 30 seconds will work, too.

Waterfall Photo Wrap-Up!

As long as you have the correct equipment and set up, you should have no problem taking a few different shots, angles, and shutter speeds when you visit waterfalls. The key is ensuring you have an ND filter to allow your camera to be open to get those smooth water flows. Just remember to HAVE FUN!

Looking For Waterfalls In New Jersey?

Some waterfalls are mapped out throughout the state, including natural and artificial ones.

Discover More Around New Jersey