View Full Version : Water photography input

07-20-2010, 03:39 PM
Hello! I was recently out in western PA with a friend doing an Avatar: The Last Airbender photoshoot, and I was hoping to get some input on a few of the pictures I liked the most from our shoot at a local waterfall. These are shots I'm particularly fond of, so I'm hoping to find out what makes them work, what works against them, or could make them work better! The costume is at http://www.cosplay.com/costume/312520/




07-20-2010, 06:16 PM
I don't like the second one, the water looks really murky and brown. So if you have photoshop, or anything where you can take a brush tool (gimp would work) and set the brush opacity to a very light shade, you could color the water a more blueish tone.

On the third one, adding more shadows and highlites can give an image more depth and make it appear higher as well.

The last one is amazing... How did you manage that?

07-20-2010, 06:27 PM
The last one we achieved with a very well aimed bucked of water, and a high shutter speed. Her younger brother aimed and hurled the water while I timed the picture. After a few practice shots, it wasn't too hard to get the water to do what we wanted.

07-20-2010, 10:05 PM
That's really cool. It came out really well.

07-21-2010, 09:14 AM
What an interesting set! Seeing photographers work with water is really enjoyable. Youíve given us some fun shots to look at

A general critique is that the shots are all very grainy. Was your ISO set very high? Or are these scans of printed photos?

Photo 1 - Nice shot of the costume. Highlights are blown out. Looks like you left the shutter open longer to catch the movement of the water. When doing this, close down your f/stop (put it on a higher number) to let the light in more gradually.

Photo 2 - I disagree that the water should be altered. Water comes in all sorts of colors. Instead, crop in closer to the subject so the brown doesnít dominate.

Photo 3 - This one is my favorite, because of the unusual angle. Watch the edges - you cut off her fingers.

Photo 4 - Love the movement and shapes of water. Donít love the tilt. It distracts from the water and fights with the horizontal line your subject is standing on.

All in all, itís a good start! Thereís a few things to work on, but nothing too drastic. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

07-21-2010, 01:06 PM
@ ByeByeBeautiful: Thanks for the critique! Now that you mention it, I remember unintentionally fiddling with the ISO beforehand, which might have done it. I've got only a basic understanding of how most of my camera functions, which I think is something that I really need to fix. Is there any where you can point me to for camera education? >:

07-21-2010, 09:12 PM
You're welcome!

Okay, ISO - The higher the number, the less light needed to take a picture. At night or in dim hallways, you can get decent shots if the camera ISO is set on a high number.

The problem is the camera isn't actually receiving enough light. Instead, it's guessing where the light probably is. This is what creates the "grain." Cameras are very bad guessers. :/

Shoot lower ISO whenever you can. Anything over 400 is going to get grainy. I try to keep my shots 100 or 200, which is fine for most daylight shooting. Take some test shots with different ISO settings. If the shot is too dark, try opening up the aperture (lower f/stop numbers) or increasing your exposure time to get enough light to the camera.

I know this can be a lot to remember. :P Your best education is going to be actually shooting. What you're doing right now is a great start! If you're looking for more foundation work, hit the library. I picked up "Photographing Your Family" from National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. This isn't a Bible by any means, but Sartore's work is approachable and colorful.

I'm sure everyone else has their own recommendations. :D

09-04-2010, 05:47 PM
Okay so I'm no real photographer (and I just realized that this is really late, so I'm sorry), so I'm not going to be able to give super technical feedback, but here's what popped out at me:

1- I like this one... although I agree, it does seem a bit grainy. Although it seems ByeByeBeautiful gave some nice tips, and I'm certainly not going to be able to give you anything better XD Other than the graininess I don't see anything wrong with the first one

2- It's a gorgeous place! And if there hadn't been a cosplayer there I would have loved it for a nature shot... it seems like a whole lot of extra stuff around her. It seems like, to me, if you cropped it down a bit, or if she'd been surrounded by all one thing (like the trees, for instance) it might have been a bit easier to take in. And the brown of the water would also be less noticeable if the entire picture were cropped a bit.

3- Well at least she wasn't afraid to get her outfit wet! It made for a very realistic (relatively speaking) photo, I think. If she'd been more out of the way it would have looked kind out of character. I love the perspective and how relaxed she looks--the angle isn't quite steep enough to make it feel apprehensive, to me. Which is good, I think, for the character. The only thing about this one that bugs me is, as stated above, her fingers are chopped off. Other than that, I love it.

4- The only two things that bother me about this are the angle of the camera (and I hadn't noticed it until it was mentioned, but I can't unnotice what has been noticed) and the fact that her hands are moving so fast they're blurred. Personally I would have preferred her hands to be in that position, perhaps, or in a position that looked like they were moving, but more still so that it didn't look quite as much like she was waving her hands about like crazy. (Okay I'm exaggerating, it's not that bad at all, but it might have been nice to see them more still.)

Overall I really like these! And I'm sorry again that this is such a late post, I was almost done writing before I realized that this was an older thread.

09-05-2010, 08:14 AM
Was your ISO set very high?

I second this. Tone down the grain. Open the aperture to compensate for light loss, and you'll have the added advantage of getting more depth of field (blurry background)

09-27-2010, 04:37 AM
I took the 2nd picture to see what would happen with the changing of the water. and the blue doens't really look right to me for some reason so i do think the murkyness does fit well looks more natural

09-27-2010, 06:32 PM
I took the 2nd picture to see what would happen with the changing of the water. and the blue doens't really look right to me for some reason so i do think the murkyness does fit well looks more natural

While it's certainly a matter of opinion, I think blue water can work with some success.


Although, blue water indicates clear and clean water and would have reflections. I think it works with or without reflections though.


Kawaii Pocky
10-05-2010, 11:59 PM
I think all the photos looked great, but the brown water was kind of icky. I kind of like the blueness better cause it looks nicer. But I agree the brown murky water looks more natural. I'm not sure if it's just me but it looks like all the photos have a graininess to it, and I'm not sure if that was intentional or not.

10-06-2010, 10:56 PM
Wow, I really appreciate all the input! And yes, definitely had an iso issue. I was screwing with the iso and exposure times and never set some of the settings back >_<. That said though... I think the brown water may look muddy, but that's just natural... the blue honestly makes me feel like it's golfcourse water.

10-15-2010, 01:13 PM
So just my thoughts....

First they look a bit noisy/grainy (may just be the compressed versions uploaded not sure).

I like the slower shutter speed to capture the water movement but the f.stop seems to have been a bit too high. If you have it in RAW I would suggest bringing down the highlights a bit so they are not so blown out.

The second shot I like the composition - I do think the water is a bit off. Being in Virginia I know it's hard to find a waterfall area where you have nice clear water. Did you use a polarizer filter? I would try one to see if you could get more through the water, but it may not do any good.

The third I really like, cut it a bit to close but the angle and perspective came out great ;)

The 4th I also like, it came out well and that can be tough when you are trying to get timing just right. =)