Water is a fantastic natural resource that can be used to create great photographs to be proud of. If you are looking to improve your images, including water as an element in your photos can work wonders. Water comes in many forms and can be a visually pleasing addition to a landscape or nature scene. It could represent the main point of interest in your photos or be a key part of your composition. At first, I would recommend identifying a water source you would like to capture, consider how to capture it and then create an image with impact. How you interpret a scene that includes water is purely a personal choice and depends on the water source you choose as your main subject. Here are eight ways to use water in photography to add impact:

1. The Sea

© Jeremy Flint

Many origins make up our planet’s water supplies, each of which provides a unique and wonderful way to use water in your images.

Oceans make up a vast amount of the globe’s water and make a great feature in sunsets and coastal scenes. Seascapes are visually attractive and satisfying to capture. Depending on your approach to photographing seascapes, the sea can provide images with a sense of calm and flow or a snapshot of rapid activity. For example, photographing water using a slow shutter speed can lead to more fluid and interesting images where there is a representation of the water’s motion and movement. Alternatively, shorter shutter speeds can be used to create fast and dynamic images of seas in a static-looking fashion.

You may represent the sea as a prominent feature in your images blended into the surroundings. Alternatively, you may use it as an individual element like crashing waves or flowing around rocks.

2. Lakes and Rivers

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Lakes, rivers, and streams can also add beauty to your images and can be found in cities and the countryside. These water sources provide a unique addition to a natural or urban landscape and are a great way to include water in your landscapes.

They can look great at different times of the year such as frozen rivers in the colder, winter months. Rivers, lakes and streams also provide reflections and symmetry when the conditions are still and calm. If you are heading out with your camera to photograph a lakeside or river bank, keep a look out for reflections that may be worth photographing.

© Jeremy Flint

3. Waterfalls

There is something about a waterfall that provides a universal appeal. Waterfalls are such an incredibly attractive subject to photograph that it is hard not to be in awe of their majestic beauty, especially at first sight.

© Jeremy Flint

Have you ever stood for a moment beside a waterfall and just admired its sight and sound? Observing the waterfalls flow and listening to the sound of the gushing water is a joy to behold. Also, witnessing the view and taking in its scenic splendor is a mesmerizing experience. How you choose to include a waterfall in your image is entirely your choice. You may find they look great individually or can be incorporated as part of their wider environment to show the surrounding nature.

4. Mist & Fog

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The water vapor that makes up mist and fog is a beautiful and atmospheric way to include water in your photographs. They make a great dreamy photo where mist and fog can provide an ethereal and elegant quality to your photography. They are well worth the effort in capturing them.

© Jeremy Flint

Although their appearance is often unpredictable, these elements are well worth the effort in capturing and can be used to generate spectacular images when included in your shots. Be aware that mist and fog can move quickly and consistently with the ability to disappear in an instant.

5. Snow

© Jeremy Flint

Photographing snow is another wonderful way to add water to your images. As taking photos of falling snow could end up with your gear getting wet, I would recommend taking images of snow after it has settled.

In terms of subjects, you could capture anything from a gorgeous snowy vista to portraits of people or animals. A white winter wonderland will be sure to elevate your images.

6. Shooting in the rain

Have you ever considered rain as a great water source to include in your images? Most people tend to head straight indoors at the first sight of rain. Why not break this trend and head out to photograph in the rain. Rain provides an interesting element that can be used to transform familiar scenes into something more refreshing such as cityscapes.

7. Reflections in puddles

With heavy rains, the residue water can lead to great puddles forming that give the opportunity to capture reflections. Puddle reflections are captivating to photograph. Subjects and scenes reflected in water provide a unique way to photograph the world around us as the water acts as a mirror and gives a different perspective on something ordinary.

8. Underwater photography

Take your camera below the water to discover the delights of underwater photography. There is an entirely different world of coral and marine life beneath the surface of our oceans. Of course, you will either need a waterproof camera or waterproof housing to protect your camera from the elements.


Whether you choose to photograph the sea, lakes and rivers, waterfalls, mist and fog, snow, rain or reflections; using water in your pictures is a great way to make your images stand out. Find the water source you want to photograph, identify a composition you like, take a shot and share your images of what you capture with us below. What other fun ways would you like to suggest to include water in your photography?


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