Why every photograph can benefit from water

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TM Water Photography

Why every photograph can benefit from water

Water in photography makes for an interesting subject. When we think of water on a tropical island, most of us think beach and ocean. However, there are many other ways water can add some pizazz to your photographs. Crashing waves bring excitement to an image, while crystal-clear reflections teleport you to a surreal world. Whether it’s a man-made waterfall, the ocean, views over the bay or a dew droplet, it’s all made up of the same element. Before rushing over to the beach, ask you photographer for other ways to add a little splash to your image.

Flowing water

Flowing water can add a lovely sense of movement to your landscape. If you want all the lines and ripples in the featured body of water to be smoothed out, your photographer will most likely use a slow shutter speed. These soft, dream-like images are very suitable for shooting lakes, or in case of a tropical island, bays.


For capturing a pin-point moment in the movement of water, such as a popping balloon, your photographer will choose the opposite route to the flowing water: a very fast shutter speed. A popular technique to capture it is to drop an object onto the surface of a body of water and capture the moment it hits the surface. Successfully capturing droplets in this way requires impeccable timing from both the model and the photographer. It takes a little practice and a lot of patience, but the results are well worth it.

Crashing waves

The best way to add some excitement to your photograph is to capture crashing waves. Curaçao’s landscape is very diverse and rugged cliff sides are the perfect place for these types of photo shoots. However, shooting near unpredictable water requires a few extra skills and some precautions. Be prepared to reschedule the shoot if the waves aren’t ideal that day. Look out for slippery or loose footing and be patient when your photographer needs to take extra precautions to protect his gear from the elements.


Like everything else worth doing in life, capturing reflections in water takes a little practice and a lot of patience from both the photographer and the subject. Your photographer needs to find the perfect shooting position, because reflections vary when you view the scene from different heights and angles. Like any other type of photography, proper conditions is key. Bright lights can cause the camera to under-expose, so your photographer might need to switch shooting positions depending on the sun.


Split imaging, which is a composition that includes half above the surface and half underwater, requires specialised equipment and techniques. People interacting with water is a magical thing, however, do realise that many things are out of your control. Whatever the water, light and other elements decide to do, it is up to you and your photographer to adapt to capture it. Visibility in the water is often key to spectacular images. Make sure you’re a strong swimmer and be able to hold your breath while posing. It is also important for the photographer to be sufficiently skilled in scuba diving (for fully submerged photographs) or a strong swimmer (for split images).


If you are not willing or are unable to deal with the unpredictable nature of shooting near natural water, you can always opt for shooting in a swimming pool or near a man-made waterfall. Man-made environments allow the subject and the photographer to control most conditions of the shoot, while still including water in the photograph.

When enjoying the world underwater or nature in general, it’s important to look and not touch and to respect the creatures’ natural habitat. 

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