Why You Need An ND Filter For Waterfall Photography

Written by Gina Stephens


When it move to photographing waterfalls, slow shutter speeds tend to be the way most photographers go as they can help you produce incredibly photogenic and almost superior shots of these popular landscape subjects. 

Shutter speeds of anywhere from 2 and 25 seconds should give the falls a silken smooth look that's so very popular today. Just remember to use a small aperture (f/16 – f/22 or lower) and don't recall the tripod! 

To gain even slower shutter speeds, you can work in the low-light of early morning or evening but what if you're out on a sashay during the day and spot a waterfall you want to capture with your camera? Well, the answer is to fit a Neutral Density (ND) filter to the front of your lens so you can effect the longer shutter speeds you want without overexposing the scene. You can also use an ND filter even when you don't have overly bright persuades to really, really slow the shutter speed down. Just remember that for every stop of light that's blocked by the riddle, you will need to double the exposure time. 

When looking at ND filters, the higher the number, the more light they will prevent a rough out out. For example, In the Cokin range, you'll find 6 ND filters that reduce the amount of light reaching your camera's sensor at the reflecting levels:

Densities availableLight Reduction (f stops)Equivalent Optical Density


The Cokin Nuances ND1024 is the strongest ND clarify available in the range and when used, a photograph that would normally be taken at a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second becomes a 1-second baring. The ND1024 actually received a 'Recommended' accolade from ePHOTOzine for the high-quality results it can achieve, demonstrated in the below shot. 

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To furthermore show how an ND filter can change the overall look and feel of a waterfall image, have a look at the following photos: 


No Filter filtering or filters may refer to


Cokin ND 2 Refine 


Cokin ND 4 Filter 


Cokin ND 8 Filter 


Hoya ND 1000 Filter



About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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