How To Photograph Lakes

Lake photography tips: Learn how to photograph the lakes.

How to Photograph Lakes - Photography Tips
Lake Matheson West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand.

Think about your height

When photographing an expanse of water, height can make a big difference in your photograph. Getting down lower can often change reflections and allow you to capture foreground, close on the shore. A higher view will often let you include more water and less foreground.

Look for reflection

Reflections in lakes can make striking photographs even on bright sunny days, capturing the perfect mirror image. If you head out on a windy day, don’t expect any lake reflections as the water will be rippled by the wind. Often calm mornings are best for reflections as there is little breeze until the sun has risen.

Find a view

Most lakes are only as pretty as what surrounds them, otherwise they are just an open expanse of water. Find a view across the lake, this could be some distant peaks, amazing forest or an impressive sky at sunset. If the opposite lake shore/background is a long way away, you may need to use a zoom lens to bring it closer and make it a stronger focal point.

Frame with some foreground

Finding some foreground in your lake photograph will help to add some depth in an image. The foreground could be quite subtle e.g some bankside vegetation or it can be used as a stronger element and the main focal point of the image; like a classic jetty shot.

Lake Matheson offers one of the most perfect lake shots in New Zealand, it is one of the many lakes we vist as part of our 7-day West Coast Tour and our 17-day South Island Highlights photography tours, join us to learn how to photograph lakes and capture this iconic location.

About the Author
Richard Young is a full-time landscape and wildlife photographer based in Wellington. He has been guiding groups of photographers in New Zealand since 2010 and founded New Zealand Photography Workshops in 2013.

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