Improve Your Lake Photography With These 18 Simple Tips
One of the best ways to add interest and variety to your landscape photos is to include water in the scene. Although I love to photograph seascapes, sometimes there’s no coastline nearby, or I’m looking for calmer waters. Lake photography is a great way to add water to your landscapes that gives a very different feel to seascape photography.
There are many different approaches to photographing lakes. You can make them the focus and main subject of your photos, or include them as part of a larger scene. Try these tips for better lake photography.
18 Lake Photography Tips
1. Go Wide
If you’re going for epic, all-encompassing lake photography, you’re going to want to go wide. A wide-angle lens will allow you to include the lake and the surrounding scenery into one frame. How wide you can go will depend on what lens you’re using, but I would recommend using the best wide-angle lens you can afford. Panoramas can be a great way to go really wide and capture even more of the scene.
2. Frame The Scene
You can add interest to a scene by finding natural frames for your photos. Using overhanging branches of trees on the lake edge, frame the scene by placing the leaves and branches around the edges of the photo. You can also try photographing the lake through a window or door if possible.
3. Use Side Light
Although you can create some great photos with the sun in front of the camera, if you want to create lake photography with depth, try using side light. Shooting with the sun off to one side of the scene will allow the light to fall on the scene in a way that shows the shape and depth of the landscape. It also means you don’t have to contend with the extreme dynamic range of bright sun and dark shadows in the scene.
4. Play With Long Exposures
Slowing down your camera’s shutter speed can create a beautiful long exposure look. Long exposures will give your lake photography smooth, silky water and clouds, as well as removing moving objects such as people. You can create long exposures by either putting a neutral density (ND) filter on your lens, or shooting during low light, such as blue hour.
5. Jetties Are Your Friends
There’s something about the meeting of natural and man-made elements that makes a great subject. I’m a sucker for a jetty or wharf when I’m photographing a lake. You can use a jetty to lead the eye into your photo and create contrast between the solid structure and the moving water.
6. Watch The Foreground
There’s a saying in landscape photography that also applies to lake photography: put a great foreground in front of a great background. Instead of filling your foreground with water, find some point of interest on the bank of the lake or in the water. It could be rocks, a log, a boat, or even wildlife.
7. Compose For A Great Background
The other half of the above tip is to look for a great background. If your foreground interest leads the viewer into the photo and on to a beautiful background, you’ll have a winner. Mountains make the perfect background to lake photography, but even if there are none, try to compose your photo so that it doesn’t include a large expanse of empty sky. Even interesting clouds can work.
8. Shoot Vertical
It’s tempting to always photograph the world the same way we see it – horizontally. As I mentioned in tip #1, you may want to go wide and capture as much of the scene as possible. However, consider shooting vertically, as it allows you to focus in on one part of the scene, often the most interesting part. This works especially well if you have a telephoto lens.
9. Lead The Eye
Another principle of landscape photography, leading lines can help to draw the viewer’s eye through your lake photography. The human eye naturally follows lines and shapes, so composing your photos in a way that takes advantage of this will make them far more visually satisfying. You can use anything from man-made objects such as roads and bridges, to any part of the natural landscape – mountain ridges, tree lines, even the lake shore.
10. Layer It Up
While we’re on the subject of shapes and lines, it’s worth considering your photos as a collection of shapes and layers. Every element in a photo is adding something to the scene. It’s your job to decide if you want more of less of it. Layering your photos can be very effective when done well. Think of the grass, sand, water, mountains, and sky as layers, and use them to your advantage.
One of the unique characteristics of lakes is how still they can be. This allows you to capture images with reflections in the water, which always look great. Capturing water that looks like glass isn’t difficult with lake photography. Your chances are much better early in the morning, so plan your photos for sunrise if you want stunning reflections.
12. Raise The Horizon
Unless the sky is particularly interesting, try minimising how much of it you include in the frame. I generally try to keep it to one third or less of the frame. This allows over two thirds of the frame to fill with what you came to photograph – the lake and the landscape. It also makes it easy to apply the rule of thirds.
13. Get Up High
Getting a higher perspective means you can capture more of the lake and the surrounding landscape. Sometimes you can even capture more scenery on the other side of hills that you wouldn’t be able to see from the ground. You can get a higher perspective with a drone or aeroplane, or by climbing to a high point such as a mountain or building.
14. Get Your Feet Wet
Sometimes you want to take the opposite approach and get as low and close to the lake as possible. This might mean getting your feet wet. Getting right down close to the water can make for some really interesting lake photography. Just make sure you don’t get your camera wet, and don’t put yourself in danger for the sake of a photo.
15. Look For Contrast
Another element that is known to draw the human eye is contrast. Finding contrasting elements in the scene can add interest where there has been none. Contrast can come in many forms – colour, brightness, and focus. It could also include contrasting subjects such as man-made and natural elements, as mentioned in tip #5.
16. Add A Human Touch
If there’s one thing that Instagram has taught us, it’s that people love taking photos of themselves. A human element can add something to your photography that nothing else is able to. You may not be comfortable on the other side of the lens, so it doesn’t need to be you, but try finding a willing model and placing them in the scene to make it come alive.
17. Capture The Lake’s Personality
Not all lakes are calm, tranquil places. Some are busy, or even ferocious. Every lake has its own personality, which can be defined by the topography, the weather, its uses, and even its popularity. Try to capture the unique characteristics of the lake in a way that shows its personality.
18. Mix It Up
Lake photography doesn’t need to be monotonous. Whether you live in Canada and have 2 million lakes to photograph, or live on an island with just a few, you can create a huge variety of different images using these tips. Taking a different approach to each photo and mixing it up can ensure you keep it interesting and come home with a ton of lake photography that you’re proud of.
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Lake Como Vacation Photographer
How much does a photoshoot cost?
Prices vary by city, ensuring you the best rates. Choose between 4 different photography packages that range from 30 minutes up to 2 hours. The high-resolution photos are professionally edited and delivered by email in a private online gallery within 5 business days. See pricing for your destination here.
What is a vacation photographer?
Book a fun experience with a local professional photographer who knows all the best photography spots, when the best light will be, and how to beat the crowds to capture magical moments without tons of other tourists in the background. Local Lens vacation photographers are artists that are handpicked for quality, style, & skill. Not only will they take amazing photos, but will edit them to be beautiful photo souvenirs you’ll treasure for years to come.
How will I receive my photos?
All photos are professionally edited and delivered in a private online gallery where you can download your favorite photos in high-resolution jpg format. Additional files and high-quality prints from our professional partner labs are also available for purchase. You should receive an email with your photography gallery link within five business days.
What is the best time for lighting and avoiding crowds?
We love to shoot during ‘Golden Hour’, the first or last hour of sunlight which helps produce a softer and more warm light due to the indirect sunlight that is evenly diffused. We highly suggest avoiding anytime between noon and 2 pm, since they tend to be the busiest and brightest times of the day. Check out our Golden Hour Calculator here.
How far in advance should I hire my photographer?
We’ll do our best to accommodate any last-minute bookings, but to ensure you get your preferred date, time, and photographer, we recommend booking at least 1-2 weeks in advance.
How do I choose my photographer?
First, request your dates to check availability in your destination. Once you receive an email response, you can reserve the date with your favorite photographer and start planning all the fun details!
How do I hire a surprise proposal photographer?
Your engagement is a story that you will never tire of telling. Capture it with beautiful professional photos that you’ll look back on for years to come. Request your dates and book your favorite photographer to begin. Choose your wedding proposal spot and the engagement photographer will be hidden and ready to capture the moment, paparazzi-style. Afterward, the proposal photographer will introduce themselves and you both can enjoy a fun engagement photoshoot to capture the post-engagement glow. These photos will be perfect for your official engagement announcement, wedding website, save-the-date cards, and wedding invitations!
How many people can join my photoshoot?
All of our photography packages are time-based. 1 hour is usually perfect for a family photographer session, but if you plan on having 6 or more people we normally recommend at least 90 minutes. However, the size of your party is ultimately up to you!
When you hire a photographer who owns the pictures?
You have the right to use the photos for personal use, so please share them, print them, and hang them on your wall! Your photographer and Local Lens retain the copyright of the photos. We would love to show off your amazing photos in our portfolio, but if you prefer to keep the photos private, just let us know.
What is your refund and rescheduling policy?
Our Peace of Mind policy offers free cancellations up to 7 days before your photoshoot:
- Reservations may be canceled up to 7 days prior to the shoot date for a 90% refund
- Shoot reservations canceled less than 7 days prior to the shoot: 50% refund
- We will attempt to accommodate any rescheduling requests, but we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so. Last-minute changes are also not guaranteed. Shoot time missed due to late arrivals may be forfeited, and the number of photos delivered can be adjusted to reflect the actual time spent together.
- All sales are final and there is no refund for canceled shoots within 24 hours of the shoot or ‘no-shows’.
- In the case of bad weather, exploring the city under the rain can be very exciting, and it will make for great photos (trust us!). If the weather is too unbearable, you can coordinate with your photographer to re-schedule or we will issue a full refund at our discretion.
Do ever get an idea stuck in your head and just have to do it? I’m very much one of those people; once I’ve got my heart set on something I want to make it happen. Immediately! Well, that’s how I felt a week ago.
I kept thinking about the song lyrics from Maggie Rogers song ‘Love you for a long time’. They are such beautiful lyrics: “If devotion is a river, then i’m floating away”. I’ve also always loved that scene from Parent Trap when Meredith is pranked by the twins and ends up asleep on a lilo in a lake! But I was thinking, ‘let’s make it romantic!’
When I told Russell this crazy little nugget of madness, he didn’t question it for a second. He was immediately on board and only asked how we’d protect our equipment (a very sensible thought…this is often an afterthought for me!)
I scoured Amazon for the perfect double lounger (thanks Prime for coming through!), et voila! An inflatable bed, topped with one of my bedsheets from home.
We arrived at the lakes, only to discover there were signs everywhere saying ‘no swimming’! Our hearts sank a little and we walked around for hour and half trying to figure our how we could do it, whether we would need a permit to go in the water, and how the hell were we going to get away with bringing a giant double lilo without security chucking us out and fining us!
Photography is a funny old game, in that things never go to plan. But as long as you think on your feet, stay calm and blag your way through like a champion, things always find a way of working themselves out! So we weighed up the penalty fair, figured it was worth the risk (I wouldn’t advise this, of course), and started shooting.
Jen and Adam were our incredible couple for this shoot, with a love story spanning 15 years! They first met when they were 12 years old, have always been best friends and after being in other relationships with other people, finally found their way back to each other and fell in love. And the rest is history!
This couple shoot might very well be one of favourites!
The video to see all the magic in action by Russell Kent Nicholls
A Guide to Lake Photography
We have given some tips on how to make perfect travel photos, let’s see how to take a perfect lake photo at this time!
With over 100 million lakes around the world, there are so many bodies of water for us to capture. Lakes are scattered all over the planet and come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. With our Fotorians about to start the lake photography mission.
For excellent quality lake scenes, photographers always go out in the early morning to capture the sunrise, they may even stay out late and finally the way for the sun to set. In advance, it’s good to get a predetermined location picked out, so you know where to setup and what scenery to expect.
Picking the perfect scene
Before heading out to shoot, it’s important to go out and look for prospects; a potential value of scenery can captivate and inspire you to wake up early. There are many lakeside objects to capture, a swaying boat, or a lakefront condo. Use those objects as a foreground and position the lake in the background for a unique shot.
If you find no scenery around that can be used as a foreground, try positioning a person in front of the lake with their back to the camera. This helps with depth perspective as well as giving you something to focus on.
Creating the feeling being one with the lake
Instead of the typical shot, standing on the shore, try getting out on the lake to get a different perspective. Different angles are going to create unique perspectives and give the viewer a sense of being there. This first person perspective also puts your boat at the foreground of the shot, helping your audiences get a perspective of the size of the lake.
The boat in the foreground is also a part of the beauty of the photo. Whether it is a rusty haul or a ripped spinnaker, these things are what make the vessel special. The ship should take over about 1/4 of the photo that way the rest of the scene is visible while still being able to capture the small details of the ship and give your photo some character.
Try zooming in with a big aperture and then use a flip-screen viewfinder, which most cameras have, to take a photo as if your audience was swimming in the lake.
The use of shore scenery and manufacturing a reflection
While shooting lakes, it should be noted that shorelines can create a great scene. Unique objects sticking up into the clouds or their reflection bouncing off the calm water.
In this photograph, the two most noticeable elements are the clouds which are like fire in the sky and the windmills that are neatly arranged along the shore. Without these windmills and the clouds in the sky, such a lake landscape is plain. We also can feel just how calm the lake is by seeing the reflection perfectly reflected like a mirror.
In the early morning or evening, because the low temperature, the water’s surface often creates a thin mist. Select the location where the sun is sure to hit, shrink the aperture and pay attention and reducing exposure, then you can shoot a golden mist scene.
Pay attention to the size of the lake
Remember that as a photographer, your mobility can’t be always limited. Step back from the shoreline to show the size of the lake.
When walking on icy lakes, pay attention to those parts that have no completely frozen, pay attention to the shape of the representative of the puddles, and take a low position to get the reflection in the puddle, using an ultra-wide angle lens, and with the puddle in the center position of the screen.
Or you can climb up to a place where you can overlook the whole or most of the lakes and use the shape of the lakeshore to show the size and vastness of the lake.
Focus on traces of human activity
In addition to focusing on natural lakes in this area, the human environment is also an indispensable aspect. Since the birth of human civilization, the waterfront is home to most of the world’s indigenous people. So lakes, of course often always hold traces of human activity, which are sometimes worth shooting.
Bring a waterproof camera and a partner to swim with, then shoot some photos with the camera half-way in the water can capture the depth of the lake and to see the horizon.
Follow the local fishermen or fishing enthusiasts to the lake and shoot them immersed in their favorite activity.
If you are shooting the stars of the sky, the location next to the lake is also a very good idea. The frozen or still lake can reflect the light of the stars and create a more eye-catching image. You can also keep your tent lit up; a bright color tent is more noticeable from a distance.
Unique views and exotic lakes
Lake Powell in Western Australia is one of the world’s rarest lakes. It boasts a natural pink color and is enthusiast photographers dream. Such a location should not be missed for perfect lake shooting.
The small lakes that exist in the desert are also rare. The simple geological formations and monotone tones generally present in the desert are the perfect backdrops for these precious diamonds in the rough.
In winter bound ice lakes, huge cracks can form in the ice and the water underneath becomes clear. These cracks create very beautiful lines, which show the magnificent power of nature.
Over the past couple years, getting a bird’s eye view is no longer just a fantasy. With the emergence of drones, a new creative space for photographers has emerged. Armed with a drone and a camera, take to the skies and see the lakes from a totally new perspective.
Throughout the world, there are beautiful lakes just waiting to be photographed. This mission we ask you to go out armed with any camera that you have and captivate some beautiful scenery.
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Photoshoot ideas lake
Summer is lake time and some of our most precious memories are made at the lake. Today I'd like to share with you tips and ideas to help you capture those lake days in photographs so that you can treasure them all year long. Here are 16 photo opportunities you'll find at the lake.
1) Sunrise and Sunset
There is nothing as stunning as the reflection of the sun as it rises and sets over a lake. If the sky is looking interesting grab your camera and take that picture!
2) Family and Friends
Getting together with family and friends is one of the best parts of being at the lake. Be sure to take some photos of the good times you spend with the people you love.
3) Your Favorite Spot
What is your favorite place to be when you are at the lake? Where do you look forward to spending your time when you are there? Capture this place in photos so you will always have a reminder of your happy place.
4) Your Lake Place
Whether you live on the lake, rent a cabin or go camping, get some photos of your lake place. Take pictures inside and out. Watch for interesting shots, like Jody Doll did when she took this photo of the sunset reflection in a lake cabin window.
5) Your View
When you think of your view of the lake, what picture do you see in your mind? Take some photos of that scene so that you can freeze it in time and remember it forever.
Nothing affects a weekend at the lake like the weather. Try capturing the storm clouds passing over (from a safe distance, of course), a rainbow over the lake or a quiet foggy morning while fishing. They make for an interesting photo and will help you tell your storm stories later on.
Lakes are an amazing part of nature, filled with beautiful and unique details. Capture the wildflowers, cattails and other vegetation along your shore and in the lake.
The lakes and surrounding areas are bursting with life. Watch for deer, ducks, loons, muskrat and other natural neighbors that you can photograph. Just remember to keep a safe and respectful distance between you and them.
If you like to go to the lake, chances are you spend some of that time in a boat. Whether you have or rent a fishing boat, pontoon, kayak or canoe, get some photos of the fun you have out on the water.
Boating leads us to fishing. The highlight of a lot of people's lake days are the fishing adventures, and they've got the stories to prove it. Get some photos of the fishing in progress and the results, too.
11) Water activities
On a hot day do you like to swim, paddle board, ski or just float? Get some photos of those summer highlights, but be sure to keep your camera dry!
Do you like to go hiking or exploring when you are at the lake? I know I do. Snap some photos of your lake adventures and maybe even get a friend to photograph you in adventure mode!
Relaxing at the lake is the best medicine around. Don't forget to photograph those quiet moments, too.
There is no better way to end a day at the lake than with a bonfire. Roasting marshmallows and making s'mores is a required activity at our lake place. Sitting around the campfire and visiting is a way to bring the generations together, too. Sneak in some photos of everyone relaxing together around the campfire.
Don't forget to photograph your pets at the lake, too. They are part of the family and can give you a new perspective on fun at the lake.
The lake is synonymous with summer for many people but it is beautiful all year long. If you spend other times of the year at the lake you have some interesting opportunities for unique lake shots. Grab your camera and do a little exploring in the fall, winter and early spring to see what you can find.
I hope these tips have sparked your creativity and have given you ideas for taking photos of your lake place. If you'd like a photo or collage of lake photos printed on canvas, contact me and I'll work with you to create a unique keepsake for you of your lake.
To get more ideas and see more lake pictures, check out my Instagram account. I'm currently in the middle of my 100 Days 100 Lakes Challenge where I'm taking photos of 100 different lakes in as many days. It's a fun adventure and I hope you'll join me!
He parted my ass and tried to penetrate it with his tongue. Ltd!. How exciting, how depraved !!. But no. Enough for the first time.
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