Moving water can be the beginning of a beautiful photograph. While streams and waterfalls are common subjects for such images, don’t feel you have to leave your house to create fantastic images of water in motion. The truth is you can do pretty well in any room of the home that has a faucet.
Considerations when learning how to photograph water pouring from a faucet:
- Appearance — the appearance of the faucet and sink can be an important part of your image. Do you want a sparkling new fixture and receptacle, or would your shot be more interesting if you picked the rusted faucet and stained sink in an outbuilding?
- Speed — use a slow shutter speed to blur the water coming out of the faucet for an artistic effect, or go to a very fast shutter speed to freeze each drop in motion.
- Volume — a lot or a little? Perhaps just a drop will do.
- Color — water comes out clean, but there’s nothing to say you can’t used a color filter on your lens or flash to dress things up.
- Distance — do you catch the stream suspended in mid-air or dropping to the bottom of the sink?
- Camera angle — do you want the shot to be level with the faucet, above it looking down or below it looking up, straight on or from the side?
- Props — do you want to have the water splashing on the sink bottom or pouring into a glass?
Once you’ve figured out what kind of look or looks you’re going for, the next thing to do when learning how to photograph water pouring from a faucet is plan how you’re going to capture the image.
Improving your chances of success
When pursuing a shot like this, there are several things you can do to improve your chances of getting the best images possible.
- Use a tripod — keeping the camera in a specific position will help you maintain composition and will make other aspects of the shot easier.
- Use manual focus — there’s no sense trying to rely on auto focus for a shot such as this. You know where the camera is going to be (on a tripod if you followed the previous suggestion) and you can tell where the water is coming from and where it will be going. Also, make sure you pre-focus before turning the water on.
- Use a lot of light — pumping out the light either via flash unit or continuous light will let you close the lens down and take advantage of the sharpness the increased depth of field it offers. Stay aware of the affects of different types of room lighting on your image’s color balance.
- Use a remote trigger — a release cord or wireless remote will let you trigger the shot without moving the camera while you open the faucet. If you have someone to help you, the release cord won’t be as necessary. If you don’t have access to either, then plan on a long exposure (a second or more), use the self timer and wait until the shutter fires, then start the water.
Plan on taking a lot of shots since the timing can be real tricky, but plan on shooting in single shot mode rather than continuous. Experiment with different shutter speeds, camera angles and compositions.