Outdoor Fountain Photography Tips

Have you ever seen a water feature that looked so amazing you just had to get a picture of it? Maybe it was at a park, in your local downtown area, or on vacation somewhere.

Whatever the case, sometimes you just have to get a shot. But capturing an image of something like a fountain can be tricky. Objects in motion need to be photographed a certain way to really capture their beauty. Here’s all you need to know to get the best fountain shots.

tips for photographing fountains

Photo by Kevin; ISO 100, f/29.0, 1/30-second exposure.

The most important thing to consider when photographing a fountain is the look you want to capture. The two main looks with fountains are a surreal type shot where the water appears to flow endlessly or a frozen in time shot where you can see each individual drop of water. Both can make for truly impressive pictures; it just depends on what look you like better.

For a surreal photo, a long exposure is paramount. One to 8 seconds is a good range here. You’ll have to play around with the exact amount of time to figure out how long you need to get the water looking as smooth as you want. Obviously this can be quite a long time to hold a camera steady, which means a good tripod is in order. The last thing you want is to get your shot only to see that it’s come out blurry due to shaky hands!


An appropriate aperture is also crucial for getting that perfect fountain picture. Generally, anywhere from f/2.8 to f/8 will work well. A smaller (larger number) aperture will give you more depth of field, but it makes it considerably harder to get a real smooth look with the water unless you’re shooting in an environment with very little light. A wider (lower number) aperture will capture more detail and make longer exposures easier, but it gives you less depth of field.

Shutter Speed

When going for that frozen in time look, use the widest aperture your camera can do so you get your shutter speed as quick as possible. For shutter speed, 1/500 of a second is a good start. Using the shutter priority option on your camera can make things easier; you just set the speed you want and let the camera make adjustments to the aperture so you get the right exposure.

outdoor fountain photo tips

Photo by Dmitry Kolesnikov; ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/3200-second exposure.

A few final tips before we go. As always, keep the ISO as low as possible so you don’t lose any of the intricate details of the fountain and water you’re photographing. It’s also a good idea to use a wide angle lens, as it lets you fit more in the image. It also lets you create different perspectives and distortions to put emphasis on certain objects in the shot.

When it comes down to it, the most important thing to do when trying to get the perfect fountain shot is experiment, experiment, experiment. Play with different apertures, compositions, and shutter speeds to find what gives you the image you’re looking for and you’ll be a fountain photography expert in no time!

About the Author:
Jessica Thompson is a writer with OutdoorLiving and an outdoor enthusiast. Her hobbies include gardening, photography, and running.

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2 responses to “Outdoor Fountain Photography Tips”

  1. Jaswinder Singh says:

    very helpful.

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