This article describes how to take pictures of running water with a mobile phone. When taking a photo of running water or a waterfall, it’s all about how you want the water to look in the photo. You want the flowing water to render milky streaks in your photo or the clearing water to create a glare. Change the camera settings on your phone.

A tried and tested app for taking photos of running water

When shooting running water, the idea is to set the exposure time as long as possible, no longer than 1/10th of a second. If your mobile camera doesn’t allow this, install the LightRoom app for Android or LightRoom for iPhone. This app allows you to control your camera settings and take pictures of flowing water. You will also be able to edit the photos instantly.

Setting up your phone to take photos of running water

  • The app allows you to take photos in Automatic / Professional / HDR modes. To take photos of running water, switch the camera to Professional mode
  • Tap the SS icon and then drag the slider to the longest exposure time, depending on the type of mobile you can usually set 1/10 or even 1/4 second.
  • Mount the mobile on a tripod, shoot with an extremely long exposure time, when the camera will already show a slight hand vibration as a blur throughout the photo.
  • Press the remote shutter release, if you don’t have a remote shutter release you can also use the shutter timer on your mobile. Here too there is a risk of blurring the photo by camera vibration caused by touching the mobile screen.

When to take pictures of running water with a mobile phone

You will get the best results in the early evening or under cloudy skies. At midday in bright sunlight, the scene will be very bright for a mobile phone, and the contrast of light between sunlit and unlit areas can also cause problems. You will notice that your photo will be externally bright as if immersed in a milky haze. This can be addressed with additional ND filters on the lens. You can also try holding the glass of your sunglasses tightly against the camera lens of your mobile phone.

Photographing flowing water is an amazing adventure where you get to see many amazing corners of nature. The photos in this article were taken in the Satina riverbed in Malenovice.