When considering landscapes as a photography subject, it's imperitive that you take the emotional impact of the geography into consideration. Some landscapes demand your attention. Dramatic waterfalls and remote mountains make a strong impact on a person's consciousness. Lakes, on the other hand, often provoke a different emotional response entirely. While they can certainly be impressive, they are more often characterised by their quiet beauty or reflective calm.
Below, we'll look some incredible photographic inspiration for any trip to the lakes, but first we're going to cover a few simple tips that can get you closer to capturing something unforgettable!
Reflections are obviously a key feature of many great lake shots, but don't shy away from using such a tried and tested approach merely because it has been done before. Capturing reflections of the sky or a prevailing weather system is often done most effectively at dawn or dusk - the colours are more dramatic and the body of water you're shooting is more likely to be still.
If you have them, it's definitely worth trying out a filter or two to help you control and enhance the reflection effect. A polarising filter will give you more control over the surface shine. A graduated neutral density filter will also help you make sure the sky isn't overexposed.
Find a Subject
If you're going out to take photographs of a lake (or several lakes) then obviously, in some sense, the lake is your subject. While this is great, it's worth bearing in mind that often people are drawn to images that grab their attention and make a strong statement - many landscape shots have a clear focus or point of engagement, it's worth finding something that will ignite curiosity.
When considering focus while shooting a reflection, it's worth experimenting with both focusing on the subject itself and focusing on the reflection. It may produce interesting results that can further guide your exploration. Other suggestions include looking for something out of the ordinary or incorporating human elements in the image. Boats, docks, and people themselves can greatly increase the interest of a photograph.
As an example, one of the best shots I have ever taken was of a body of still water at dusk. The scene was gorgeous, absolutely breathtaking, but it was made perfect by the silhouettes of a father and his two children fishing from the dock.
Capture Something Unique
As always it's even more rewarding to find a truly unique angle or take a beautifully original shot. Try moving through a variety of viewpoints to perfectly frame aspects of the landscape, capture the living nature of the landscape, or even go underwater! (using correct equipment only, I take no responsibility for waterlogged cameras and it may be cold...)
Now, onto a gallery of more than 60 inspirational examples of lake photography, enjoy!
Andrew E. Larsen
Paul Gabriel Pasztor
Prabhu B Doss
Kah Wai Lin
Here are a few links to really useful tutorials and articles that will teach you more about this type of photography:
- 11 Surefire Landscape Photography Tips
- Quick Tip: 4 Steps to Remarkable Reflection Photography
- Reflection Photography Tips & Tricks
- Photography Tips - Top 10
- How to Take Landscape Photos
- Achieve Beautiful Landscape Photos with a Neutral Density Filter
Share Your Own Images!
I hope you've enjoyed the above photographs and that they've inspired you to go out and capture something amazing for yourself! We'd love to see your favourite lake shots - just post a comment and link below. Also, feel free to link to any resources that you've found particularly helpful in this area.