Iguazu Falls are magnificent waterfalls cascading from the Iguazu River at the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. This spectacle of South America is a must-visit for travelers exploring either Argentina, Brazil, or even nearby countries like Uruguay and the bucket-list-worthy country of Paraguay. For most, visiting Iguazu Falls offers amazing experiences and is a once-in-a-lifetime venture, so it’s critical to capture the experience properly. Among the many tips for visiting Iguazu Falls is this: bring a camera! But how can visitors snap the best shots of these majestic falling waters? To answer that question, here are ten photography tips and tricks to snap a shot of Iguazu Falls that camera-wielders will want to print and frame.
10 Shoot Landscape Photos
It may seem self-explanatory, but when taking any photo, there are two orientation options: landscape (horizontal) and portrait (vertical). For travelers taking photos on a DSLR camera, they may be naturally inclined to shoot landscape, but with an iPhone, the default will be to take a photo with a portrait composition. When trying to capture such a vast landscape like these falls, this tall and narrow composition is limiting. Turn the iPhone sideways and shoot landscape to get as much of the impressive waterfalls in the frame as possible.
9 Implement The Rule Of Thirds
Take a look at some of the best photos captured by photographers of landscapes around the world, and it’s easy to see that the rule of thirds makes a photo more captivating. This composition rule suggests that when dividing the frame into thirds (horizontally and vertically), there will be four points of intersection. The most interesting shots focus on a subject that sits at one or two of these points.
For example, rather than framing a person looking at the waterfall in the exact center of the frame, put them in the right third of the image and the waterfall in the left third of the image. This creates a more visually pleasing, balanced frame.
8 Use A Wide Angle Lens
For a landscape as vast as Iguazu falls, travelers will want to shoot using a wide lens. With a DSLR camera, this may mean zooming out (if using a zoom lens) to the widest available setting. For travelers purchasing a lens for the trip, consider a 16-35 mm zoom lens for landscapes because this gives lots of room to play around with the frame. For travelers shooting on an iPhone, change the camera setting to the widest lens on the phone.
7 Take More Photos Than You Think You Need (Or Want)
Even a great photographer doesn’t get the ideal shot on the first try. When aiming to take a stellar photograph at Iguazu Falls, travelers need to be patient and diligent, taking many more pictures than they think they need. For example, if they’re hoping to get three nice photos of the falls to fill out a row of their Instagram grid, they should take at least 9–12 pictures of the falls, so there are lots to choose from. Chances are some photos will be out of focus, with someone walking into the frame accidentally or overexposed. Having more images than needed reduces the chance of being disappointed after the fact because it’s more likely the perfect capture is in there somewhere.
6 Carry An ND Filter
An ND (neutral density) filter or polarizer is a must-have part of a good camera kit when traveling in South America (and most parts of the world). The ND filter is a cap that the photographer puts on top of their lens, which helps cut out some of the light to prevent overexposure. On a sunny day at Iguazu Falls, this comes in really useful.
5 Use Long Exposure
Long exposure shots are a dreamy way to photograph waterfalls. Long exposure or a slow-shutter shot means that there is a longer duration of the shutter speed capturing the image so that any moving elements blur together. In the case of the waterfall, while the surrounding landscape remains sharp in a long exposure shot, the rushing water takes on a milky look that is simply magical.
4 Try Including A Subject In Your Shots
Consider changing up the frame of the image several times while at Iguazu Falls to get an interesting subject in the photo. Although the falls are an interesting subject in themselves, it’s a good idea to play around with depth by focusing on a different subject in the foreground (like a person, a bird, or a plant) and having the falls in the background. This simply creates a photo with a different look from all the other standard landscape shots of the falls to give some variety.
3 Bring A Tripod
To get the ideal photo of Iguazu Falls, bring a tripod along. Whether using a phone or a camera, having a tripod that is intended for use with that device is critical to make sure the camera is securely attached to the tripod plate. A tripod is helpful when taking photos with a digital camera to prevent motion blur and to ensure steady shots with long exposure. When using an iPhone, a tripod can still be useful because it enables travelers to put their phone camera on a timer and take some shots where they are subject in front of the falls.
2 Time Your Visit For The Best Lighting
Lighting matters a lot in photography, so travelers should think about what time of day they want to visit the falls. Ideally, sunrise or sunset creates the most magical lighting for a warm orange or yellow hue. Due to park opening hours, this may not be possible, but the early morning light when the park opens at 8 AM is still softer and easier to photograph than harsh direct lighting around noon or 2 PM. Plan the visit around the best lighting of that day.
1 Do Some Post-Editing Using A Photo-Editing Program
These days, capturing the photo is only half the work. Then, it needs to be brought into an editing app like Lightroom or Photoshop and edited. Adjusting the color, brightness, and exposure, cropping the image to change the composition, and editing out tourists using the spot tool within the application are all possibilities after the fact.