First off, sorry Android users, this one’s for us Apple nerds. If anyone has a preferred method of long exposures via Android devices, leave me a comment below. I’d love to pick your brain for a how-to guide.

Long exposures are particularly popular in waterfall photography. There is something peaceful and beautiful about moving water captured in time while the rocks and logs it flows over sit dormant.

For years, a long-exposure waterfall shot would require a worthy digital or film camera and ideally a remote shutter, and you would need to know your light, aperture, and ISO. It wasn’t something everyone could do. Well that’s changed. Thanks to iPhones, you now have a long exposure imagery machine sitting right in your pocket.

Keep in mind: you can shoot amazing long exposures of just about anything with Live Photos. I chose waterfalls because they are one of the most popular subjects for this type of photography and are easy to shoot.

finding waterfalls

Step 1: Find A Waterfall

If you’re anywhere near or in the mountains, finding a waterfall is a pretty easy task. A quick Google Search should reveal a plethora of opportunities near you. I live in Asheville, so the hardest part for me is deciding which one to shoot. This technique works well on any size waterfall, but remember: the lower and closer you can get, the better the result will be.

Step 2: Take A Live Photo

Open your camera and make sure the Live Photo icon is yellow. This is the little icon at the center/top of your photo screen and it should be yellow (if it’s white, it’s off). With Live Photo on, line up your shot and snap away. Make sure you keep your phone as still as possible when taking Live Photos. A nearby rock, tree branch, or even your knee can make for an easy makeshift tripod. If you need more help with Live Photos or using your iPhone’s camera, Apple has some great support articles.

Pro Tip: Try not to drop your phone in the waterfall.

Step 3: Swipe Up

Now select your newly taken photo and swipe up. It will display the Effects panel with four options: Live, Loop, Bounce, and Long Exposure. We’re going to be using the Long Exposure option. The phone will take a minute to work its magic. After a couple seconds of waiting, you have a lovely long exposure of a waterfall right from your iPhone.

If your photo turns out a little blurry, you might need to retake it. That’s where those natural tripods come in handy. Any nearby rock, tree branch, or even your knee can help. Live Photos are essentially little videos. Any movement will make your long exposure blurry.

iphone long exposures of waterfalls

Step 4: Share That Beauty!

Now that you’re a professional iPhone photographer, upload your new long exposure to Instagram to show the world just how awesome you are!

Bonus Step: Upload and Tag Us On Instagram

Upload your new long exposures to Instagram and tag us for a chance to be featured in a post and stories on this article. We’ll of course tag you back. If you don’t already, follow us on Instagram.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting!