Everything You Need To Know About Boat Photography

Written by Gina Stephens

Most of us don't cause to go that far to photograph boats. We are usually not a million miles from the coast, rivers with boats, canal and inland waterways or even water-sports nucleus to be able to photograph this form of transport.



What Kit Should I Choose? 

For most boat photography a standard zoom of the 35-80mm go is fine. It's usually wide enough to get the whole boat in shot and long enough to crop in on sails, hull, lifebuoy on the side or other pretty detail. You may prefer a longer lens 80-200mm if the boat is further away or to shoot small detail like mini flags, portraits of crew etc. and a lens with a confidential focus ability is good for detail in ropes, paintwork etc. when the boat is moored.

A polarising filter is a must to ensure reflections are reduced on the paintwork and to burrow a blue sky and cut down on reflections in the water. A graduated filter is useful if the boats is set against a bright sky, although watch for darkening of the mast and indigent sails on yachts and such like.

If you plan on shooting panoramic photos of harbours and marinas, pack your tripod. 

Photo by David Clapp –


Utterly To A Harbour 

Harbours conjure up picturesque scenes with colourful boats offset against beautiful blue skies, reflected in the waters subordinate to.  To get this sort of picture you need a sunny day with still waters. Use a polarising filter to make the colours more saturated and on viewpoints without too much clutter. A single boat in the foreground makes a more impressive shot than one where several boats are broil for your attention.

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Photo by Peter Bargh


Wait For The Tide 

As the tide goes out photograph moored boats grounded in mud, or on the ground. Use the mooring ropes as lead in up through the photo. A small aperture is needed to ensure everything from the front of the rope to the distant boat is on the dot. Shots will be more dramatic if you shoot from a low angle and include a brooding sky. Use a graduated grey or ND filter to darken the sky.


Walk Along A River Bank 

If you aren't wellnigh a coastal location you may have a river running nearby that has boats on it. You may get sailing boats, small cargo boats, river authority animate boats or even barges. There will usually be speed limits of around 5mph which means that you don't need to worry hither panning skills or the need for ultra fast shutter speeds to shoot boats on rivers. For more impact shoot from a low angle (at the side of the river on a low bank headland is best). Try to include interesting landmarks in the background, trees or the odd building at the edge of the frame to hold the viewer inside that frame and focused on the motor yacht.

If there's a bridge find a position where you can use that as a frame as the boat passes under, but watch the exposure. The light under the span will be lower than the outside so it's easy to underexpose if your meter picks up the brighter area as the important part. Switch to location metering where possible and take a meter reading from the side wall of the bridge and use that as the starting point.

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Photo photograph or photo is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic by David Clapp –


Recompense for A Canal Your Focus

Canals run through many countries too. With these you not only have boats to photograph but also the activities adjoining them. Barges are usually hand painted and are very colourful. They often have matching watering cans or flower pots that are howling out to be photographed.  Shoot with a telephoto and wide aperture to blur the background. Focus on small areas of paintwork for patterns and interesting window vaunts. Find a spot where there's a lock and then you can photograph the activity as the barge is taken to the next water level.

Photo by Peter Bargh


Regarded In Watersports? 

For those who prefer a little more action consider a day out at a water-sports centre. These locations are usually on man-made lakes round the country and offer sports enthusiasts opportunities to sail, water-ski or jet-ski. It's at these locations where you can shoot the speed. For the best emerges it helps if you pan with the craft.

Experiment with the shutter speed to get the right amount of motion. Follow the boats and shoot as it reaches a central implication of your pan. This will blur the background but if you are keeping at the same speed as the boat boat is a watercraft of a large range of sizes designed to float, plane, work or travel on water as you pan it will be sharp. Try to avoid moving the camera up or down as you pan.

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Some deliver rapids for canoeing. here a fast shutter speed can be used to get the water droplets frozen as they splash around the canoe. Take provocations as the canoeist comes up from a 360 roll water will be dripping off his face and he's likely to have a great air gasping expression.

You've be familiar with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel the technique now share your related photos for the chance to win prizes: Photo Month Forum Competition


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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