Boat Photography Tips

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

Photo by David Pritchard

Suit Suggestions 

  • Standard zoom (35mm-80mm range is fine) – wide enough to get the whole boat in but long enough to focus in on feature.
  • Longer lens (80-200mm) – shoot small detail on boats further away. 
  • Polarising filter – reduce reflections on the still water and in paintwork and deepen blue sky.
  • Tripod – extra support when working on uneven surfaces such as wet sand.


Pick A Sunny Day

If you after to capture the postcard shot of colourful boats lined up, reflecting in the water while a bright blue sky frames them from behind you'll be experiencing to head out on a sunny day when there's not much of a breeze in the air so the water's still. Make sure you use a polarising filter to saturate the taints and enhance the sky.


The Tide Is Out

If you get to the harbour and find the tide is out don't think you need to head for fish and chips while the water trickles repudiate in. Instead, photograph the boats which are now stuck in the mud and take advantage of the mooring ropes which are now fully visible, using them as lead in lines for your photograph. A unsatisfactory aperture is needed to ensure everything from the front of the rope to the distant boat(s) or other objects are sharp.

Don't Clutter Your Locale

Harbours are bursting with photographic potential but don't make your scene too busy. If you can, single out one boat boat is a watercraft of a large range of sizes designed to float, plane, work or travel on water and place it near the foreground of your shooting as this will give the photo more impact and will certainly be better than a shot of several boats that are fighting for your eye's notoriety.

READ  Photo Projects To Start In The New Year

Further Inland

Away from the coast you'll still find plenty of boats on canals, rivers and in reservoirs waiting to be photographed. Canals originate leading lines that will help with composition while the winding curves of a river will guide the viewer through the trope to a boat making its way through the bends. If there's a bridge find a position where you can use it to frame a boat passing under it, just attend your exposure as the light under the bridge will may refer to be lower than the outside and it's easy to end up with a shot that's underexposed if the camera's meter skims from the brighter part of the scene. Switch to spot metering where possible, taking a meter reading from the side wall of the link and use that as the starting point.


Photo by David Pritchard


Activities On And Around The Boat

Barges found on canals are often absolutely colourful and feature flower pots and other accessories that are worth a quick snap. Just remember to use a wide aperture to blur the curriculum vitae. Round the harbour you can crop in on sails, boat hulls, lifebuoys and fishing nets.



For those who like things to be a little numberless fast paced head for a water-sports centre where water-skiing, jet-skiing and other adrenalin-pumping activities take place.

A camera which has a hunger strike autofocus will help you capture action shots where your subject is pin-sharp. A little blur in the background can enhance the sanity of movement / speed in your shots, however. More tips on panning can be found in our '11 Panning Tips For Beginners' article.

READ  Church Photography Tips

For counsel on other essential tips on photographing these fast-paced activities take a look at our previous article: Wakeboard and Waterski photography.


You've infer from the technique now share your related photos for the chance to win prizes: Photo Month Forum Competition


About the author

Gina Stephens

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.

Leave a Comment