How to Take Good Pictures of a Boat

How to Take Good Pictures of a Boat

by Sam Owens on October 31, 2017


Start with a clean, uncluttered boat in a nice location. It seems simple but take a look at my samples above:



Get the boat off the dock or trailer! It is important to get the buyer's eye focused on what you are selling, not the garage, telephone pole or other boats in the picture. Use additional pictures to show off that lovely cover or shiny trailer, but not the feature photo.


The Camera is important but with the strides in camera phones today unless you have an SLR with a $1,000 lens you should be able to create some great photos with your phone. With that said, having a camera with wide-angle lenses, multiple settings and an external flash, it's hard to beat that quality.


Camera/phone basics: Use the highest quality setting available. If you have an HDR setting use that to help even out lighting issues.


Lighting: Time of day can set the mood for a picture. With the sun high in the sky, you will avoid most shadow issues. Otherwise, make sure the sun is behind you (between you and the boat). Cloudy days can create some of the best photos due to the filtered sunlight. For interiors try shooting the same picture with the flash on and then off. And, don’t forget to turn on all the lights.


Framing: Notice in the above samples GOOD pictures are almost filled left to right with the boat. The BAD picture on the left is way too tight. My guess is they were trying to avoid showing what is behind and around the boat. Find a good location without much background to take your pictures. Also, make sure you get a good side profile otherwise yours may look like the BAD picture in the middle. When shooting interior pictures of Staterooms, Heads etc your camera may not have a wide enough angle to properly show the complete area. Make sure to stand as far back as possible before taking the picture. Always hold the camera horizontal, as most sites are not set up to accept vertical pictures and will cut off the top and bottom portions.


Different angles: Most online sites allow for multiple pictures and I would suggest the following as minimums:

Outside (off the boat): All four side of the boat with the same framing mentioned above.  If the boat has a trailer take all four photos again (showing trailer). These would be good pictures to show off that wonderful boat cover.


On the boat: Standing in the center of the boat shoot toward the Bow and Stern, Move to the Bow and shoot toward the Stern and do the same from the Stern to Bow. If the boat has a beam of greater than 10’ shoot pictures to the Port and Starboard while standing in the center of the boat. This is where the wide-angle lenses make a difference.


Features on the boat: You will want to shoot the following as standards everyone will want to see; Engine(s), Driving station to include all electronics, Salon and Galley, Staterooms, Heads, Flybridge, Large storage areas and Crew Quarters.


Hopefully, your efforts will bring a buyer that continues to create new adventures on the water. Check out and our social sites for other ideas.