How to take the best boat photos

Adverts with numerous high quality images receive substantially more enquiries than those ads with limited or poor quality imagery. If you can present every detail of your boat, inside and out, it’s likely to be much more appealing to potential buyers. Your audience are looking to make a considerable purchase and a grainy photo isn’t going to cut it. 


However, taking quality photos doesn’t have to be a professional job. Smartphones are fitted with cameras that are more than sufficient for taking a successful shot. As long as you follow some simple steps, you’re sure to take photos that will be key to your enquiries increasing!


Lighting is everything

The most important factor of taking a good photo of your boat is lighting. Images can be seriously affected by too much or too little light. Too much and the image can be flooded with sun rays, too little and buyers will struggle to make out the key details. 


Ideally, you want to set up your camera with the light/sun behind you so that it can illuminate the boat as effectively as possible. When relying on the sun, it can be a problem when the sun is at its highest point as this can cause shadows to appear on the bow, causing the boat to lose its shape. If you can get a low level sun, in the morning or evening, the light will cover the boat, with minimal shadow coverage. 


The nature of your boat being on the water can cause trouble in itself. Reflections from the water can cause your photos to come out darker than usual. To solve this, experiment with different angles and times of day. If you’re using a camera with manual settings, adjust your shutter speed and aperture to get the right exposure. 


Position and composition

Your first image is key at grabbing a potential buyers eye. This is the shot where you want to highlight all of your boats most important features. Try a high angle to get a ‘three-quarter stern’ photo - this is a favourite with many of our brokers. 


A photographer favourite is to utilise the ‘two thirds rule’. This theory is the idea that your photos can be split into 9 equal parts, with two horizontal and two vertical lines splitting the shot into a 9 square grid. Within standard photography, it is known that your focal point should sit on one of the grid’s intersections in order to have the most impact. You can copy this rule over to your boat photos. Got a key part of the shot you’d like the viewer to focus on? Place it on one of the intersections for a better effect as this is where the eye is drawn. If you’re shooting on an iPhone or professional cameras, you can choose to display this grid on screen, making it much easier to line your image up. You can also use these guides to ensure that your horizon line is straight. 


Remember, experimentation is key and the more shots you take, the more you’ll have to choose from!



When writing your advert descriptions, you’ll be sure not to miss out any key features that potential buyers may find appealing. You should exhibit the same thorough practice when taking photos. Write a list of everything you’d want to see when buying a boat and ensure you have shots of all of these important areas. Don’t be afraid to use flash, it is vital that viewers can see all of the details. 


If you’ve got other people with you, there’s no harm in including some snaps of people on the boat. This gives an idea of size and also allows the viewer to visualize themselves onboard. 



Ads that have a video attached receive a much higher number of enquiries than adverts with just images. Photos can be deceiving, everyone knows that an estate agent can make even the tiniest of rooms look sizeable. However, with videos, what you see is what you get! A video will help your audience to see every aspect of the boat. This increases their trust in you as a seller. 


The key thing to remember when building your ad and collating your visuals is that the more you can showcase, the more interest you’re likely to build. What would you like to see if you were looking to buy? Have you included all angles and details? If you’ve got it up to the standard that you’d be happy to buy from, then you’re ready to post your ad!


Read our blog on how to write the best advertising copy for your boat.


Read our blog about how to prepare your boat for sale. 


Abbie Rogers
Boatshop24 Marketing Team
Published on 2019-08-06