You don’t need a fancy camera! You can use your phone cam.

Today with all the new technology it is much simpler to take a well exposed, in focus image of your boat both inside and out, but still most people fail. Just look at boats for sale on Kijiji or similar web sites. Most of the pictures included look like they were taken with little or no though or planning.

We will explore the do's and don'ts of boat photography with an eye to making your boat look at good as possible. First we will explore the camera.


Most digital cameras today have similar features; the major variance seems to be the number  of megapixels the images are recorded at, the recording speed and if the camera has available extra lenses. You will be pleased to hear that many of the images on this web site were taken by me on my cell phone. You don't need to spend thousands to get decent images. That said, if you do, the camera will be capable of great images, but it's the eye behind the camera that makes the difference


I only use two. A tripod and an external slave flash. They cost me less than $20 each. If you already havr a camera with interchangeable lenses you may want to buy a wide angle lens for interior shots but they can be expensive if that is the only time you would use it.

The basics

Sailboats look best under sail, so be prepared to either have someone else sail your boat or have someone photograph it. If you must take pictures at the dock be aware of the background. A very busy background takes away from the subject (your boat). Also be aware of the rule of thirds (illustration). Never put your subject in the middle of the frame either vertically or horizontally.


I wouldn't even try to sell a sailboat without showing pictures of the interior. When I was looking for my boat, all the people who didn't show the interiors had good reason not to. If you have a pretty interior, photograph it. If you don't clean it up and stage it.

You won't believe the number of people who will show you a jumble of sails in covers laying on the V-berth, a dirty galley with spilled milk cartons and junk everywhere. Of course that is the way most of us sail, but you need pretty pictures taken at least once of each interior.

If you have a wide angle lens, use it. If you don't , consider a panorama image. Just take two overlapping images and put them together in whichever picture program you have.

Also dress the interior shots using accent cushions, small flowers or plants in vases. If you have a slave flash, try putting some paper tissue over the flash and placing it in the V-berth for extra light or putting in places that seem to dark. Oil the wood, polish the brass and wash the windows.

Have you seen the photos of puppies taken from eye level? We call it Point Of View (POV) and it works sometime but usually not puppies and sailboats. Choose an angle that looks pleasant in the viewfinder. Use a tripod where possible to make sure you get sharp, well composed images.




 Show pictures that are too light, too dark or out of focus


Taking Great Photos of Your Boat

Whether you want to sell your boat or simply show off her shiny body, and luxurious interior, most people take a crack at photographing their boat…and fail miserably.

I was a professional photographer for 17 years and in that time I saw a lot of poor photographs of boats both inside and out. Strangely, I only ever once was hired to take photos of a boat and that was for an insurance claim.


If you must insist on putting your finger on the lens, crop it out.

Everyone wants to know what your boat looks like under sail. Make a deal with a buddy and take shots of each other under sail.

Go ahead and stage your interior shots. Nothing sells a boat faster than great pics.