Selling Your Boat Through Great Photography

by | Mar 7, 2019


When it comes to selling your boat, the importance of great photography is quite often overlooked. However, the perception of both your brand and the value of your boat, is judged by your visual representation. Therefore, knowing the art of powerful photography can have a fantastic impact on your sales.

Not every boat broker wants to invest in a qualified photographer, however, learning basic photography skills is a brilliant low-cost alternative, and can work wonders for your marine sales.

Whether it’s on an iPhone, or a professional SLR camera, there are plenty of tips and tricks for impressive boat photography that can come in handy. These will make your stock irresistible to potential buyers. Have a read through this guide to learn more about how you can make your boat adverts more visually appealing.



Look out for the little details that make your boat stand out from the rest. Shiny interiors, sparkly clean decks and beautiful handcrafted woodwork are all little characteristics that could win over potential buyers.


Where do you even begin with photographing a boat? 


 1. Give your boat a clean

Maybe an obvious one, but the first rule of any product photography is making sure the item looks good before you even consider picking up your camera. Ensure your boat is sparkling clean, and buffered to its best. Make sure it’s tidy inside and on the deck, as the smallest things can put buyers off! Only when your boat is in tip-top, sparkling condition, should you go and grab your camera.

2. Choose your time wisely

When it comes to photographing a boat, unlike many other industries, you don’t have the pleasure of setting up a studio, where you can easily control lighting and backdrops. This isn’t the be all end all though. Often natural lighting is the most effective!

According to experts, the best time to shoot outdoors is a few minutes after sunset, or a few minutes before sunrise, referred to as the ‘golden hour’, this period of time is when the daylight is redder and softer, and indirect sunlight is evenly diffused – the perfect combination for a magnificent photo.

3. Location, location, location

If possible, try and place your boat in a charming location when carrying out your photoshoot. Docking it in murky water, within a run-down harbour, won’t do it any justice. You should also ensure the background isn’t too cluttered, otherwise it will distract the attention away from the boat.

4. Capture those important details

Look out for the little details that make your boat stand out from the rest. Shiny interiors, sparkly clean decks and beautiful handcrafted woodwork are all little characteristics that could win over potential buyers.

Creating scenes, is another important thing to consider. Adding a few props, like a fruit basket, or a bottle of Champagne and glasses, on the boat deck can help the buyer picture themselves sat on board.

Getting behind the lens…


When it comes to equipment, whether you decide to use a professional camera, or you’re simply shooting on your smartphone, there are ways you can ensure your photos turn out looking great.

Using a DSLR

If you do opt for investing in a DSLR camera we’d suggest purchasing something with a wide focal length, 85mm lens for the close up shots and 35mm for the body shots. This will create a nice depth of field. Using a tripod is definitely recommended to reduce any chances of camera shake, and ensure your photos turn out nice and sharp. If you’re wanting to take a motion shot, make sure you use a fast shutter speed to blur out the background and put strong focus on the boat.


Using a smartphone

If you opt for the smartphone method, be assured that it’s completely achievable to create great images utilising your smartphone’s advanced camera features and a tripod. Whichever brand of smartphone you have, make sure your device has autofocus and the maximum amount of megapixels possible.


Once that’s done, you’ll want to make sure your phone is sturdy. We’d highly recommend buying a Gorilla Pod Mobile product, which only costs around £10, it can be attached to almost anything, so is perfect for outdoor photography!


Gorilla Pod – Image – Fleejost

Tips for taking pictures

When it comes to shooting follow these simple steps 


  • Fill the frame – You want to have all the attention on the boat, not the surroundings so make sure your boat fills the frame.
  • Take lots of shots – Take as many shots as possible you can always throw away the bad ones.
  • Play with angles – Be creative. Varying it up might bring you a shot you didn’t expect could turn out so well.
  • Try some action shots – If possible, take photos of the boat on the move, perhaps from another boat, or the marina. It will vary up the types of images on your ads and may engage your potential customers further than just lots of stationary images.


You’ve got the photos, what next?

Most of the professional photos you’ll find in boating magazines, or top marine brands will have been edited in some way, to enhance the way they look. A lot of them will have been edited in subscription-based software, such as Photoshop, which can be very pricey.

However, you don’t have to break the bank to achieve nicely enhanced photos. There is an abundance of free editing software available, along with plenty of great apps you can use if you shoot with a smartphone.

The following pieces of affordable software do all of the basics like retouching, adjusting lighting and contrast, along with sharpening. Below are our top picks:

Desktop Software

  • GIMP This is free software that is similar to Photoshop. Whether you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, or scientist, GIMP provides you with sophisticated tools to improve your photographs.
  • Pixlr – This photo editing tool is perfect for marketers looking to make small, creative changes to their photos before publishing. Pixlr Express offers quick fixes and simple overlays and borders, while Pixlr Editor allows you to work with image layers, color replacements, and object transformations.
  • VscoVsco is best known for its filters or presets, which lots of pro accounts use instead of Instagram’s suite of features.


Smartphone Apps

  • Vsco This is the smartphone version of the desktop app mentioned above. It is probably one of the best editing apps out there, offering plenty of editing tools like cropping, colour
  • PicMonkey – PicMonkey is a great photo editing tool for amateur photographers who want to make a few quick adjustments to images taken on their smartphones.
  • iPiccy – If you want a more automated photo editing process, take a look at iPiccy. Instead of manually changing parts of images with wands and other tools in Photoshop, iPiccy allows you to use a set of processes, including fixing, resizing, cropping, rotating, and flipping an image, to instantly edit an entire photo.


So there you have it, now you’re ready to upload your fantastic photos to the adverts on your website and other third party advertising platforms. We’ve covered the photographic process from start to finish, but we have one more thing to add…

Our final bit of advice would be to always have consistency imprinted in your mind. For example if the photos are being used for your marine website, it’s important that all the photos on there have a similar ‘look’ and ‘feel’, and are edited in the same style. That way you can ensure people get a real feel for your brand.


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