There are not many settings that lend themselves more perfectly to photography than the waterfront. Whether it’s the vast oceans, calm bays, lazy rivers or busy harbours there’s always an exquisite shot waiting to be taken
With camera phone technology getting better and better, these days you don’t need a fancy camera to take a great photograph. So, the next time you find yourself on the waterfront, follow our top tips and get some great boating snaps.
A major factor in taking a good photo is the lighting, and boat photography is no different. Early morning and late afternoon are usually the best times to photograph boats – as the sun rises/sets, the boat’s details are more conspicuous, as their grooves fall into shadow.
Taking photos at this time also means the pictures have a warmer and more romantic tone whereas photos taken in midday light tend to have a colder, harsher tone.
Sunrise and sunset offer the best lighting for boat photography. Image credit: Allan Weitz
2. Filters and colour
These days, most photos have a filter applied, and that’s because they make your photos look a whole lot better! These filters are very easily accessible on photo sharing apps such as Instagram – so have a look and see which one really brings your photograph to life.
The white of most boats and blue of the water make a great combination but, if you want to liven up your photos, try introducing some red or yellow to the photo. It could be a shirt, sweater, life jacket, flag – anything that surprises the eye.
A splash of unexpected colour and a high contrast will really make your photo stand out. Image credit: Allan Weitz.
3. Away from the coast
You don’t need to be by the coast to get some good quality boating snaps – plenty of boats on canals and rivers are waiting to be photographed. Canals create great natural paths to guide the eye through the different elements of a photo.
Narrowboats are often on canals and also offer a great opportunity to add a splash of colour to otherwise predictable colour schemes.
Narrowboats are renowned for their bright colour schemes – why not incorporate them into your photography?
4. Don’t clutter your scene
If you can, single out one boat and place it near the front/centre of your shot. This will likely be better than a shot of several boats that are fighting for the eye’s attention. If you’re shooting your own boat, always be on the lookout for anything that isn’t in place or should be out of sight.
Make sure your scene is as clean as possible before shooting.
5. Zoom in on the details
It’s great to capture the big picture – but zooming in can create a perspective of a particular scene that no one else would have noticed.
The waterfront is also a great place to get some eye-catching close-ups. Brightly coloured objects, such as buoys and floats, are great photo subjects. Also look for patterns in the ropes or other equipment that may be laid out on a dock or a boat’s deck.
These colourful wooden buoy makers make for a great detailed close-up. Image credit: Lindsey Silverman.