A boat carving through glassy waters on a cloudless morning at sunrise is a beautiful thing. No doubt you think your boat — no matter what the make and model — is a sight for sore eyes. But when you take a snapshot it never looks as good as the one in Boating. Yours are bleached out, overexposed, rife with shadows, boxy or blurry or have any number of issues related to bad photography. Odds are it’s how you shot it. We interviewed four of the best photographers in the world at shooting boats to help you get the money shot when photographing yours.
For specs on four of the newest POV cameras be sure to check out BoatingLAB's comparison.
Bill Doster (billdoster.com) - Staff photographer Doster has been shooting boats for more than 16 years and takes most of Boating’s cover shots.
Tom King (tomkingphotography.com) - Since 1977, King has produced hundreds of magazine covers and catalogs for dozens of boat companies.
Forest Johnson (forestjohnson.com) - Johnson has more than 1,500 covers, and many awards, to his credit since 1981 — as well as many catalogs.
John Linn (adventurecreative.com) - Linn’s been shooting boats for editorial and promotional purposes since 1996.
"The first thing I always do is look for calm water. It feels right and looks right to your eye." — John Linn
"Light plays an important role. Keep the light at your back, and shooting in subdued early morning light is always pretty." — Forest Johnson
"Shoot early or late for the best light." — Tom King
"The most popular and most revealing photo of a boat is a three-quarter stern shot taken from a higher level." — Forest Johnson
"Shooting from a low level you have to be aware of the wake the boat is throwing. Get ahead of the boat so it’s not lost in spray." — Forest Johnson
"With bigger boats, as the sun gets high, you start getting shadows on the bow and losing the shape." — Bill Doster
"The camera cannot judge speed, so the attitude of the boat has to dictate what the picture is. A Cigarette needs to be flying. The more out of the water the boat is, and the farther back the water breaks, the faster it looks in the shot." — Forest Johnson