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A couple taking selfie by the sea


A Step by Step Guide to Perfect Yacht Photography

Editorial Department

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We all know how fun it is to spend a day on a yacht with friends and family in Dubai and frame those moments on beautiful pictures. Read on and enjoy these boat photo tips and creative ideas that will help you take great boat photographs when you charter a luxury yacht with Sail Serene in Dubai.

Keep Your Camera Dry

Before we carry our camera or phone aboard, there is one key point to consider: Water. Water, water, everywhere. We mean water splashes, salt water spray, foam, and waves. The main thing to remember when doing boat photography is to always protect your camera or phone as much as possible.

Lots of times we keep our camera hanging from our neck or leave the phone on a cushion so it’s ready when we need to quickly catch the moment. But watch out if there's any possibility of a wave splashing over your camera. Keep your phone in a bag or ask the crew to hold it in a dry cabinet close by. The other point we emphasize to guys: the pocket of your wet swimsuit is not the ideal place to tuck your phone in. If your camera gets wet with salty water it will be very difficult for the repair shop to fix it.

Choose The Right Type Of Picture

Regardless of the size of yacht you are on, there are basically three types of boating photos you're likely to take:

  1. Pictures of people (including yourself) on your boat.

  2. Pictures of famous buildings from your boat.

  3. Pictures of other boats passing by.


Let's look at each type of photograph separately. We start with three guidelines. Always ask yourself:

A: What is the subject of my photograph?

B: How can I emphasize that subject?

C: What can I do to simplify the picture by eliminating any elements that distract from my subject?


Taking Pictures Of People On The Yacht.

Try to take a tight frame that shows most of the boat and the person or group. Come in close and make sure the subject is nice and big in the frame. Make sure there is nothing around to distract from the scene.

Since most boating pictures are taken in full sunlight, be aware of a potential problem. Watch the direction of the sun carefully. If you face your subject toward the sun, he or she will probably squint. To avoid this squint, you will often turn the person's face away from the sun. While this avoids the squint, it places the face in shadow. This is a problem. You have to add light to the shadowed face. So, if the face is in shadow, add a flash!

Another thing that we see happening way to often in boat pictures of people is unnecessary clutter, like disembodied set of arms or feet from someone else, and lots of boat gear. Try to eliminate most of these by moving a little to the left or right or come in a little closer to the subject to make it more dominant in the frame.

Taking Pictures Of Famous Buildings From The Yacht

If you are taking the picture of a person in front of Burj al Arab, which is one of Sail Serene’s favorite spots to take you when you rent a yacht with us, turn on the grid lines in your phone’s camera settings and place the person in the lower intersection point, right or left of the screen. This will avoid the subject and the scenery to fight for predominance.  

Should you use a tripod or rest the camera on a deck railing or flat surface to take pictures of items on the shoreline? The answer is no. These solutions will provide a solid base for boat photos when the subjects are within the boat, but when you are shooting anything outside the boat, steady surfaces will not help. Why? Because the camera will rock with the boat. If your subject is not rocking with the boat —like the shoreline —then a tripod or deck railing will do a worse job of stabilizing your camera than you can by simply handholding it. Your body is likely to be the best absorber of all.


Spread your legs (no, it’s not what you think).

Most of us take pictures standing up, which is fine, but on a yacht or a very small fishing boat this can be dangerous. Too much motion is one of the key problems for the photographer on any boat. If you're in an unstable craft, try to shoot boat photos without standing up. If you must stand up, spread your legs wide to lower your center of gravity and give you a more solid base, and if possible, lean against something solid.

There's another aspect to shooting from a rocking boat and that is blurred and out-of-focus pictures. To avoid this problem, you need to use a fast shutter speed. If you are not familiar with shutter speeds, and you are using a phone, set it to "sports mode". This mode will bias the exposure toward a fast shutter speed and compensate with a large aperture.



Watch out for clutter on the deck. Boats of all sizes are filled with clutter, and clutter in your picture will only distract from your subject. Remember guideline 3: Simplify. Shoot in a way that will make the clutter "disappear." For example, get in close and fill the frame with your subject. Use a wide aperture (“Close-up” mode or “Food” on your phone) so that the background clutter is thrown out of focus. Look for clutter in the screen, especially around the edges, and figure out a way to make the clutter "disappear."


Taking Photographs Of Other Boats.

Naturally, one of the subjects you are likely to want to photograph in Dubai will be other exclusive yachts or luxury Megayachts that come your way.

What makes pictures of other boats so appealing is their simplicity. There's the yacht, and in Dubai they are big and bold; there's the sea and there's the sky. That's all! The boat pretty much fills the frame, and there's nothing else to distract you.

However, where you place the boat in the frame is very crucial. As a rule, when you photograph a moving object always allow space in front of it into which it can move —that is, provide lead room. So, if the boat is moving from left to right, give it plenty of lead room on the right. Finally, keep your eye out for details when taking boat photos in Dubai, especially of luxury Megayachts. Is the anchor an interesting detail? Take a close-up shot!

In summary, if you follow these simple tips, you'll be able to take great yachting photos with your phone or camera. When you plan to charter a yacht in Dubai ask us, and we will make sure to give you an exclusive yacht for your best Dubai Instagram photos and videos, but if it is a special occasion and you want the shots to be really professional and memorable then hire a pro.


There are plenty of photographers in Dubai but a trusty one that will really blow your mind is and it is also our preferred choice.

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