Photographing Boats While on a Boat

Want better boat photography? Are you photographing boats? Are you on a boat while photographing boats? In this video, I answer a question from a subscriber.

Nancy photographs sailboats and asked for advice on how to get good action photos while on the water, especially under cloudy conditions.

Transcription was done by’s automated transcription service which means it’s an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar, and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

I don’t own a boat. I’ve never really photographed a boat, but I can give you some advice about photographing a boat. This is Scott White and give what’s a storyteller with the camera, talking about all the things Portago is like you and I are thinking about. And then in this video, I’m going to answer a question from you with the subscribers. So I’ve got a question from Nancy. She asked, I photograph sailing regattas. I might’ve pronounced that wrong. I’d love some tips for getting good action photos on the water, especially under cloudy conditions. Now here’s the thing. If you’re on the water, my answer will be different than if you’re off the water. So let’s get to this. All right, Nancy, answering a question as long overdue. I’ve had it on my list to do. I just haven’t had a chance. Now I have a chance.

So here we go. Let’s get to your question. If you are on the water, the first thing you need to do is to stabilize your camera. If you’re leaning on the edge of a boat, you could use your elbows and your legs and stuff to stabilize your camera. You may not have a tripod with you, but please make sure it is strapped to you. Whether using a spider pro strap, which I highly recommend, or if you are using a neck strap around you very securely. Now I do recommend because you are on something that is moving to use an image stabilizer and a vibration control. If vibration reduction or whatever it’s called in your camera, make sure you’re using that because even if you’re on a tripod or if you’re stabilizing yourself, there is this motion up and down going on because you’re on moving water.

The most important thing you could do is to bump up that ISO, because you’re about to make your shutter speed extremely fast. If you want to have the boats or the people on the boats to be still and not blurred for motion blur, then you have to, you have no choice, but to bump up your shutter speed, to be very fast. If you’re using a 300 millimeter lens, your shutter speed needs to be at a minimum at a minimum one, 600th of a second. That is the one over six zero, zero. Now I recommend go even faster to completely remove any blur. If that’s what you are intending to do, you might want to go to one, 1000th of a second, or maybe even a little faster. You could even throw on an ND filter because there’s going to be a lot of reflections from the sun and the boat.

Cause most of the boats are white on purpose. You could actually reduce the amount of light coming into. You can speed up the shutter speed if you have to. So if you don’t want to mess with the ISO too much, you could start throwing on an ND filter and then cut out some light to speed up the shutter speed even more. Again, this all depends on the situation on how fast the boats are moving, how fast you are moving, how big the waves are, because they’re going to be even bigger. If there’s boats moving and how bright it is outside, all those could lift for different conditions will impact your ISO and your shutter speed. Now of course, like I said, want to make sure your sh your shutter speed is as fast as possible. I would say that in this case, you probably want to pay way less attention to the aperture.

Sure. If you want to get a picture of a boat and then another boat behind it, and the book behind it as blur, you’re going to want a, a lower, a smaller number for your aperture, so that you have a shallow depth of field. But again, I would say pay less attention because you’re, you need to focus more on the composition and your shutter speed. So maybe you need to put as a test, put your camera on shutter priority. Maybe even auto auto ISO is your first time doing this and let the camera figure out the rest, um, and maybe have a, an ND filter to screw on for if you need it. So there you go. That is my answer to what you would do. If you were on a boat, if you’re off the boat and it’s going to be very different, I mean, you’re going to want an even longer lens because the book is going to be far out. You might want a 600 millimeter lens, a 1200 millimeter lens, whatever you’re to even more, if you’re on stable ground, you may not need to have tripod, which means everything’s different. So just disregard what I just said. And let’s just say, uh, your question was when you’re on the boat itself. So there you go. If you liked this video, click that subscribe button right now, and be sure to comment and ask your question so that I can get to it. In another episode, my fingers are going crazy today. See you the next video.

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