How to take great photographs of your boat
Boat ads with 4 or more photos on BoatsandOutboards receive up to 8x more email and phone leads. It's therefore clear that boat buyers like to buy with their eyes, and why wouldn’t they? An attractive photo of an attractive boat is going to make the price seem a lot more reasonable.
Nowadays, even with an average camera phone, you can take professional looking photos that'll ensure your boat sells itself. To help you capture the perfect images of your boat for sale, read our tips for snapping that money shot of your boat below. Take a look at our Boats For Sale section for some examples of suitable photos!
The best photos depend on good lighting. Ideally you want to be shooting with the sun behind you as to illuminate as much of the boat’s shape as possible. Particularly with larger boats, when the sun is at it’s highest point, shadows can appear on the bow and the boat can lose its shape. Early morning and early evening can therefore provide the best opportunities to shoot. The best way to judge good lighting is how the boat looks to your eye.
Reflections off the water’s surface can trick your camera into taking photos that come out looking dark. If you're not using a professional camera, you should therefore experiment with a number of angles and times of day. If you're using a camera with more settings, you should shoot using the camera’s manual settings so you can have control over shutter speed, film speed and drop the aperture with the f-stop to get the right exposure. The more photos you take, the more chance you’ll capture a winning shot.
Having a headline image that exposes as many of your boats best features is key to attracting attention. Using a high angle, try taking a professional 'three-quarter stern' shot of the boat - this is notoriously popular for many boat owners.
When trying to achieve perfect composition from your photo so that you can really catch a buyers eye, bear in mind the 'two-thirds rule' that many accomplished photographers swear by. This suggests that your image should feature in nine equal parts, spaced between two horizontal lines and some vertical lines of the same nature. This is a very simple method that helps to keep your profile consistent and your photos uniformed. Remember that it's the boat that we're selling; it needs to be the focal point. Remove any background clutter that could potentially draw attention away form your boat. In terms of the 'two-thirds' aspect, you should try and place the majority of your boat in either of the left or right two thirds. By readjusting the positioning of your focus and placing it slightly off centre, you can make your image seem more active, more dimensional and less tedious. On an iPhone and more professional cameras, you can turn this grid on and off on your display to line up the image perfectly. You can also use this grid to help you ensure that your horizon line is straight.
Again, the best way to achieve a great looking photo of your boat is to experiment. Try shooting from as high or as low as you can get and pick the most attractive photos to upload.
Although a great leading image may get a potential boat buyer to click on your ad, you need to be able to hold their attention and convince the buyer of the boat’s quality through your photos. Make a list of your boats best features and make sure you upload an image of them. If lighting becomes a problem taking detailed shots onboard your boat, don’t hesitate to try using your camera’s flash. Also don't be afraid to feature photos of people on your boat, although the boat’s scale might be quite obvious, images of people onboard can help the buyer visualise themself and their family/friends onboard.
Currently just 5% of people uploading an ad on BoatsandOutboards will include a video of their boat. Ads featuring video achieve an even higher response than boats with lots of photos. This is therefore a guaranteed way to stand out from the other ads and show as much of your boat off as possible in your ad. Buying a boat is a big decision that takes a lot of research, so providing as much visual information as possible is more likely to convert someone viewing your ad, to someone buying your boat.
Great looking informative videos can now also be achieved with camera phones and other cheap gadgets. The best way to decide what to film/photograph is to simply put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and think what it is that they're really looking for from your boat.
Article by Jack Bartrop