Tips and tricks used by some of the best photographers in the boating world.

Running Shots:
- One thing to look for is calm water. It feels right and looks nice to your eyes.
- Light plays an important role. Keep the light at your back, and shooting in subdued early morning light is always pretty.
- Shoot early or late for the best light.
- The most popular and most revealing photo of a boat is a three-quarter stern shot taken from a higher level.
- 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.
- 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.

Good Things to Know:
- It's less about cool gadgets and more about lighting and the mood.
- Don't forget the two-thirds rule. You don't want your subject in the dead center of the shot.
- Boating is usually a contrasting situation. The reflection of light off the water and the boat will fool your camera and make the shot too dark.
- It's tough to tell from the viewfinder when you're outside, so check your camera's histogram. If it drops off a cliff to the right, you're overexposed.
- Experiment with angles. Shoot from as high or as low as you can get. Shoulder height is the worst.
- Everyone notices if your horizon line isn't right. Make sure it's either dead on (horizontal) or disproportionally tilted.
- Zoom magnifies shake so you have to increase shutter speed.

Lifestyle Shots:
- Any time you're shooting in the middle of the day, use fill flash; otherwise you'll lose facial features. Guys in hats will look like raccoons.
- Shooting with the sun behind people [back lighting] brightens things up and keeps them from squinting.
- Pre focus your point-and-shoot to speed up the shutter speed for shots of people tubing or dolphins jumping off the bow.
- Choose a camera with a wide range of focal length. Most of your shots will be wide-angle or with a long lens with very little in between.
- Focus on a person's eyes or even eyebrows. If they're in focus, everything else can be a little softer and it will still look good.
- Watch the background. Make sure there's not too much distraction taking away from the subject.

Detail Shots:
- When shooting under a T-top or in a cabin, don't forget to use fill flash to capture detail.
- The critical thing about shooting a boat is things reflect and can fool your camera. Try working in manual settings to control your shutter speed, film speed and f-stop to get the right exposure.
- Detailed shots are usually boring without people in them.
- If your camera has an auto-bracket setting, use it to take the same photo at three different exposures and go with the one that looks best.
- Better to shoot too dark. You can fix that later and still have detail, but if a shot is overexposed you've lost it.

Photography Terms:
-Aperture (f-stop)- is the size of the lens opening. The smallest f-stop lets in the most light; the light gets cut in half with each click to a larger f-stop. Aperture controls depth of field.
-Depth of field- determines the portion of the photo that is in focus. Higher f-stop numbers allow larger depth of field, so most of the photo is in focus. Smaller f-stops create a shallow depth of field, in which the main subject is in focus but the background is blurred.
-Fill flash- forces a camera to add light to a shot. It's useful in back lit or high-noon situations, or when the camera is "fooled" by surrounding light and isn't picking up details. It's commonly a "one-touch" camera feature.
-ISO- is the film speed. In a digital world it's a measurement of the shot's sensitivity to light. Use lower numbers for bright light and outdoor conditions; higher numbers are for conditions with low light.
-Shutter speed- is how fast the lens shutter opens and closes. It dictates exposure. Use faster speeds for capturing action shots.
-Bracketing- Cameras with automatic bracketing features take three photos on the same shot; one with a darker exposure, one with a middle exposure and one brighter. This feature is good insurance to make sure the shot you want is not too bright or too dark.

The Photographers:

Bill Doster ( - Staff photographer Doster has been shooting boats for more than 16 years and takes most of Boating's cover shots.

Tom King ( - Since 1977, King has produced hundreds of magazine covers and catalogs for dozens of boat companies.

Forest Johnson ( - Johnson has more than 1,500 covers, and many awards, to his credit since 1981; as well as many catalogs.

John Linn ( - Linn's been shooting boats for editorial and promotional purposes since 1996.