Boat Photography Tips by Patrik Westli

How to take stunning photos of your boat

Patrik Westli is a 26-year-old photographer based in Oslo who works worldwide. He has a passion for boats, cars, and photography. He has previously worked with clients such as Porsche, Ducati, and Canon. Additionally, he is one of Nordkapp's photographers, which has given him extensive experience in capturing images at sea.


In this article, Patrik shares his top boat photography tips to help you capture the essence of summer in the best possible way.

5 Boat Photography Tips for Smartphones



Where you position your boat is essential. Placing the boat in captivating surroundings can elevate your pictures significantly. It could be an idyllic beach, an undisturbed dock, a bay, or other places where the vessel naturally belongs. Try to find spots without distracting elements in the foreground and background. The more elements you have in the picture, the less focus you'll have on the boat itself. Think of the foreground, subject, and background as a cohesive whole.


Light can make all the difference between a good and a bad photo. Taking pictures in dark environments, overcast weather, or in the middle of the day requires more effort from you as a photographer to get good shots. However, if you take pictures during sunrise, sunset, or in warm summer light during the afternoon, you'll have an advantage. Personally, I like to shoot against the light, which means having the sun behind the subject. However, feel free to experiment and find what you like best.

Pro tip: If shooting against the light, avoid capturing the sun in the picture, as it often creates lens flares that smartphones handle poorly.


Boats are vessels meant to be in motion. Experiment with different movements that showcase the boat in its best light. It could be low-speed or high-speed shots, capturing the boat while turning or at its most stable. If you use a camera with manual settings, try adjusting the shutter speed to achieve various effects. A slow shutter speed produces silky-smooth movements, while a fast shutter speed captures sharp movements.

Focal Range

Most smartphones today come with multiple lenses, providing different zoom modes to enhance the quality of your phone's images. These lenses often have better optical quality than the standard lens, resulting in sharper images. They also compress the subject and background, which can create the "out-of-focus" effect on the scene, drawing more focus to the subject in the picture.


Find new angles, perspectives, compositions, and lighting that look cool. What does the boat look like from above? What if the camera is just above the water's surface? How does the boat's hull shine under different lighting conditions? You may have some beautiful reeds or a stone pile nearby that you can use as foreground elements in your picture. Photography has no limits, and experimenting lets you quickly discover what works and what doesn't.


The most important thing in photography is to have fun. Have a fantastic summer at sea, and we encourage you to share your pictures with Nordkapp by using #MyNordkapp on Instagram. We'll share some of our favourite shots in our stories.


I look forward to seeing your results!

/ Patrik Westli, Photographer & Creative director at Nordkapp

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