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9 Tips for Taking Awesome Listing Photos

9 Tips for Taking Awesome Listing Photos

It’s now more important than ever to capture a boat buyer’s attention. Boat buying and selling has moved online, so the days of trawling the newspaper classifieds are gone. You need more than a catchy tagline and grainy photo of your boat to find a buyer. Potential buyers want to see what you are offering before leaving the comfort of their home, and the best way to do that is through boat listing photos. Here are Boatline’s nine essential photo tips to make your for-sale listing amazing.

Planning and Prepping 

  1. Give your boat a good cleaning – It goes without saying, but if you want to use pictures of your boat to sell it, your boat should be clean inside and out. This means removing the clutter, personal items, and anything else you don’t want in the pictures.
  2. Location matters – Where you take your listing pictures matters just as much as cleaning your boat. What good will pictures of a sparkling clean boat do if all that is seen in the background is a distraction? Outside pictures are best because they let potential buyers better imagine themselves out in the water, but if you don’t have that option and must have your boat on a trailer, be aware of the surroundings. The focus is on the boat, not what’s surrounding it.
  3. Photography tools you’ll need – Your smartphone camera is all you really need. The resolution you can get on most modern phones is better than the quality you could get in a digital camera just 10 years ago. Play around with the camera options before you take your pictures and use the editing tools on your phone to make your photos look even better. Though it’s not necessary, a tripod or phone stabilizer can help if you’re having trouble and getting blurry pictures. A tripod offers stability and more even shooting, and helps reduce camera shake, resulting in sharper photos.

Tips for images

  1. Focus on the boat – Your boat should fill the frame in the viewfinder. When shooting your listing photos, it’s best practice to have the boat in the foreground as the focus. When you’re taking full profile photos of the vessel, the boat should be fully visible from the stern to the bow. If you want to capture the boat from the front of the bow, aim at an angle towards the stern from the starboard or port side.
  2. Try all the angles – This is the time to channel your inner professional photographer, so play with taking pictures of your boat from many angles. However, be aware of glare from the sun and catching your reflection in the pictures. Not sure what pictures will work best? Browse photos from other listings to see what might work for you.
  3. Pictures, pictures, and more pictures – It’s always easier to delete the bad pictures than it is to wonder if you didn’t take enough. By taking a lot of pictures, you can compare the angles, lighting, and other important details. It’s best to take pictures of every nook and cranny, like photos from under the hood, close-ups of the motor, etc. Let buyers see how great your boat is from stem to stern!

Picture Taking Pro Tips

  1. Highlight the details and the dings – Does your boat have distinctively crafted woodwork? If your boat has any unique details or features, you’ll want to take pictures highlighting them. Likewise for dings and imperfections. Properly showing blemishes is simply a good sales tactic. If possible, use a ruler or some other item to show scale and accuracy. A picture goes much farther than the words “small scratch.”
  2. Plan your time wisely – You’re most likely not taking listing pictures inside a studio or a light and temperature-controlled setting, so be sure to plan for the weather and the best natural light. Allow yourself enough time to take many photos. 
  3. The value in video – Now that you’ve got great pictures, why not include a highlight video or a quick walkthrough? A video of your boat can provide potential buyers with additional appeal beyond pictures. You don’t have to record a full-length movie either. Typically, 1-3 minutes is plenty to showcase those great features you captured in pictures. If you have a friend with their own boat, make an outing of it and have them record the boat in action on the water. Your potential buyers will appreciate seeing the boat in all its glory in the water. Virtual tours have become part of the selling process. It provides buyers with more information and a chance to see what you’re selling in greater detail.


Most buyers choose whether to inquire further based on the pictures they see in the listings. Awesome listing photos help make your listing stand out from the rest in a competitive marketplace. If you’ve been listing your boat for sale and haven’t had any nibbles from prospective buyers, following these tips for taking awesome listing photos could be just the thing you need to help the right buyer find you and your boat! If you are looking for a safe, and marine focus marketplace to list your inventory today, check out Boatline


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