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How to Take Photos and Videos that Will Sell your Boat

You have a few seconds in which to pique the interest of a prospective buyer as they scan through online listings of boats. And the single most important way to do that is with photographs and videos. So dazzle them with clear, beautiful and evocative images – you want them to imagine themselves on your beautiful boat – and you’ll be well on your way to getting an in-person viewing. 


Whether you’re taking photos or video – and it’s recommended you do both – spend time getting prepared for your shoot. You’re selling a boat likely worth a few pennies. Scrimping on time, effort or money at this stage is false economy. So what are the top tips for getting the best photos and video of your boat?


Man taking a photo with his smartphone


Prepare, prepare, prepare

It seems logical to suggest a tidy up is in order before taking any photos or videos, but we suggest going a step or two further. Clear all personal possessions off the boat and de-clutter everywhere from the salon to the engine room and the sail lockers. Make the beds, remove any torn canvas or rusty metal and once you’ve done all that clean like you’ve never cleaned before. You might want to even invest a little money in things that make the boat look old or tired such as an old television or tatty looking galley appliances. While these items might not even be sold with the boat, they give an overall impression that things haven’t been upgraded in a while. Ultimately you want your boat looking its absolute best.


Have the right equipment

There are some excellent quality smartphones on the market these days, and certainly for taking video they should be sufficient. When it comes to photos, a smartphone is a great option as it offers simple settings, good resolution, and features such as wide angle lenses which are necessary for taking interior photos of often small spaces. However, smartphones do have their limitations and if you can get hold of or invest in a good camera with wide angle lens such as an 18 mm model you will find that your images are even sharper. If you’re buying a new camera choose one with an Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) which eliminates camera shake which can blur images even on a barely swaying boat. 


Choose Your Day and Weather Carefully

You are not going to get all your photos and video taken on one day, so use local weather forecasts and set aside a few days which offer the best conditions. Lighting is critical when it comes to taking photos, and you’ll need different lighting for different aspects of the boat. Bright sunlight pouring in through the portholes will create shadows so when photographing the interior choose an overcast (but not dark) day and turn on all the lights. Photos and videos of the exterior should be on a sunny day - you want your buyer thinking it’s always sunny on your boat and this creates a lifestyle image – they will envisage themselves there. Morning and late afternoon are usually prime times for exterior shots. 


Get a Good Mix of Interior and Exterior Photos

You want to capture your boat from all angles, so take photos of the interior and exterior. If your boat is out of the water, take photos of the propellers, rudder, hull and thrusters to show off how well cared for your boat is. Even if you don’t use them all now, they are useful down the line when the boat goes back in the water. For the interior use a mixture of wide angle photos to show a whole cabin, and close up images of impressive details such as beautiful teak or new fishfinders. Take lots of photos to choose from later, change the angles, try different things and even take images of parts of the boat you might not think are relevant. 


newspaper and coffe on the yacht exterior table


Take Photos/Videos Under Way

While this isn’t always possible, and many boat listings don’t have it, if you can take photos and videos of your boat under way you’ll certainly be one up on other sellers. Sailboats in particular benefit from this as you can capture your boat under way with its sails up and create a very appealing lifestyle image. Choose a zoom lens for capturing your boat under way, and try and maintain a good balance between boat, water and sky. You’ll need another boat, but the cost of chartering one for the day is worth it to showcase your boat for sale to its fullest. And while you’re out there, don’t forget to get plenty of good video footage too. 


Rehearse your Video

Where photos come up short is in giving a true overall picture of a boat. Where is one cabin in relation to another? Is the galley aft of the salon? How big does it really feel on board? That’s where video steps in. You’ll want to do a few practice runs beforehand, and plan your route through the boat. The most important thing to remember is to go slowly. There is nothing worse than a jolting, blurry video because someone was swinging the camera around too quickly. Commentary can be very helpful so that prospective buyers know what they’re looking at, but you also don’t want to be chattering away too much. There is time for that when they come and view it in person. Simple commentary of what people are seeing is sufficient. Open (tidy) lockers and do close-ups of things which will impress your buyers and show how beautifully maintained your boat is. Think spotless engine room, polished chrome and clean decks. Exterior videos of the boat underway will undoubtedly give that wow factor as we go back to the concept of lifestyle imagery. Show prospective buyers what they’re missing by not buying your boat. 


Don’t Forget Captions

Keep in mind that people looking at your boat won’t know which part of the boat they’re necessarily looking at unless you tell them. Which cabin is which? Which head is that? What are the specifications of a particular electronic item? Be sure to write concise, clear captions to go alongside your photos. 


Show Photos and Videos to Others before Uploading

Show your final images and video to friends and family and get honest feedback. Remember, you know your boat inside out and might overlook a charming feature, or not include something because it seems obvious. Get other’s perspectives and opinions before choosing your final images. 


Use your Best Shots First

When uploading your images to a boat selling site such as Rightboat.com, be sure to list them in a logical order and use the most striking ones first. Have a photo of the exterior of your boat in all its glory as your main image, and follow on with dazzling interior photos. You want prospective buyers to be instantly drawn in, so don’t start with photos of the anchor chain, however well you’ve spruced it up. You also want to use only one image for each part of the boat and choose the best one to show it off. People will tire of multiple photos of the same thing from different angles and might give up scrolling through before they get to the exciting parts. 


Thousands of boat owners have sold their boats on Rightboat.com’s specially designed platform and the most successful take the time to create a stand-out listing. We are more than happy to offer guidance on creating your listing so that your boat is shown to its absolute best. Sign up with us and discover our simple yet hugely successful boat sales formula. Check out our boats and yachts for sale.






Written By: Rightboat Team

The Rightboat team

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