Capturing The Perfect Boating Moments: Photography Tips You Need To Know

21 Nov, 2023 · 3 min read
DIBS 2024

Boating photography is a popular activity in Dubai, as it allows photographers to capture images of yachts and other maritime vessels set against the backdrop of Dubai’s stunning cityscape. Whether you’re an aspiring photographer or a seasoned capturer of the seas, the Dubai International Boat Show is a visual voyage like no other. Here’s how to ensure the perfect capture of the crafts on display.

Understanding Photo Composition

With their dynamic and unpredictable nature, boating environments pose a unique challenge to photographers. The constantly changing light and motion of the sea demand a keen eye for detail and a flexible approach to composition. Understanding the interplay of these elements is crucial in capturing the essence of the marine world.

The rule of thirds (whereby the image is divided into nine equal segments by two vertical and two horizontal lines) is a fundamental concept in marine photo composition. By positioning key elements of the scene off-centre, photographers can create a more balanced and engaging frame. This technique allows for a more natural flow within the image, guiding the viewer’s gaze across the photograph.

Another important aspect of composition is the use of leading lines. In a maritime setting, elements like a yacht’s railing can draw the viewer’s eye through the image, adding depth and perspective. Additionally, maintaining a straight and level horizon line is essential for avoiding disorientation and preserving the photo’s visual integrity.

Achieving Stability In Yacht Photography

Capturing yachts in motion, such as aboard a moving boat, requires specific photographic techniques. A fast shutter speed is paramount in these situations, as it freezes the action, ensuring that each image remains sharp and clear. Stabilising equipment, like tripods or monopods, becomes essential here, particularly for longer exposures where even slight movements can blur the details.

Photographing static yachts, like those showcased at the Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS), requires a different approach. Here, the photographer’s movement is minimal, allowing for more flexibility with camera settings. ISO, the camera’s sensitivity to light, becomes a key factor. In well-lit environments, a lower ISO preserves quality without adding grain. In lower light, such as evening displays or under soft exhibition lighting, a higher ISO helps capture the intricate details of the yachts. The balance between ISO and lighting conditions is crucial, especially when aiming to highlight the elegance and design of static yachts with precision.

Photographing Boats Against the Skyline 

Photographing Boats Against the Skyline 
Photo credit: DIBS/DWTC

When capturing images of boats, particularly against a spectacular skyline (like the one offered by Dubai Harbour), perspective is key. A lower angle can dramatise the boat’s features against the skyline, creating a sense of scale and grandeur. Focusing on contrasts, such as a sea-bound yacht against the land-based backdrop of Dubai’s architecture, adds depth to the image’s narrative. Additionally, experimenting with different focal lengths allows for various compositions, from wide-angle shots encompassing the skyline to telephoto zooms highlighting specific details of the boat.

Responsible Photography

It is important to note that you need permission from the UAE’s Ministry Of Culture And Youth to undertake professional photography in Dubai, especially at high-profile venues like DIBS 2024. This ensures respect for local regulations and contributes to a responsible and enjoyable photography experience. With the necessary permissions, DIBS 2024 stands as a prime occasion for photographing some of the world’s most magnificent maritime vessels. 

Even if you are an amateur photographer, it is essential to be mindful of the local culture and customs, particularly regarding privacy and public decency laws. Being informed and respectful can prevent unintentional offences and enhance your photographic journey at DIBS.

DIBS Is The Perfect Photo Opportunity

Boating life offers a rich tapestry of experiences, extending beyond the vessels to the stories they create. Photographing these elements requires a keen eye for unique perspectives that capture the narrative of the sea. What better venue to capture the essence of maritime life than the stunning and photogenic Dubai Harbour, a seafront district renowned globally for its impressive skyline and architectural beauty?See some of the best efforts by the show’s photography team by following us on Instagram @dibshow and be sure to tag us in your top shots.