Taking Better Photographs on the Water

Certain environments lend themselves as better photographic subjects than others. The waterfront is one such environment, whether it’s the vast oceans, calm bays, lazy rivers or busy harbors. So the next time you find yourself and your camera on the waterfront—at a marina, pier or shoreline, follow a few simple tips to get great photographs.

Boats, with their many interesting angles, shapes and accessories, make great subjects. With boats bobbing gently in their slips, capturing beautiful shots is easy. Just be sure to time it right. As with any photograph you take, the better the light, the better the image. Take advantage of the reflective quality of water. Try shooting in more than one direction, paying particular attention to the position of the sun. When you shoot early in the morning or late in the day, long shadows cast by boats and other objects can add to the interest in your photographs. You can also use the lighting to your advantage to get great reflections, as well as silhouettes.

You can use the light as a tool to make a photograph that appears monochromatic. Monochrome usually refers to B&W but it can also refer to an image that features only one color. For example, if you shoot a silhouette of a lone sailboat in the middle of the water and both the sky and water are shades of blue, you’ve made a monochromatic image with blue tones. Photographing at sunset can offer up warm monochromes with shades of only oranges, yellows or reds.

And don’t forget about black and white. Changing your image from color to black and white can really highlight the subject and give your photograph a more artistic feel. You can set your camera to the B&W or monochromatic setting, or convert your color image to B&W with software once you’re back at your computer.

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