Ten Tips for Getting the Best Action Shots on the Water This Summer!

It's safe to say we spend a great deal of our time out on the water, and can regularly be seen snapping photos of our friends and family riding their favorite ZUP Board. So before you head out on the water this summer, be sure to check out our top tips for getting the best action shots on the water. You won't regret it.

Maximize your shutter speed.

If you are on a boat there will always be some gentle movement so make sure you have selected a shutter speed which won’t capture this gentle motion blur, at least 1/250th of a second.

Play up the reflections in the water.

Notice whether the rider's reflection or the trees on the bank are reflecting in the water as you are on the move. Try snapping some images that include the reflection rather than cropping it out.

Include people on the boat.

Try snapping a few photos of people having fun on the boat, or even of people on the boat watching the rider behind the boat. Candid photos like this can help capture the fun vibes on the boat.  

Use your body as a tripod.

Rather than bringing a bulky tripod onboard, try using your body as a tripod. Not only can you absorb some of the movement and vibration, you can also be more flexible with your positioning ensuring that you get the best shots and angles.

Play with the composition.

Trying a variety of angles and including other items in the shot can really help to enhance them. For instance, capturing the boat in a shot with the rider, or a fly by shot riding past a cute waterfront village.

Get low for some shots.

Getting as low as you can in the boat, while still being able to see, allows you to capture a unique angle of the rider as well as a significant amount of the sky which always helps the rider pop in photos. 

One word: bracketing.


If your camera has this feature. we highly suggest you use it. It takes three photos on the same shot -- one with a darker exposure, one with a middle exposure, and one brighter. This offers insurance to make sure that your shot is neither too dark or too bright.

Use a wide angle lens.

If you have a wide angle lens, toss it in your bag for a day out on the water. We like a 17-35 zoom.

Consider the light.

While every hour of the day offers lighting that can affect your shots, early morning and sunset light tends to be soft and subdued making for pretty shots. The reflection of light off the water and your boat can also fool the camera, making your shots too dark. If this happens, try dropping the aperture (f-stop) to compensate.

Protect your equipment.

While this doesn't directly relate to getting the best action shots, you won't be snapping any photos if your camera and lenses get ruined by the water, particularly if you tend to ride in salt water! There are plenty of options for keeping your gear covered, depending on your camera and lenses so just be sure to do your research and come prepared.

    Don't forget to share your ZUP action shots on
    Facebook and Instagram #ZUPtime!