How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

Last update: 2023-01-28

While kayaking requires stability and many skills, taking pictures while kayaking is even harder.

You can’t just gear up and get straight to the water on your kayak for photographing since there are probably lots of risks, such as you accidentally drop your camera gears into the water, or it’s you who falls down.

But the worst scenario is you can’t take any good pictures after a long day. To avoid them, here is everything about how to take pictures while kayaking before starting your trip. Check it out!

Choose The Right Kayak For Photography

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?If you intend to take pictures while kayaking, it’s important to pick the right boat for you. Consider these three solid things:

  • What you plan to photograph
  • Your size
  • Your kayaking ability

How much camera gear are you going to carry along during the next kayaking trips?

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

You should make sure that the kayak storage or cabinet is spacious enough to accommodate all of them.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

Besides, it should be roomy enough for you to sit comfortably in, along with your gear.

With the same number of camera gears, a small person will sit inside a thinner boat with comfort while a big, heavy guy will not.

Lastly, consider your kayaking skills to choose the right boat. If you’re a beginner to the intermediate kayaker, go for an extra-large kayak because it is more stable and less tippy while you’re photographing.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?On the contrary, experienced kayakers can opt for a boat fitting their paddling type.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

Opt For The Right Lens For Kayaking Shots

Choosing lenses is not an easy task.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

There are several elements that any photographer should keep in mind while opting for a new lens:

  • Your budget
  • What you plan to photograph: landscapes or wildlife?
  • While camera devalues, lenses hold their values from time to time
  • Your sensor size

The more kinds of lenses carried along the kayaking trip, the more chances to have beautiful photos. But too many lenses will become cumbersome and even not fit the boat cockpit storage.

Not to say that switching between lenses on the water isn’t as easy as it seems.

Regardless of the number of lenses you can buy, also pick those with Vibration Reduction features. For landscapes, go for a wider lens ranging from 12mm to 55mm.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

For wildlife, a lens ranging from 200mm to 300mm is perfect.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?Don’t forget to spend extra money on lens accessories, such as:

  • Microfiber rags – for eliminating salt spray from the lens
  • A shutter release cable or a small tripod – for more stable photographing
  • A polarizer – for reducing glare from the water’s surface
  • UV filters – for protecting your lenses

Select The Right Camera

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?Your go-to camera for kayaking shots is mostly based on your needs. There is a wide range of good camera brands on the market these days, and you’ve got lots of options.

If you want to take professional-quality photos, choose a SLR with lenses.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

A model at mid-tier ranges is better than a too expensive one, in our opinion because you will get more relaxation while on the water.

If you need a compact camera for selfies, getting exciting water-angles, and hassle-free video recording, or something easily compatible with your smartphone, pick a small Garmin or GoPro.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

Whichever the one you choose, they must be waterproof, and you should make sure to secure them to your kayak deck or PFD so that they won’t unexpectedly fall overboard.

Considering the right camera sensor is another difficult task.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?If you’re a newbie, follow this rule of thumb. For the highest-quality photos plus versatility, select full-sized sensor cameras. If you’re on a tight budget and want something easy to use for wildlife shooting, pick a cropped sensor.

Learn How To Work With Your Camera

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

Mastering your gears is a basic thing that all photographers should do. Light is and will always be the raw material in photographing, and unluckily, it can’t be controlled.

You have to take fast action when the light is changing; the chance might come just once during a long day.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

What would be if you don’t know how to change the focus point, to quickly override the meter of your camera, or to customize settings? Learn now! Even if you own a cheap camera, once knowing how to master it, taking beautiful photos isn’t an impossible thing.

Go For A Larger Memory Card

Changing a memory card while you’re kayaking is difficult, and the risk of dropping it into the water or the boat deck is really high.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?So, why not opt for a larger memory card to minimize such risks?

Cut The Speed

It’s impossible to kayak and observe the environment simultaneously.

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?

From that point, if you want to start seeing the wildlife more for some good photoshoots, paddle more leisurely or let your boat float by itself once in a while. By this, you’ll get extra time and attention to the site. You even get more chances to encounter rare species.

Be Creative In Your Camera Angles

We never want to take photos with boring angles, right?

How Do You Take Pictures While Kayaking?Well then, be more creative while photographing to find more interesting angles. Such as submerging half in the water while your partner is paddling towards you, or standing on a bridge high above the water surface looking down at him/her.

Try photographing at different angles – in the water, close to the water, or above your head. Make your kayak perspective more appealing.


Photographing while kayaking is hard yet an interesting experience to level up your shooting skills. We hope that our tips stated above were helpful to you to take more beautiful pictures while you’re kayaking. Thanks for reading!

Bryan Listor
Bryan Listor

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