Photography Tips for Whale Watchers

Before you embark on a whale watching cruise, brush up on how you can get the perfect photography shot!

It’s not every day you get to witness the beauty of whales breaching, so make the most of the experience by following these photography tips.

How to get the perfect shot

Getting the perfect shot isn’t as easy as you may think. It takes planning and a lot of luck! There are a few things you can do to maximise your chances of getting that perfect picture, though.


Be prepared! Not just for the whales, but the experience as well.

• Unfortunately you cannot dictate where the sun is or how cloudy it will be, so make sure you take a jacket, weather protectants (regardless of the weather), hat and sunglasses.

• Study the whales’ behaviour and try to predict when they will surface next. Have your finger ready on the shutter so you don’t miss the shot.

• Have patience.

What camera gear to bring

• You don’t need an expensive camera! If possible a DSLR camera is the ideal choice as you can attach a larger lens; however, a simple point-and-shoot camera will be sufficient.

• If you have a spare battery make sure you bring it along and ensure your camera is fully charged!

• A neck strap—because that will be the most convenient and safe place to store your camera when not being used.

Camera setting

There is no perfect setting for your camera to ensure you capture a flawless image, as there are too many variables and changing dynamics. Your best chance at scoring a great shot is to set your camera to sports, action, or utilise the burst feature to take multiple pictures very quickly. If using the burst feature, ensure your SD card has a decent write speed.

Turn your flash off!

Why is it so hard to get the perfect shot?

There are several contributing factors that make it difficult to get that picture-perfect shot:

• You cannot judge how active or far away the whales will be and as they are so fast in the water you don’t know when they will surface next.

• You cannot predict which direction the sun will be facing, which will affect lighting in the picture.

• You are on board a moving boat, which makes taking steady pictures more challenging.

Unlike trained animals, these amazing wild whales don’t breach on cue. This makes it not only more magical when you see them in their natural habitat, but also more challenging to record the occasion with a clear shot of a breaching whale.

By taking these photography tips into consideration when preparing for your whale watching cruise, you will significantly improve your chances of taking home a gorgeous shot that you can be proud of.

Put these photography tips into action, book a whale watching cruise today!

Kerry Lopez

Captain of the Eye Spy
26 August 2015