Finding the right superyacht photographer

With thanks to David Churchill Yacht ImagesMark O’Connell Photography, Ed Wright Images and YACHTSHOT Stuart Pearce Photography


A breathtaking photograph can make a lasting impression, just as marketing images can make or break a sale. Superyacht photography can determine how a yacht is perceived; images must make an immediate impact.

Yachting Pages asks the professionals about the processes and points that must be considered when selecting a superyacht photographer.

Tips on finding the right superyacht photographer

Mark O’Connell, Ed Wright and Stuart Pearce outlined their top tips to consider when searching for the right photographer to showcase a superyacht.


Decide on a photographic style

Each photographer has a distinct style; this creates images that are instantly recognisable as the work of a specific photographer, just as a company brands its products in order to separate them from its competitors.

The main photographic styles to look out for are:

  • Traditional
  • Abstract
  • High dynamic range (HDR)
  • Colour splash
  • Aerial
  • Crew storyboards
  • Underwater split shots

Experienced superyacht photographer, Mark O’Connell outlined, “You should choose someone who is willing to go a step further and embrace new photography technology to give the customer the best choice of styles for their marketing images.”

However, bear in mind that HDR photography can sometimes be over used or misused; Ed Wright warns how some HDR photography is employed as a mask for bad lighting techniques, which in turn create a bad colour balance in the final images.

Do your online research

The best way to identify a photographer’s style is to visit their website. Start with their gallery or portfolio section, as looking at previous work will give a good idea of style, quality and experience.

Remember not to skip the rest of their website as the website of a professional photographer should instantly make a visual impact and draw you in. After all, photography is not just a visual, but an emotive game.

Equally, if you come across some inspirational photography online or in a brochure, don’t hesitate to check the photography credits and get in touch with the photographer. This is not only flattering to the photographer, but helps to give him/her a good idea of what you are looking for in your commission.

david churchill

Look at their client base

A photographer should not only look professional, he or she should be professional, making working with them easy and pleasurable. Ask for reviews and testimonials, or click onto their website in order to help uncover their personality and work ethic - these are, more often than not worth more than awards.

If this isn’t apparent on first glance, try to arrange a meeting to ensure a cohesive working relationship, or ask fellow crewmen and yacht owners for word of mouth recommendations; it’s not just about great people skills and time management on board, but also about getting the images to the client in time.

Plan, plan, plan

The more complex the shoot, the more problems can arise. Planning is vital to secure an outstanding end result.

With the overwhelming amount of superyachts available to buy or charter on today’s market, it’s fundamental to ensure that no corners are cut when it comes to advertising. After all, the photographs of your yacht are usually what attract a potential buyer or charter guest to take a closer look.

The most important step is to ensure that your yacht and its crew are prepared for the photographer’s arrival. The shoot should not be squeezed in between a busy charter season, as the boat will likely not look its best for the images.

Stuart Pearce, photographer at YACHTSHOT said, “Standing out with evocative photography that is crisp, clear and shot in an idyllic location is essential to start. Having time to achieve these great shots is important too, so picking the right location, date and watching the weather is key.”

How to work with your superyacht photographer to get a great picture

In short, teamwork makes the dream work, as this is what makes working with your superyacht photographer easy. Prior planning and working together with the captain and crew help to make each project seamless.

Stuart Pearce said, “A yacht photographer needs the crew to achieve his or her goal, whether it’s detailing the owner’s cabin, preparing great food to be photographed, getting the toys ready, or moving the yacht into the right position.”


Sometimes, a yacht owner, captain or exterior commissioner may decide to use more than one photographer on the shoot at any one time in order to capture the images. David Churchill explained how this can be troublesome, he said, “On some shoots, I will be the only photographer, shooting all interiors, exteriors, decks, lifestyle and running shots. Other times, the client may employ two or three different photographers to have different roles. Sometimes this can work out to be a false economy.

“It can create problems with access as each photographer or filmmaker will have different requirements for the yacht’s position and location. Often, if I have a perfect interior shot set up with stunning views out the window, another photographer may direct the yacht to move and I would have lost the shot. Also, there is increased likelihood of people walking into your shot with so many people on board.”

Although these situations may result in much more coverage for the client within a reduced timeframe, they can be very difficult for photographers and the crew themselves.

Ed Wright suggested providing the photographer with a radio for these scenarios, and for aerial shots. He explained, “Equip the photographer with a radio on the day so that he can liaise with the captain. This helps to avoid surprises, and uncover possibilities surrounding location, water depth and local rules in terms of sailing close to the land.”

Now you have your photographer, you should consider the factors that make for great images ahead of his or her arrival on board.

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