Most of us are familiar with ultra-glossy superyacht photography and videos: images of beautiful people diving off swim platforms into crystal clear water, tearing around on jet-skis, relaxing in Jacuzzis, or drinking cocktails on sundecks under a dramatic sunset that lights up an endless expanse of sea and sky.
The idea is that stunning yacht photography and videos help to portray the superyacht experience in its best possible light, whether this involves capturing a Caribbean yacht charter as it floats through a tropical paradise, doing a shoot in the deep blue waters of the Italian Riviera as tenders trace huge circles around the superyacht for aerial shots, or filming an elegant lunch while at anchor in a South Pacific lagoon. The superyachts are the real stars of the shoots of course, with spectacular photography of luxurious staterooms, cinemas, beach clubs and waterslides painting a picture of decadent barefoot luxury and fun in the sun.
But what’s it like to actually organise one of these corporate yacht photo shoots? What are the challenges? How much planning does it take? And what happens if the weather isn’t co-operating?
To get the answers, we spoke to Lisa Peck – the Global Marketing Manager of Fraser Yachts, who co-ordinates corporate yacht shoots for the world’s leading yacht brokerage.
What was the latest corporate shoot that you were involved in for Fraser Yachts?
Lisa Peck: In June we did an extensive photo shoot on board M/Y LADY SARA – one of our superb charter yachts. It was a huge effort over two full days, with filming onboard from 7am-11pm and up to 12 people at once to co-ordinate!
What are the main purposes of a corporate shoot?
LP: Corporate yacht photography is there to provide brilliant imagery to highlight the experiences you can have on board a yacht.
Where is your favorite destination to shoot?
LP: One of my favorite corporate yacht shoots was in the Caribbean when we were capturing the experience of a Caribbean yacht charter— it was stunning. Next time I make it there I hope to actually be able to step off the boat as well!
How much planning goes into the shoot?
LP: A huge amount. Ideally you should have a lot of time to plan everything thoroughly, including a mood board, casting for the models, a brief for the stylist, brief for the photographer/videographer, and a detailed schedule of all the shots/scenes and set up needed throughout each day. Not to mention a detailed plan for the crew so that they can have everything ready in good time.
What are some of the complications that you can face?
LP: One of the main issues we face is you’re not supposed to have more than 12 “guests” on board at one time due to yacht licensing restrictions (unless you get a special dispensation from the coast guard), which means that it’s hard to do a shoot of a full boat because half the number of people allowed is taken up by the film crew.
Timing is also an issue. The best shots are always early in the morning when the light is good and the sea is glassy, or as the sun is setting and you get that gorgeous soft light— which means that no matter how long your days are on board, the key moments are always very rushed. Heat is also a factor we need to consider, as models don’t like sitting out in the hot sun for too long.
And don’t even get me started on the weather issues…
How do you actually access the yachts to shoot on?
LP: Availability of yachts for photo shoots is always a challenge. It takes a very generous and flexible Owner to loan us their yacht for a couple of days, have so many people on board, provide food etc, and move the boat around to get the best shots in all the right locations. Plus many of our charter yachts are also used by the Owners when they’re not being chartered out, which often leaves us a very tight window to do the shoot. These available times don’t always correspond with the perfect weather for creating that dreamy summer feeling either—I once had to cancel a shoot in mid May because the water was too cold and I couldn’t ask people to spend hours playing with all the water toys without risking hypothermia!
Does Fraser Yachts use the same photographers each time? If so, which?
LP: No, we like to mix it up a bit; we have a great pool of photographers that we work with regularly. The key is choosing someone that can shoot in the style you’re after but also be good at interior shots and exterior shots, and working with models—as well as being able to hang out of a helicopter and take great aerial pictures. It’s not always easy!
No matter what the challenges or effort it takes to organise a great corporate yacht shoot, the effect of great yacht photography on the imagination is astonishing, immediately transporting the audience to that beautiful yacht and making us all start thinking about picking up the phone and booking our own Caribbean yacht charter experience.