Photographing Yachts Is a Lot Like Real Estate Photography

March 12th, 2017

Last week, I heard from my old friend Allan Mackenzie who lives on the Australian Sunshine Coast. Allan has been a real estate photographer and filmmaker for a very long time.

Allan says:

Just wanted to share that people also live on luxury yachts. It’s interesting the principles applied to shooting stills and video for luxury yachts are much the same as working in the real estate sector.

I guess not every region is going to have coastal opportunities to dig out opportunities in maritime? However, if there is a marina or boat building district in ones region, it is well worth the pitch and rewarding to add luxury yacht marketing to ones sales mix. Here is a video example.

The yacht in Allan’s video being offered for $3.6M AUD. On this particular shoot, Allan spent 6 hours on location shooting stills and video, 4 hours in post-processing for the images and 7.5 hours in editing and delivering the video.

For the aerial shots, he used a helicopter and gyros rather than a drone because the aerials were shot “out on the sway.” Allan said, “I would be very reluctant to try the drone, especially if the swell gets up trying to land back down on the pilot boat. However, I would attempt using the drone if we were moored or cruising in the passage of calmer waters.”

So Allan suggests that if you live in a coastal area you should check out the local yacht market because it is very similar to real estate.

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4 Responses to “Photographing Yachts Is a Lot Like Real Estate Photography”

  • Allan’s experiences with shooting yachts are the same as what could be said about shooting houseboats. When first asked to do a shoot for a listing in the substantial houseboat community in Sausalito, California, I was hesitant. These floating homes are sandwiched fairly tight together and tethered to a pier.

    Without question, the first couple of houseboats took longer to shoot than doing a 3,500 sq.ft. upscale home. The biggest challenge was nailing an impressive front elevation, avoiding showing much of the adjacent houseboats on each side. But with more experience, I found that shooting outstanding houseboat tours were fundamentally the same as traditional real estate photography. Several of the realtors in the area now call me when they list a houseboat because I place the same high standards of real estate photography as shooting a luxury home. The most recent houseboat I shot was listed for $2.2M USD.

  • What a brilliant suggestion. And how the hell did he maintain such a close AUV cropping on the opening clip flying sideways alongside the boat and keeping it with a hair’s breadth of left and right of frame for so long? And why did it not occur to me when the sea is just 13 miles away and its plethora of marinas? An obvious market right in front of my nose and I did not see it. So many thanks to Allan and to you for pointing it out. And I grew up on boats. My father could only find stress relief on the sea in England. Does Allan do tutorials on how to get those slow and perfectly stabile video pans? Compared to mine, I have palsy.

  • @Peter, A helicopter with a gyro-stabilised mount is going to be much more stable than a drone. That makes holding the framing much easier. If you get a nice long piece of raw footage, there’s bound to be a good segment in their to choose.

  • @Peter, cheers – What Ken says – I’ve attached a very old you tube tutorial of me talking about KS-8 gyros half a decade ago for yacht work I was doing at the time (Warning! I’m a little hypo) good luck if you can understand Australian? 🙂 Anyways it should give you a sense of what’s going on! Today I use the KS 4×4’s. This is another recent example with the broker and also assistant designer narrating to camera My recommendation where possible, would be to shoot the interiors in the evening or dusk as this example will show, just makes for a far more sexier image both stills & motion and greater control of the light. Also mate regards the framing? Stablisation is the key as Ken indicates but also you can scale up in post that’s how I get the image close to the frame edges. So to clarify, in camera shoot off the subject a little than scale up in post. Also when panning or titling do this by grabbing the fluid panhead, not using the handle it just makes for a far smoother action. Regards tutorials and workshops? Well did some travel around Australasia in the late two thousands, however these days just concentrating on maintaining and growing the business, getting my kids through school and hopefully leaving a legacy for them?? Maybe when I retire or slow down in the next 10 years, may do some tut’s or workshops then? 🙂 Good luck mate, it’s a fun genre to work in, I love it.

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