We know the yachting industry can seem pretty cutthroat to junior and green crew looking to expand their career prospects and even those with a few seasons under their belts looking to climb the career ladder. With the majority of junior crew entering the industry with the same level of qualifications and experience, having a specialist and desirable skill can really help you land that first gig or move up the career ladder. This month, we’re delving into yacht photography and videography.
Photography and videography are fast becoming key skills for recruiters, with many yachts now looking to up their social media presence and expand their prospective client base. It also serves to impress charter guests and owners by waving them off with a video or photo album memorising their trip. Read on to discover the best equipment, courses, resources, and inspiration for beginner yachtie photographers/videographers.
Photography & Videography for Yachties
Some of the world’s most prestigious and successful charter yachts are turning to social media to showcase their offerings and boost their client reach. Charter Yachts Loon 221′, Loon 180′, No Bad Ideas, and Acacia are all part of our FunYachts program and have very active Instagram profiles. All three regularly post high-quality and professional photos and edits to their feeds, showcasing everything from the chef’s latest creations, tablescapes, and cocktails to aerial views of the toybox setup, cruising shots, and watersport clips.
Having the skills to produce this kind of work is now considered very beneficial as it can help a yacht gain new prospective clients and retain existing guests. Presenting departing guests with lasting memories in the shape of photos or videos will leave a lasting impression. FunAir ambassador, Cameron Green, agrees. “It has definitely given me an advantage with landing yacht jobs because guests want to walk away with something that shows what an amazing experience they have had onboard. It’s hard work, putting in the extra hours, but I can promise you it pays off in the end, and at the end of it all, you’ve built up a portfolio for yourself which will help you land your next yacht job”.
Our ambassador Grace Mott is currently a superyacht officer, so we asked her if photography’s a skill she would look for during recruitment. “Absolutely! Any secondary skill or passion in a crew member tends to make a better hire. Guests love going home with videos and photos from their trips. Good shots also end up as screensavers on screens around the boat and can become interesting conversation starters between guests and crew. In this digital age, pictures say more than a thousand words. Having a crew member who can capture and communicate the experiences of life onboard is an absolute asset to both the crew and the guests.”
How to Showcase Your Work
Obviously, if you have photography and video skills, you should add this to your yachting CV. List any qualifications, special equipment and niche skills you have. Can you fly and record drone footage? Can you edit video? Have experience with underwater photography? Action sports footage? List it all.
Your social media profiles are also the perfect place to showcase your skills. If you have public social media profiles, it’s likely recruiters will be checking them out and so if your Instagram’s far from professional, it’s a good idea to make it private and set up a public profile where you can upload examples of your work so that recruiters can view your skills without seeing the more private parts of your life. Use it as an online portfolio that you can easily pull up and show off in interview situations.
“If you treat your photography/videography as a brand and market your brand in the industry, you will stand out, and yachts will start recognising you and your work.” Cameron Green – FunAir Ambassador.
What Equipment Do You Need
For budding photographers and videographers, buying your first camera can seem like a daunting task. There are endless options out there to choose from. Film, DSLR, or mirrorless? Which brand? Which lens? How much should you spend? The answer… It’s totally up to you! It’s completely down to preference and what you like shooting. For a total beginner, we’d recommend buying second-hand. There are tons of great deals on second-hand cameras, and you won’t feel too much of a loss when you want to replace it in a year.
We asked Grace for her advice for crew members looking to invest in equipment. “My best advice would be to start small and become an expert in the fundamentals, then reward yourself with a decent camera once you learn how feasible shooting and editing content is. The new iPhones have a lot of good features when it comes to shooting videos and different styles of photos. Phones are a great start! Keep in mind, at most, you’re allowed two bags when joining a boat, which is an important thing to keep in mind when looking at the size of the gear you’re thinking of acquiring!”
Many photographers chose cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Sony due to their ease of use and endless range of lenses, but other big brands include Fujifilm, Leica, and Panasonic. We recommend checking out tech reviews like Techradar.com’s best cameras for 2023 to help figure out what model is best for you.
Choosing which lens you’ll need can be a minefield, but it all depends on what you plan to shoot. The main type of lenses includes zoom, prime or fixed, telephoto, wide angle, and fisheye. Like mentioned before, the right one for you depends on what you’re shooting and the focal length you’ll need. The table below should give you a better understanding of picking the correct lenses. For more in-depth information about lenses, check out this blog post by Photoguard and this one from Digital Photography School.
|Focal Length||Type of Lens||What is it used for?|
|4mm – 14mm||Fisheye||Abstract, creative|
|14mm – 35mm||Wide angle||Landscape, architecture|
|35mm – 85mm||Standard||Street, travel, portrait|
|85mm – 135mm||Short telephoto||Street photography and portraits|
|135mm +||Medium telephoto||Sports, wildlife, action|
|300mm +||Super telephoto||Sports from a distance, nature and astronomy|
With the recent development in camera technology, most photography cameras are more than capable of shooting high-quality video, so buying an all-in-one camera that can do it all is definitely possible. Check out Space.com’s round-up of the best cameras for photography and video in 2023.
If you’re planning on focusing more on video than photography, you’ll need to take into account frame rates, recording limits, audio quality, focus options and capabilities, stabilization, and other factors. Again this all depends on personal preference and what you plan on shooting. Check out Tech Radar’s recommendations for the best video camera for all ranges of budgets and shooting needs.
Alternatively, action cameras like the GoPro Hero 10 pack a ton of performance into a small and affordable package. They can record in sharp 5.3k and have a range of preset shooting modes to enable you to shoot high-quality action footage.
Yacht Drone Footage
You’ll need to invest in a drone camera to get those amazing aerial shots of the yacht and surroundings. Drone footage can add beautiful cinematic shots to your projects, offering angles you’d never get without one. Like buying any equipment, budget is one of the biggest factors to consider, but you’ll also need to contemplate how easy it is to fly and control, stability, shooting modes and image quality. One of the most recommended drones is the DJI Mini 3 Pro, also used by our ambassador Cameron, but again, Tech Radar has a fantastic round-up of all the best drones on the market.
If your yacht guests do a lot of scuba diving and you’d like to capture footage of the underwater world, you’ll need a camera with underwater capabilities. Action camera’s like the GoPro Hero 10 are great companions for underwater adventures, and both our ambassadors agree.
“First things first, creating content can be done on anything. I would recommend a GoPro for those underwater shots as well as action shots, for example, charter guests holding the GoPro coming down the FunAir slide, which gives a great POV experience. It’s a great all-round camera for photography and videography with built-in stabilization on the new models.” Cameron Green – FunAir Ambassador
“I love the GoPro! It is on the cheaper side of underwater photography gear, and it is so universal that you can usually find any replacements anywhere in the world. With each new model, the content becomes exponentially more professional looking, and the GoPro app has substantial editing capabilities, allowing users to edit and publish content in a few taps. Underwater photography gets very expensive once you factor in a professional camera, an underwater housing, and the required level of maintenance to keep everything functioning properly.” Grace Mott – FunAir Ambassador
As Grace mentioned, you can buy underwater housing for many cameras on the market, transforming your regular camera into an underwater camera. Cameron had this to say on shooting underwater content. “One of the best investments I have made in the last few years for content creation would be the SeaFrogs underwater housing for my mirrorless camera. It has allowed me to explore the underwater world a little more.”
Lastly, The Olympus Tough TG-6 offers a lot of high-end and professional capabilities. Check out Techradar’s best waterproof cameras for more options.
Complete Set Up
We asked our ambassadors for recommendations for individuals or yachts looking to purchase a complete set-up to enable them to crack on creating content for charter videos and social media, and Cam had this to say:
- DJI drone of any kind. No need to spend thousands on a drone
- GoPro (the newer the model, the better)
- Good quality camera body and a standard zoom lens + underwater housing (only if it’s in the budget)
- DJI Ronin gimbal for the camera to capture smooth footage onboard
Now you have your equipment, it’s time to learn how to use it. Most people have a basic understanding of how a camera works, but if you’re a beginner and want to have more in-depth knowledge to create professional-looking work, taking a course will help. There are tons of photography and videography courses available, depending on how you like to learn. The easiest way to learn while fitting into your busy schedule would be to take an online course.
For basic photography skills, check out, Udemy – Photography Fundamentals for Beginners: 1-Hour Crash Course, or search sites like Skillshare, where you’ll find dozens of professionals teaching photography courses.
For more in-depth photography classes:
Institute of Photography – Professional Diploma in Photography
Udemy – Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography
The Open University – Digital photography: creating and sharing better images
MasterClass – Jimmy Chin Teaches Adventure Photography
Again, SkillShare has a ton of courses available for photo editing. Alternatively, Udemy offers The Ultimate Photography Course in Post-Processing & Editing, which covers Photoshop and Lightroom.
Video Production & Editing
Once you have a basic understanding of a camera, a video camera should feel a little more natural in your hands. Of course, there’s still a lot to think about when trying to capture professional-looking film. This great value course by Udemy covers what you’ll need to know and more – Video Production Masterclass: Complete Video Camera Course.
You’ll also need to learn how to edit your video. Again, Udemy and SkillShare both have dozens of courses available. Larry Jordan, award-winning producer, director, editor, teacher and trainer, has an all-access package to his website that features over 2000 videos available for streaming that cover everything, including Adobe tools (Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Audition, Prelude, Encore, and Media Encoder) and Apple tools (Final Cut Pro X, Compressor, and Motion).
We hope you found this post useful, and we’ve encouraged you to think about upskilling. We’d love to hear if adding your skills and passions to your yachting CV has helped to further your yachting career, so get in touch at [email protected]. To learn more about becoming a FunAir Ambassador or to check out our exciting range of inflatable superyacht toys, visit our website and don’t forget to follow the fun on socials.