Ever Want to Shoot Your Guests?

24 August 2009 By Elyse Gaynor
Photo by Vince Lauro

There may be some pictures the guests on your yacht would rather not have captured by the crew, but for the most part, they appreciate having their memories preserved without having to leave a group member out or race the self-timer.

The standard of practice with regards to photography varies from yacht to yacht. It can range from offering to use guest cameras to catch group shots to using boat resources to print photographs, providing private website access to view photos, producing a musically choreographed slideshow, gifting guests with iPods loaded with music and photos from the charter and everything in between.

On M/Y Impetuous, Mate Mike and other crewmembers take photos, print them up on the yacht’s printer and put them in frames scattered through the boat – mixing the images up on a daily basis. “The guests love finding the new shots each day,” Mike says.

Mate June and Stew Brenda on S/Y Whisper combine forces to put together a slideshow for charter guests at the end of the week on a laptop they connect to a TV. “We always have a good laugh and bond with our guests watching the show,” says June.

On M/Y Savannah, Capt. Alvin Burkett not only encourages the crew to produce a slideshow and DVD for guests to take home, he also contributes to it. “The guests immensely appreciate it. Our last charter guest sent us a thank-you e-mail including: ‘The DVD you made for us is the greatest, we have worn it out. We keep looking at it every day!’”

Here are some tips for producing a successful slideshow and keepsake DVD:

Who should shoot the guests? The best results come when both the inside and outside crew pool their efforts to capture the full range of guest experiences.

Some of the most over-the-top photographs come from below. According to First Mate and Dive Instructor Vince of M/Y Savannah, “If you are able to capture a shot of a guest on their first exploratory dive, I guarantee it is one they will treasure. You don’t have to break the bank either on an underwater camera.” Vince recommends using an underwater housing on a quality camera for greater depth. Other crew have reported getting positive underwater results from the Olympus Stylus Tough series.

What else should you use for equipment? Should you drop your last tip on buying an SLR? Newport, Rhode Island, photographer Sandy Nesbitt says yes. The main benefit of a digital SLR over your point-and-shoot is interchangeable lenses and greater control. “Everything on a boat is four feet away from you and a wide-angle lens will allow you to see it all,” Sandy says.

An ultra wide-angle lens, 16 millimeter to 35 millimeter or less, lets you to get the full group in the picture, capture stunning dinner shots, show off the whole cockpit and get better angles overall. Mate Vince catches some dramatic effects with his fisheye lens. A telephoto lens will produce memorable tubing and wakeboarding shots from the yacht or the tender.

Entry-level Digital SLRs with built-in flash units to consider are the Canon EOS Rebel series and Nikon D5000 or D90, both under $1K and with high-ranked consumer reviews.

Don’t forget to include pictures of the crew at work to give guests a chance to brag about the service they received when they show the DVD back home.

During the charter, pay attention to the music the guests liked for songs to include in the slideshow.

When it comes to producing the show, if you are working on a Mac, the products are easy to use (iPhoto, iMovie, and DVD). If you are on a PC, check out Wondershare Movie Story ( or ProShow Pro ( to create slideshows you can burn to a DVD to show on a TV.

Happy shooting!