YATCO spoke with some of the most prolific superyacht photographers who hop on helicopters, send up their drones, and do whatever it takes to capture the shot.

Image caption: Top drone or helicopter shot.

Here, well-known photographer Jim Raycroft tells us about his career and shows us the best of his work.

How did you get your start in superyacht photography?

After 12 years of shooting architectural assignments and producing advertising studio photography working in studios primarily with artificial light I had had enough. I was looking to move on to something that offered new challenges with an amount of personal enjoyment ossed into the mix. I had grown up in a boating community and was missing that connection to the outdoor environment.

When friends suggested I join them on a trip to a charter boat show in the Virgin Islands I was more than ready. After a couple of days cruising the islands, walking the docks, talking with brokers and captains, and looking at their charter marketing materials I realized that I could bring my photographic experience to this new area and have a hell of a good time doing it.

Over the following 2 years I made the a near total transition to yacht photography and never looked back. From shooting aerial underway images of a massive yacht with a helicopter or drone, to exquisitely designed and finely detailed interior, to wonderful culinary creations to lifestyle, the Superyacht industry offers a greater variety of shooting challenges than most other fields and that is what helps to sustain my excitement and enthusiasm for the work.

The Top Superyacht Photographers Part 3 - Jim Raycroft

What was your most exciting shoot?

This would have to be the shot of the Adventure Yacht SuRi in Antarctica. I was with the owner and his party aboard SuRi writing and shooting a travel piece for ShowBoats Magazine. This was SuRi’s first trip to Antarctica following the major re-fit which lengthened the boat from 52.43M / 172’ to 63.39M / 208’. SuRi’s helicopter was at my disposal so I tried to make good use of the asset during this once in a life time adventure. On this one day we had extremely calm conditions with an oily flat sea blending into and equally oily sky. The scale of the iceberg with the yacht passing by and the desolate scene were all fitting together to look like cover material.

Top Photo taken aboard CAKEWALK.

What is your favorite shot?

This is an impossible question to answer – there are so many wonderful yachts out there that display amazing design and craftsmanship. One of my all-time favorite shots was made aboard CAKEWALK. I had been traveling to Bridgeport, CT to shoot the progress of the CAKEWALK build at the shipyard. I was able to watch this amazing vessel came together documenting the work as it moved along. At some point the main staircase was completed and ready to be photographed. It’s hard to have a favorite shot but this image says superyacht to me more than most others because of its quality and elegance.

The Top Superyacht Photographers Part 3 - Jim Raycroft

Favorite photo that never made it out to the public, shot above.

Truth be told some times the best shots are lucky accidents. Speeding across Biscayne Bay aboard a chase boat to rendezvous with a yacht in open water I notice the dolphins playing off our starboard side and decided to join them. Edging the boat toward them until we were directly in their path, prepare with a long lens it was a waiting game as they surfaced and dove in our wake. This one shot of the 3 amigos appeared for a split second and was gone. Being ready for a happy accident is key.

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