Superb aerial photography and cinematography inspired by the beauty and majesty of sailing vessels and the marine community
Yacht Shotz provides high-grade aerial photography and cinematography. Owners Jim Soul and Jason Stull strive to capture striking images of boats of all kinds that owners will treasure for a lifetime. They can print high resolution photos on oversized canvases up to 5 feet in length that are great for a family room or office. They also create wonderful family, boat, or holiday cards and online postcards, as well as ads, posters, and media presentations to help sell a boat when the time comes. Jim and Jason work with their customers to produce action photos and videos that inspire. “If a picture is a thousand words,” says Jim, “think of what a 4K video can do!”
“One comment we hear a lot is that we have a good eye for capturing great photos,” Jim observes. It’s nice to hear, but I have to give a lot of credit to great equipment and shooting multiple shots from varying heights and angles. When shooting photos 50 to 90 feet in the air, you can achieve great results! I use DJI Phantom 3 and 4 Pro drones on the water. They shoot quality photos and videos, they’re very reliable pieces of equipment and easier than other drones to catch on a boat. I have purchased handheld gimbal cameras, but they haven’t lived up to the hype. My Phantom 4 shoots 20 megapixel still photos and has a 1 inch Sony Exmor sensor that produces amazing detail. It also shoots 4K video up to 60 frames per second.”
“When shooting photos of your boat, the most important thing is lighting,” says Jim. “You always want to try to have the sun behind you, and the sun properly lighting the boat to bring out lines and details. Try to shoot early or late afternoon for the best results. When planning to have your boat photographed, there are a few things to consider:
1) Trim all lines, stow all gear, put away your fenders and if it’s a sailboat, fill the sails.
2) Add some color! Bright colored jackets & sweaters (reds & yellows) help add some zip to your photos.
3) Depending on your particular shoot, props can always be fun in a photo. Martini and champagne glasses full of your favorite spirit or ginger ale adds a classic element to your photo. Props such as hats, umbrellas, maybe a blow-up shark! It’s your photos and you should stage them as you would like to see them.
4) A clean, shiny boat always looks better in photographs.”
From the first time Jim used a drone and saw the photos, he was enamored with it. The stunning results achievable from heights and angles not ordinarily reachable made him an instant believer in the technology. Living near the sea in such a beautiful town as Marblehead, Jim instantly knew he wanted to capture and share these aerial images. He used to be a custom framer and was always looking for good content to frame and sell. When he first saw drone aerial images, he felt like he could go out and create his own content. He owns a 1999 25’ Fountain Sportfish Cruiser, an ideal platform for aerial photography. His favorite thing to do is to fly his drone out over the water. “There are many things to consider when shooting, such as wind velocity and where the light is as well as restrictions and regulations,” he notes. “The marriage of flight and photography is intriguing.”
Jim is licensed as a drone operator by the Federal Aviation Administration, a requirement for professional and commercial work. His work is cutting edge. Yacht Shotz maintains an office and gallery at 165 Pleasant Street, unit #18, which is filled with bright, detailed photos of the Abbot Hall clock tower at eye level, a sunrise shot at Chandler Hovey taken at 4:00 a.m., aerial views of the harbor, Marblehead Neck and other parts of town. Jim’s favorite times to shoot aren’t necessarily a time of day, but a time of year. “Spring with all its varying shades of greenery and fall when the air and the colors are crisp and clear are the best.”
We asked Jim about his inspiration and his passion. “I am inspired by John Mecray, who was an American realist painter of marine art. His paintings capture the beauty and majesty of sailing vessels and the marine community. So much has changed this year, but I remain passionate about friends, family, photography & boating.”
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Do you have a question for Jim or wish to comment on his work? Leave a comment below!