Lots of incredible things happen around us in the world. Being able to see them is easy; being able to capture them is the art of photography. Being a good photographer is not easy; but being a professional photographer is an adventure, challenge and lifestyle. We have spoken to one of the greatest photographers in the superyacht media, Quin Bisset from Q&K Media. In between sailing, surfing, mountain biking, travelling and professional superyacht shooting, in this exclusive interview, Quin told us about his profession, passion for superyachts, and some challenges behind his very successful assignments.
Exclusive Interview with the Professional Superyacht Photographer Quin Bisset
Starting at the beginning. When did you realise you wanted to become a professional photographer?
I had a keen interest in photography from a very young age and never really considered it to become a profession. It was a natural progression from becoming an assistant while studying film at Canterbury and being based near the stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps of NZ. I don’t think there was any other option for me than to become a professional photographer as it combined my love of travel, storytelling and need to share my experiences.
What brought you to the world of yachting and what was your first assignment in this industry?
My first real yacht shoot was during the last Americas Cup challenge in New Zealand and I filmed and photographed a superyacht which was in NZ to spectate the racing and charter the coastlines. I have always had a passion for sailing, the ocean and it was like a match made in heaven.
What are the challenges when it comes to photographing luxury yachts?
There are many challenges when it comes to luxury yacht photography, first of which would be weather and weather is rarely perfect. You have to be able to adapt quickly and use the conditions to your best advantage. When you have a multi million dollar yacht made available for you and a big yacht crew waiting for your direction you can not start scratching your head :). Another challenge can be logistics on location, if the yacht is in an isolated area and you need to coordinate a helicopter which could be coming from another country or island and there may only be a rock to land on.
Your professional equipment must be pretty impressive. Those readers with a passion for photography will surely find interesting to know what type of camera and lenses you use most of the time.
I travel with mostly Canon bodies and lenses. I have a Canon 1DX and 2 Canon 5D mkIII in case of breakdown. My go to lenses would be 24-105mm, 16-35mm, 50mm and a 300mm which covers most requirements on location. I now also travel with a drone which can be very useful in very remote areas. Oh, and an underwater housing and moonlight flash kit.
Do you usually work alone or have an assistant(s)?
It depends on the size of yacht and requirements of the shoot whether or not I use assistants. I have a small number of people that I trust to work with and can be considerate of the yacht and her crew. If working with models it can be useful to have someone shooting second camera or concentrating on details.
How long would a typical mega yacht shoot last? Can you describe, in a few words, what does an average superyacht shoot entail?
A typical yacht shoot takes anywhere from 3 -10 days depending on logistics. The average shoot requires photographing the interior, exterior, lifestyle and toys. In an average day I could be underwater capturing diving, in a helicopter for aerial running and location shots or in a galley with the chef at work. The day generally starts pre dawn and finishes well after sunset.
What was your most memorable assignment and why?
Thats a tough question as there are so many. I have photographed from a parasail in Egypt as it was illegal to fly a helicopter, captured sharks swimming under the yacht as a model sits on the swim platform. Last year I was hired to photograph a maxi trimaran breaking ocean records and ended up sailing with the team and capturing 3 World Records myself including Newport to Bermuda and the Transpac overall speed record from LA to Hawaii.
What do you love about your job?
I love everything about my job but especially the ability to capture a moment which comes together with team work from the crew and having them getting as excited as I do about the result. It is constant travel and problem solving which is not for everyone but luckily it is what gets me excited.
What would you recommend to photographers wanting to enter the world of superyacht photography?
I would recommend to just get out there on the water, even if its a fishing boat, dinghy sailing or photographing superyachts at anchor, it is all experience and will help you discover the light, lenses and conditions that start to prove your craft. If you can its always good to try assisting as its not just being a photographer it is learning how to work with people.