Skilled craftspeople at work

Skilled craftsman in his work environment
Skilled craftsman in his work environment

For a few months I have been working on a personal project to document skilled craftspeople at work.

The location is a boat yard in Stuart, Florida which carries out refurbishments and repairs on yachts. Among the workforce are skilled craftspeople who repair, rebuild, repaint, varnish and finish the luxury crafts.

Within the boatyard are boat sheds, woodwork and metalwork workshops. With lots of activity going on inside or outside among the boats on the dock. Not wanting to disturb the workforce I began by visiting on different days, hanging around and observing the action as the day unfolded. By doing this the workmen got used to seeing me and my camera and very soon I built good relationships with them and was able to photograph the action as it happened.

In each area a different photographic technique was required. I shot close up in the woodwork shop to get detailed shots of the craftsman’s hands using tools. The protective clothing in the metalwork shop made for a great wide portraiture shot taking in the real location. The open doors in the boat shed let the morning light flood in. I used this as backlight in wide shots. Then I filmed the actions of the detailed, precise, preparation of the boats for varnishing.

When a large boat was being prepared for painting I was excited to photograph the action. A tent of plastic was shrouded over the vessel with ventilation panels. The only opening was through a zip in one side where everyone entered or exited together. It was critical not to let any dust in, or any paint particles out. Going into the space required me to take safety precautions too. It took lots of careful preparation to protect myself and my equipment from the paint and the fumes. I was going to be in the tent with Jose and Jerry, two skilled boat painters while my assistant worked the lights outside the tent.

With full protective gear on it was difficult to communicate so we invented hand signals for adjusting lights, I controlled them from my camera.

It was the hottest, most humid day in Florida, covered in plastic from head to toe under a plastic tent – certainly not ideal but a rare opportunity and a challenge which enabled me to complete my project with a collection of images showing the skills of the local people.

Link to more cooperate and business imagery here.

Elegant style in photography, how to capture it

Luxury travel vacations
Elegant woman on luxury yachting vacation

Classic postures coupled with clean, simple styling are the ingredients for an elegant style in photography.

Sprinkle these in to alluring locations, atmospheric lighting and the results are exceptional pictures.

When shooting in a luxury location or with a luxury product we aim to get the balance between high end and affordability to encompass various travel and leisure markets.

First, consideration is given to choice of model. Long elegant arms limbs and good posture, someone who just looks elegant in a comfortable way is ideal. Secondly, models are often asked to bring their own wardrobe. If you know your talent from previous shoots then you will have an idea of the styles and colours of pieces in their wardrobe and may be able to use some elegant pieces from their selection. However, we never totally rely on this. We will include one or two luxury items from our own collection or purchased especially for the shoot. Depending on the budget hair and makeup stylists may be onset or talent comes makeup ready. In our experience, for shooting lifestyle a subtle, natural look is perfect which most models can achieve themselves.

Finally, the scene has been set and the model is in place, stylist is happy with wardrobe, accessories, hair and makeup. Now the skill happens through the experience, knowledge and eyes of the photographer using the light at the beginning or end of the day to breath life into the images.

In these two images wardrobe was quite simple but with an elegant feel and subtle tonal colouring, layering and accessories were a key element in the first shot which has proved to be a popular image and one of our highest sellers with Getty Images. The second image has a carefree feeling to it with the woman wearing just a simple cotton dress. Using natural fibres for wardrobe choices is another trick for this type of image, the way it feels, looks and flows is more relevant than you would imagine and the model feels comfortable too!