SailNet Community banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
A palapa awaits me...
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As someone who, like most of you, spends quite a bit of time looking for my next boat, I have to vent a little and mention just how bad many of the photos are. Pick any site out there, yachtworld, boatsfsbo, boattrader, and others and your will find MOST listings have terrible pictures that do nothing to highlight a boat's value proposition.

I'm not a boat broker, or a photographer by trade, but simply a buyer who wants to evaluate my options before taking the time and expense to see it in person.

I would think as a seller you'd want to be as accurate and illustrative as possible, so in that spirit, here is some advice about photographing your boat if you put it up for sale:

1. Clean it up. That's right, pack away all the stuff you have strewn about the cabin. No one wants to see your breakfast cereal or dish towels. Put away bath products, extraneous gear, paper charts, and anything else that covers any surface. I want to imagine MY stuff in your boat, not your stuff. If you have a lot of stuff, spend a day or two cleaning it up or temporarily move your stuff off the boat for the shoot. Clean surfaces, glass, wash the deck, and so on.

2. Use a good camera, and learn to use it well. Blurry, smudged, and dark photos shockingly common in many listings. Use a good quality camera and focus. Make sure you also have a lot of light in every shot. To avoid blurry shots use a tripod or monopod if you have to. Shoot during the day with plenty of light, overcast skies are good too as long as you can see what's needed.

3. Frame your shots. With every photo, know what you are showing and why. Does it have a great berth? Then show it. Are you proud of the galley setup? Then show it. Too many photos have half of something or another and the rest of it of cut off. Obviously this is because boats are small, so use a wider angle lens. If you want a pretty penny for your boat, spend a little and get a camera or bribe a friend with a nice camera to do this for you. If you're a boat broker, invest in a camera and learn how to use it. Get some software to stitch together a series of photos to show something that can't fit in a frame. SPECIAL NOTE: Watch out for mirrors, we can see you in your swimsuit or board shorts...change your framing.

4. Show as much as you can. Show rigging, stowage areas, dining table configurations, open some hatches to show how much is in there, closeup of the motor, open the wiring panel and show me the rat's nest back there. Just like above, the buyer expects to see some potential projects, especially with older boats, so fulfill their expectations and show it. So, from my point of view, I'm already on your listing page, you've already got my attention, I'm reading up on your boat.... don't waste this opportunity. If you are selling a project boat, show the projects. Show the buyer what they can expect, how much is done and how much is left to do. The more honest the photos, the easier it is to earn the viewer's trust.

5. Know who your buyer might be, and talk to them. There are a lot of reasons to buy your boat, but you will likely know who would be your next buyer. Not their name, but what they want out of it. Is it perfect for coastal cruising? can racing? blue-water sailing? Big enough for a family? Solo sailor? A couple only? Is it tight for 3 people and one pet? Or roomy enough for 4? We're you comfortable on a week-long sail on it? Is it a great boat for a first-time sailor? Or is it really not tolerant to small mistakes? You can answer all of these, it's your boat, after all. Someone looking for a racer/cruiser won't consider your full keel wooden ketch, so who would? Someone like you, for example.

Tell me a story with the photos, provide decent captions telling me this is the motor that never let you down, or the most comfortable berth in the boat, or the best cockpit for a sunset sail. Help set your boat apart by telling THIS story, because after a while not much stand out to the buyer after seeing dozens of listings... except those they somehow emotionally connected to.

I hope this helps you guys out there selling your boats... I'm looking forward to better photos and stories.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,489 Posts
I know what you mean... a picture of a galley with a sinkful of dirty dishes... a V or quaterberth stuffed with sailbags, lifejackets, the boom across the salon for winter storage..

Hard to believe this isn't so self-obvious that it needs to be said...
 

·
Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
Joined
·
3,217 Posts
you have no idea how much it annoys me that most people don;t show the cabin. I have been looking at Alberg 37s.. I can find a million pictures of the deck and hull.. but very few of the interior of the cabin. I have managed to piece together a good idea of what they are like inside.. but still. people spend a lot of time below decks.. show us what it looks like!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
I love the ads for a $250,000 boat taken with a cheap cell phone camera.
Well not really, I've been in the processing end of photography for 35yrs and nothing sucks like a bad photo of something your trying to sell.

Either become a professional or hire a professional!
 

·
Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
Joined
·
3,217 Posts
I can tell you this is not only limited to boats. I also like vintage cars. I cannot tell you how many cars I have seen on Craigslist where the picture is fuzzy, dark, at an off angle (upside down is fun) and the car is dirty or even covered in snow or leaves.

And people expect to sell their stuff?
 

·
Courtney the Dancer
Joined
·
3,971 Posts
I thought all you needed to do was turn every light on and make sure you had a pretty girl in a bikini in every shot? It must work, that's what you see in the magazines.
 

·
Remember you're a womble
Joined
·
2,328 Posts
You have to make sure there is a couple of plates laid out, with a flower, in a vase. Everyone knows that's the only way you can actually sell anything.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
17,467 Posts
I thought all you needed to do was turn every light on and make sure you had a pretty girl in a bikini in every shot? It must work, that's what you see in the magazines.
Actually you kind of hit it on the head. Follow the lead of the marketing photography in yacht builder brochures and websites. These companies pay a lot of money to get this right. So why not use that expertise as a very free very valuable go by?

Then you should supplement those shots with the more technical stuff actual sailors will look for in an inspection (storage, water damage, electronics, special gear, bilges, engine, cushions, head equipment, etc.)

I've never been bummed that there were too many pics with a boat ad....just that there were too few.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
Holy cow! As someone who looks at A LOT of ads for boats i cannot agree more. I have seen so many useless pics. Some of my favorites include--
The girlfriend or wife in a bikini on the bow

The shot of the transom with their 'witty' boat name

The fuzzy photo from across the canal of the boat they are trying to sell

A photo from the cockpit of the view forward while sailing (don't they all pretty much look the same?) If you are lucky, you may be able to see some rigging

The narrow angle shot from inside the cabin of, well, pretty much nothing!

The shot from a long ways away of their boat on a mooring

And this one --http://tampa.craigslist.org/pnl/boa/3558202324.html

which pretty much shows you not a go&#amn thing about anything. Love the one in the dark! Really???? Does the dog come with the boat? :confused:
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top