ONE OF THE TOP American nautical and interior photographers is Florida-based Shaw McCutcheon. While his specialty remains yacht photography, McCutcheon has used the skills honed in this niche to achieve success in the demanding world of high-end residential and commercial real estate photography. The tricks to lighting a confined space of a yacht interior are easily translatable – even easier – to the large environment of a home or business. The special hours of dusk and dawn, when architecture and interiors are the most pleasant to photograph, are a McCutcheon specialty. And he has become one of the best interior photographers in the region.
His nautical work, however, is his main achievement. McCutcheon’s work has appeared on the covers of virtually every major yachting magazine in the world, and his client list reads like a who’s who of the marine industry, with names such as Trinity, Christensen, Broward, Palmer Johnson, Wellcraft, Hatteras, Feadship, Bertram, Ocean and Viking, to name a few, in his portfolio.
Showboats magazine, for whom McCutcheon has produced dozens of photo shoots, often would send the marine photographer on the most sensitive assignments on the most exclusive yachts because of his diplomatic and professional skills. What most impresses art directors, however, is his attention to composition and lighting, making an average scene vibrate with color and sensitivity.
McCutcheon came to nautical photography via a circuitous route requiring a variety of skills that combine to make him virtually unique in his specialty. For nearly a quarter century he was a newspaper and magazine journalist, with a Master’s degree from Northwestern University, the top journalism school in the nation. His work has appeared in numerous national magazines, including Newsweek, Islands, Yankee, Powder, Skiing, People, Conde Nast Traveler, and, of course, every major yachting magazine in the world. Twice he has won national writing awards in the nautical field, the latest a First Place for a
story on Hurricane Katrina that appeared in Yachting magazine. McCutcheon is extremely well connected with the nautical media, who often hire him to both write and shoot the photography on a particular subject.
Rangefinder magazine, a national magazine for professional photographers, said in a recent profile that McCutcheon “is a travel writer and photographer who morphed into a marine specialist. He photographs the biggest, most expensive yachts in the world and is also extremely skilled at capturing their interiors with lighting set-ups that illuminate every shadow.”
The nautical specialty requires skills on a variety of levels, such as helicopter-mounted aerial photography. McCutcheon has become a top aerial photographer capable of shooting moving targets from straight overhead to the waterline, in the dim light of dawn to the orange fire of the late afternoon sun. Hatteras Yachts has said one of McCutcheon’s blurred-water photos was directly responsible for selling one of its most popular models. Models work well with his relaxed style, making for effective lifestyle photography.
While film was McCutcheon’s preferred format for years, like many other pros he has converted to digital. The switch has enabled him to almost double his daily production of interior photos, and his expertise in computer enhancements have saved hours of post-production work for art directors.
Please take this opportunity to view McCutcheon’s extensive portfolio of yacht and residential interiors, aerial and magazine-style editorial photography.