10 Questions: David Preutz, Sailing Photographer

David Preutz in the second photographer to feature in our "10 Questions" to professional sailing photographers. He is working in photography for 20 years, mostly for advertizing. In this article, he tells us about his experience with marine photos and gives some practical advice on how to get great shots offshore.

To what degree are you specialized on doing sailing photography, and what sparked your interest in this area of photography in first place?

Not to any degree at all really. I've been a professional photographer for 20 years working primarily in the advertising sector. I happen to go sailing and decided I ought apply some of my photographic skills to the subject.

If you had to go on an assignment with only one piece of equipment - one body, one lens - what would that be and why?

I'm assuming here you're talking about shooting boat to boat.

A film camera and a 20mm lens.
1/. I prefer film over digital for a number of reasons not least being you can get a far better file to work on from a correctly scanned piece of 35mm than you'll ever get from even a full frame DSLR.
2/. From what I've seen, many people seem to think a 80mm to 20mm zoom lens is the be all and end all of all lenses and then only shoot a the long end of the zoom. I love getting close to the subject - hence my preference for a wide angle.

What gear are you typically using for your sailing assignments?

Usually Nikon F5's, Provia, a selection of prime lenses and masses of clear plastic bags. Not forgetting, a bottle of fresh water and a tork roll to keep cleaning the lens with.

How do you advise one can overcome the temptations of taking pics of ships that you have seen a hundred times before?

Look at what's on offer in the mags & try to be different. Whether it's from a alternative view point, lighting etc. Remember when Kos took those pictures from the masthead on the Americas Cup campaign all those years ago. I don't think anyone else had shot from up there before.

What was the most unusual angle/viewpoint from which you took a photo?

About 8' off the bow of Sayonara just before she went to tack.

If somebody is completely new to sailing photography, what would you consider to be the most important piece of advice you could give?

Learn to sail so you understand your subject matter.

What was to you the most memorable picture you took on a sailing assignment?

Probably all the J class boats coming around The Needles, each one with a spinnaker up, on the 150th Americas Cup jubilee in 2001.

How much time a year do you spend on sailing assignments?

Not enough. But that is planned to change next year

Which sailing event or nautical theme would be your dream-assignment?

The next one.

What was the worst/most challenging/difficult situation, in which you took pictures on an assignment?

The Solent, force 6 and overcast. Not only where we all getting soaked to the bone, the light was appalling & getting a decent stop was nigh on impossible. Managed it in the end though.

David Preutz' Sailing Photos

David Preutz' website is at:
His sailing photo galleries can be found at:

Further Reading

Back to "pictures"

10 Steps to Amazing Sailing Pictures

Pictures from a Mediterranean Cruise

Practical Advice for Sailing Photography