SD Model Makers > Photo How To Guide

Photo How To Guide

Photo How-To Guide

When you commission a model of  your boat, we need LOTS of photos of the boat - and ideally, the drawing/plans too. 

What photos do I need to take of my boat?

We will need a very thorough set of photos – the more the better, with LOTS of details and various view and angles. Someone needs to go to the boat and take photos of the complete side profile, front and back views and then go on board to take photos of all areas of the deck, cockpit, helm station, etc.  We recommend watching our short videos to provide guidance for taking good set of your applicable boat photos..  Also if you have any photos of your boat out of the water, this is helpful too, especially if no plans are available

For a full model, we’ll need approximately 40-60 photos. These don’t need to be taken by a professional with a fancy camera. Using a simple digital camera or your phone camera will do. However someone will need to be on the boat, willing to walk around and take photos of ALL the exterior areas and levels. Be sure to take the photos as you want the model to appear – remove all canvas coverings, instrument covers, and assorted “boat stuff” (keys, cords, binoculars, cups/glasses, towels, etc.). Dock lines and power cords can be left on board during the photo session. Please close ALL doors, companionway hatch boards, transom/side entry gates/doors and hatches as you want the model to appear.  The more photos - the better!

Photos should minimally include:
• A complete walk around exterior photo set showing the full side profile of the boat, water lines and boot stripes - both fore and aft sections, any sheer lines - both fore and aft, any and all graphics. A clean and clear shot of the transom with wide view and a closer view showing the name and home port. Include shots of roof top items such as antennas, radar and communications equipment, assorted electronics, lights, bells, horns, etc).
• We need to have a complete side profile, front (looking at the bow) and rear view (looking at the transom).. These are often taken from a dingy/tender while the boat is in the water, not moving. Maybe from a mooring ball or docked at an end tie dock. These photos are a MUST, if plans are not available, as we'll need these views to develop our own plans - entirely from your photos.

• Cockpit (all four corner area views), helm station and steering areas,  different angels showing the helm station and navigation instrumentation. Take photos from the helmsman seat and from the sides and above (don't forget to remove the instrument covers)
• If you have a fly bridge, upper deck helm station, and each level of a  tuna tower -  the same - photos showing various angle views and details, showing steering stations and instrumentation.
• Views that show the locations for all port lights, hatches and vents
• For sailboats, the main companionway from different angles
• Views that show the location and details of all deck hardware: any winches, cleats, chocks, etc.
• Photos of the boat out of the water - these are critically important if plans are not available

• Views of the bow pulpit, windlass, and anchor handling or furling systems.

• For Sailboats - various sheet handling systems, masthead view, shrouds and stays, mainsheet and vang, mast boot and mast/boom assembly items. Remove the sail cover if needed• Transom:photos showing shape and water lines, boot stripes or sheer lines in this area• Vessel name and home port, showing placement on vessel and font. If you have the vessel name/graphic in a pdf file, please send that too.

• If you want your yacht club burgee on the model, please photograph the flag or provide artwork, and indicate placement of the vessel with a photo.

If you have any photos of your boat out of the water, we would like those as well. If you do not have drawings or plans, out of the water photos are a big help.

The more photos - the better!  Feel free to call us to discuss the photos needed.

Click HERE to see a short YouTube video on taking photos for a powerboat.

Click HERE to see a short YouTube video on taking photos for a sailboat.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SENDING YOUR PICTURES - The best, easiest, and most preferred, method to get me the photos is via Dropbox.  Please DO NOT send your photos via e-mail as sending via e-mail tends to clog up our server. Let us know when you have the photos and all the available drawings, and have loaded them onto Dropbox.

Shutterfly and similar photo viewing services are NOT useful as we need to access the actual jpg files to enlarge, view and manipulate as needed.  If you must send your photos by mail, on a disk or flash drive, please contact us for mailing instructions BEFORE mailing. Again, please DO NOT E-MAIL your photos, individually or as set, as it tends to clog up our servers and other creates other issues.

How do you match my hull colors? 
Our experience is that it is not easy to paint a boat only from the photos that you provide us ( A black hull from a navy blue hull? A light gray deck or cream colored deck on a photo taken in poor light conditions?) To help us accurately paint your model, we need paint references used for the deck, mast , top side of hull, waterlines and bottom paint.  You can also send us sample of paint on paper or ask your boat builder for the color scheme used on your boat. If known, you can provide us with the AwlGrip/AwlCraft colors used on your vessel. (Click HERE for an AwlGrip color card reference) Without correct information we will not be able to guarantee an accurate paint replication.

Do you really need plans or drawings of my boat?
Ideally, yes! It's best to have plans and drawings to work from. If no plans or drawings are available, then we will have to work entirely from your photographs and will need to develop our own scale drawings. This will generally add 12-16 weeks to the model build time.  So any plans or drawings you can provide us are a big help!

At the bottom of this page are examples, for both power and sail boats, of what plan/drawing views we like to get. 

Assuming they are still in business, you should contact the boat builder to request drawings. Let them know you are commissioning a replica model and what we are looking for: hull line drawings, top views and side profiles deck hardware layouts and General Arrangements. You could send them to this page to see exactly what we are looking for. PDF files are fine and we can also work with a number of file formats. Nicely, about 50% of the time the boat builders will have something for you. If they want to talk with us directly, or if we need to sign a confidentiality agreement, please give them our contact information. 

Another drawing source is to check if you have any drawings from owners' manuals, sales brochures, etc,  These are very helpful too. You can scan and send them electronically, or if you send them to us in a paper format, we will return your items (upon request) with your model.

My boat is out of production, and I don’t have any boat plans.
If no plans or drawings are available, we will need an excellent photo set which must include a full side profile, a front and back views, and photos of various items as mentioned in the bullet list in our photo how-to guide. Assuming you are able to provide a good photo set, we can work from the photos alone. So the more photos, the better! And don't forget any out of the water views.  Please note that without any plans or drawings, we will need to develop our own scale drawings and this will add 12-16 weeks to the model build time.

My boat is new, it’s still being built.
For a yet-to-be built vessel, we can easily work with CAD, Rhino files, 3-D renderings, line drawings and other files obtained directly from the boat builder.

 Questions? Please contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Power Boat Plan Examples


Sail Boat Plan Examples