Photo Tip Series – Photographing Your Cruise Vacation

PhotoTipSeriesGraphicsWritten by Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I’m writing about is photographing your cruise vacation. Many of us have taken cruises before and probably did know what to photograph while on your trip. I want you to have some great memories to remember to last for a lifetime.

Before heading to your on your cruise vacation here are some photo equipment to bring with you. Make sure you have plenty of camera and flash batteries, battery chargers, a tripod, 1-2 DSLR cameras, a Speedlight flash, a variety of lenses, laptop computer, SD cards, cable release or remote, and a photo backpack. Don’t forget to test your camera to make sure it is working correctly before heading on your trip. The cruise ship does not offer camera repair service for passengers on board their ship.

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While on your cruise ship there will be plenty of opportunities to capture some great images. I recommend boarding the cruise ship early to capture some places without all of the people on board yet. Here are some key places to check out atrium, pool desk, your cabin, empty theater, empty hallways, empty dinner rooms, etc.

Before the ship leaves the port, it is best to find a good spot and wait with your camera. I recommend going to the sun deck, which is right over the bridge. There will be some great scenery to photograph when leaving various ports. Try photographing the other things such as other cruise ships leaving the port, pilot boat underway, military & coast guard ships, passing underneath a bridge, around lighthouse, etc.


While on board a cruise ship there are some photo restrictions. These photo restrictions are at any live Broadway theater shows, inside kitchen areas, top nude deck, security checkpoints, crew quarters, medical facility, casino area, professional photo backgrounds, childcare center, and much more. If you’re unsure than ask a cruise staff member.

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When there is nothing to do on the ship, take out your camera and photograph away. I love it when the stores are closed. The lit storefront windows are filled with merchandise. This is a great time to photograph some of these items for sale. Here are just some of the items on display, which are liquor bottles, jewelry, souvenirs, and much more. Just remember to put your lens up to the window to photograph through the glass. If not, one will have a reflection of them selves on the storefront window or stand back away from the window. One may even encounter glare off the glass windows. If you have too, reposition yourself for the right angle without the glare then take a photo.

Interior ship-scapes are a must to photograph while on your vacation. Take several photos from the front of the ship, sides, and back of the ship. Some ships have huge atriums, but not all. One will need a wide-angle lens to accomplish this task. A few passengers may even get a chance to photograph on the bridge of the ship too. This is a limited access area.

During the evening time one will see ship’s professional photographers set-up with background and studio lighting at various locations on the ship. Most ships frown on letting anyone photographing with his or her camera with the professional photographers’ backgrounds. The ship is there to make money and not for your personal gain. If you see a location where a professional photographer is photographing from come back at another time and set-up your own photo scene when it is not crowded. One might be able to take the same exact image as the professional photographer minus the lighting set-up.

Don’t forget to photograph the food in the dinning room and at the buffet too. It is best to photograph the buffet when they restock the buffet lines and when there is less people around. If is ok to get a wide image of the interior of the restaurant. It is frown upon taking tight of photos of people eating in the dinning room. No one wants a photo of him or her with their mouth full of food.

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Some entertainment can be photograph while on the ship. If there is a no photo-video signs posted around the ship. Plus, there will be an announcement made before the show too. The high-end Broadway Shows can’t be photograph because of copyright laws. Please respect the sign and don’t photograph during a show. Other live music acts on stage inside the atrium and other areas are open to photographing. Shoot away and have fun.

The best times to take night photos are super early in the morning or very late at night with very few people are around. The swimming pool lit up is a very cool image. This photo should be a long exposure shot requiring a tripod and cable release or remote. The motion of the ship might make it took blurry if shot too long. Review the image on the back camera display if available.

When leaving the cruise ship remember to hide and secure your camera gear. I recommend using a non-discrete backpack to haul your camera gear. Many criminals are looking to steal your photography equipment. If you have a Canon or Nikon label on your backpack you are advertising what you have to the criminal. I suggest placing black electrical tape to cover up the name of the camera and model number on your camera. No one needs to know what type and model of camera you own. Some individuals maybe curious about what type of camera you own. It is not advised to disclose this information to suspicious people.

Once you get off the cruise ship, I tend to photograph the front and backside of the ship if possible. If the sun is in the wrong position then wait till later in the day. Try setting the camera in auto focus with a wide-angle lens and place the camera down on the ground facing the front or back of the cruise ship. This will give you a dramatic image.

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Some cruise passengers take shore excursion tours. If you’re going to be on a tour, there is going to be very little time to stop and take everything in. I recommend using one camera with a general lens of a 28-300mm lens to capture as much as you can. Set your camera mode on automatic to capture just about everything you see.

While out and about, you might lose a lens hoods, lens caps, SD cards, etc. All of these items can be replaced. So don’t worry about it; things happen.

When your cruise vacation is over you will have a lot of time to select the best photos and color correct them. Just a reminder to always back-up your RAW photos from your vacation. In case, something happens you’ll have a back-up copy. Once you have accomplished this task then post them on your social media account. Your friends and family will want to see your published vacation photos. Good luck photographing on your vacation.

Explore your photography abilities. Practice makes perfect in the eye of the beholder. For more Photo Tip Series articles please visit . If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. Also, join to be one of our followers at otownfun on WordPress. For more great events, places, and articles, please visit us out at

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