Here are a few travel photography tips and techniques for cruise ship passengers to create better travel images. With beautiful cruise ships, incredible ports of call with stunning scenery, ethnic cultures, colorful markets and historic places cruisers have the opportunity to capture photo and video memories of a lifetime. Check out our recent post: Photographing Fresh Markets of the World. Some of the tips below may guide you as you travel with your camera.
Be sure to watch for future posts on travel photography tips for cruisers in this Blog. Please add your own experiences, tips and links to photos in the comments section below.
Photography on Board
Most passengers carry cameras but forget to use them while on board. Some of the greatest photo opportunities are during the ship’s daily activities, theme or special events, or in the lounges and restaurants. Be sure to check the daily program to target cruise life on board. Don’t forget to photograph the cruise activities staff, crew that serve you and your travelling companions or new friends.
While on board give yourself a photo assignment, create a photo story and practice your camera techniques for those really photo rich opprtunities on shore. Photography is typically not permitted during production entertainment shows but is often permitted during local ethnic, crew shows and during the many daily activities so be sure to sit close to the stage and be up front to capture the action. Most take just an establishing shot so be sure to get close and capture midrange and close-ups of the action from different viewpoints and angles of view.
Place your hand on a ship railing when cruising or even when tied up to a pier in port. Surprise – it always shakes since huge generators and motors operate 24/7 but play havoc on image clarity due to slight and sometimes undetectible vibrations. In low light situations (dusk, inside photos, discotheque, romantic restaurants) increase your cameras ISO to result in a faster shutter speed (minimum 1/60 sec) and turn your IS/VR/camera shake mode on to minimize blurred images. The very short duration of your camera flash (typically a 1/1000th of a second) will freeze action in low light and minimize ship vibration effects but only for subjects within range of your flash (only 10 feet for a pop up flash; greater for add on flashes)
Meeting interesting people is a fun part of cruising and be sure to photograph them. Check our our recent Blog post on Photographing People You Don’t Know.
Keeping track of your images
Longer or port intensive cruises means active photographers need to keep track of their location so that they can review their photos and videos later and remember where they were. A simple way to do that is to photography the port information handout before leaving the ship, port welcome signs or tour and attraction ticket stubs to see visually where you are that day when you review your images much later.
Setting the camera time for all cameras in your group to exactly the same time (ideally local time) will help organize photos from different cameras into destination folders in the correct chronological order later.
Reminder: Practice your camera techniques before traveling and always place yourself in the place of most potential to capture stunning cruise travel images. Happy sailing!
About the authors: David and Anna Smith have travelled to 6 continents on cruise ships as travel photographers and writers, guest lecturers on photography, exotic fabrics and cultural/destination subjects and workshop leaders. Their motto: “Dream travellers capturing the world one smiling face at a time.” Visit their general web sites Image by Interface and online photo archives and galleries and fine art travel images at Interface Images. For more travel photography tips get David’s Travel Photography Tips DVD or download or rent it now from Amazon.
Photo Workshops/Public Speaking
David Smith leads digital photography classes and digital camera workshops for beginner, enthusiast and professional levels in the metro Vancouver, BC regions and guest lectures on cruise ships and conventions worldwide. For more visit David Smith Workshops/Photography Training
Anna Smith leads textile arts and cultural handicraft workshops and speaks on exotic fabrics of the world. Visit Anna Smith public speaking and workshops
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