Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Travel photography on a cruise can be very frustrating for a photographer. It’s like being on a 3000 person tour bus, except it has fabulous food and private accommodations.  The problem is you’re not in control of WHEN anything happens. However, with some planning and research great photography is possible on a cruise if you use these tips:


Some the best sunrise and sunset images I’ve taken happened from our balcony. It’s all about easy access—you can be out there in seconds and it does not matter how you’re dressed! The robe is always handy…

Great travel photography is possible on a cruise because the ship tends to arrive at each port at sunrise and sail away is usually at sunset.  So, I book morning excursions and that means something will be in good light.  For those who don’t know, excursions are guided tours of well known and not so well known sites on each island. Your job is to do the research, well before you book your cruise, on things you want to photograph on each island; thank God for the internet!

Once you have received your paperwork on your cruise they will include a list of excursions they recommend, that you can book through the cruise line, for each island on the itinerary. There are at  least two reasons this is a good idea. 
  1. The cruise line recommends reputable excursion companies that are reliable and have satisfactory reviews from their passengers.  Security and safety is their concern as well—you are after all visiting some third-world regions on most cruises—and there is safety in numbers.
  2. With cruise line excursions they GUARANTEE to get you back to the ship; the ship won’t sail without you! If you do a private excursion you will not have that guarantee—you could miss your ship.
I have gotten some fabulous images on these excursions and in seven cruises to date have never had a bad experience.

TIP #13:  A HOODMAN LOUPE will allow you to see the back of your viewfinder in bright areas.

TIP #14:  MIGHT WANT TO RESET YOUR CAMERA’S CLOCK to LOCAL time, so your metadata is useful.  

TIP #15:  TURN YOUR CAMERA OFF WHEN CHANGING LENSES. When ON the sensor’s static charge will attract dust.

TIP #16:  TIP YOUR PERFORMING MODELS; AND ASK PERMISSION TO PHOTOGRAPH LOCALS. Bring model releases—you might get an image you’ll want to us in an international print competition.

TIP #17:  WEAR YOUR GEAR…belted lens pouches and fanny pack. My little tripod came with a bag and sling. If you set your gear down you may never see it again.

One of the best things about travel by cruise ship is that no matter where you go at the end of the day you get to return to a fabulous hotel with great food and creative alcoholic drinks! Try a Chocolate Banana…they’re great! Best part you’re not driving!

When we cruise with other professional photographers, one of our traditions is to meet up for sail away, at the bar, on the ship’s stern, and toast the sunset. Always great moments.

’Til next week…as always if you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask.  Asking is part of learning.

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Certified, Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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