5 Tips to Better Cruise Photographs

MSC Cruise Ship

Not everyone gets to go on a much dreamed-about cruise. And when you do get that precious opportunity, it’s a must that you make the most of it. Get cozy in your cabin, enjoy the buffet, lounge by the pool, join the activities, and sign up for on-shore excursions.

But, since your cruise is not likely to go on forever, it’s also important that you immortalize those precious moments the best way possible – through great photographs! Here are five tips that will definitely help you get those cruise shots picture-perfect:

Be ready with the right photography tool – a good camera

Cruise Photo

What exactly is a ‘good camera’ for cruise photos? If you’re not a professional photographer, this question can be tricky to answer.

Consider these factors:

First, it must be easy to operate. You’d want to have a camera that you can whip out and be ready to shoot anytime. A DSLR is great for capturing shots that you want to blow up and print. This is ideal if you’ll be going through and headed for scenery-rich destinations.

Point and shoot cameras on the other hand are great for those fun, activity-filled moments when you don’t want to be lugging around bulky photography gear. Your phone’s camera must not be underestimated too! The macro feature of most phone cams are great for those Instagram-worthy detail shots.

Second, ‘good’ really depends on what kind of shots you see yourself taking. Would they mostly be of people and places? Would you be going underwater? Do you need more powerful lenses? Cruiser tip: Waterproof cameras are always a great tool to have handy.

A tripod is also something you’d be thankful to have when needed.

Third, make sure that your camera is in great, operational condition. You don’t want your camera to be clonking out just when you need to capture a moment most.

Always have your subject in mind

Royal Princess

Photo By: Benson Kua (Creative Commons)

In taking a shot, always remember what you’re actually taking a picture of. Is it the scenery? Is it your friend and the awesome sunset? Is it the awesome detail of the restaurant lamps?

Knowing what your subject is gives your photo both a figurative and literal focus, which makes it easier for you to give it better composition too.

This is where ‘telling a story’ comes in – what is your photo all about? Make it a point that the elements present in your frame clearly relay the message and mood that you want to put across.

Fun night on deck? You can either get the action in your shot, zoom in on the happy faces, or capture colors from a higher level. Visiting a country for the first time? Make sure to be in the frame, and capture the most ‘telling’ aspect of the place (a famous landmark, a symbolic area, etc.).

Find your light

Boston Cruise

Photo By: size4riggerboots (Creative Commons)

Unless you’re looking to have photos that are over or underexposed, you might want to make sure that you have the right amount of light before you take the shot. If you have an abundance of sunlight, make sure it is behind you rather than in front of you – you don’t want your subject to be a mere shadow in an otherwise memorable moment.

The best mood-setting kind of light, especially in tropical destinations, is early in the morning and late afternoon. Nothing like a beautiful sunrise or sunset in the Bahamas or Caribbean to include in your cruise gallery!

It’s a lot about timing – be on deck early, just before it starts to get busy in the area of the ship you’re shooting. This way, your shot will not be cluttered, and you’ll get to find the best angles.

Taking pictures with a flash will come in handy in certain situations though – don’t hesitate to use it when you feel like you don’t have sufficient natural light.

Capture the journey on the high seas

Carnival Sunset

Photo By: Kim (Creative Commons)

Well the highlight of the cruise isn’t just the destination – it’s the journey too! So make sure to include some ship-related elements into your shots. It can be a sign, a wide shot of the ship, a great view of the deck – any object that says “I’m on a cruise!”.

If you’d want to be in the frame but still want to capture the ‘cruise feel’, put yourself off-center and give the scenery or view the spotlight. You don’t have to be facing and smiling at the camera either – a profile shot or a shot from a slightly different angle, will give the photo a unique perspective.

Tour the ship – and find your unique spots

Sunset Deck

Photo By: Phil Comeau (Creative Commons)

There will always be areas on the ship that are ‘best’ for taking photos. More often than not, these areas will be crowded with people clicking away on their cameras. Once you do get your ‘standard’ photo there – go on and explore the ship! There are plenty of interesting corners and pretty spaces that can serve as your photos’ backdrop – or even as main subject!

In addition to unique spots, you can also try to give your shots a different ‘texture’ or feel by tilting your camera, shooting through other objects (like shooting through a weaved fabric or net), or including unexpected objects in a shot.

Take as many photos as you can! Have your laptop handy so you can transfer the photos and get ‘fresh memory’ for the next day. And most importantly, enjoy every single moment of your cruise – genuine happiness shows, and it makes for the best photos!

5 Tips to Better Cruise Photographs