How to Take Successful Photographs on Your Cruise Holiday


Cruise holidays are one of the best places to make the kind of memories that last a lifetime and there’s no better way to preserve those memories than taking beautiful photographs of your trip.

This can be a bit more challenging than it sounds if you’re not much of a photographer and you tend to end up with more fuzzy blurs than stunning sunsets. To stop you getting home to find that you have nothing but unidentifiable areas of ocean and accidental shots of your own nostril we’ve put together this guide on how to take successful photographs on your cruise holiday.

Get Personal

Cruise ship upper deck in sunny day

Cruise ships are beautiful and you might be tempted to take photographs of everything from the glittery main staircase to the nautical door handles. Six months down the line, however, you’re unlikely to want to look at pictures of the cruise ship décor that you can find better versions of online. The key to taking photographs you’ll treasure to make sure that they’re personal. A picture of The Leaning Tower of Pisa will be all the better for having one of your nearest and dearest pretending to hold it up in the foreground. Whether it’s your wife looking beautiful on deck, the kids pulling funny faces in the pool, or a cheeky in-joke you’ll be laughing at in years to come, make sure all your pictures are personal to you.

Use Space Creatively

Cruise ship have a bit of a tendency to look like, well, cruise ships and pictures of the inside of your cabin are likely to look very compartmental. The key to taking good pictures inside the ship is to get creative with space, angles, and perspective. Try getting down in one corner to give your photographs a diagonal look, or taking pictures whilst stood on the balcony. The same rules apply all over the ship, where you can stand up on a stair or go down to deck level to get pictures that show an unusual perspective. You’ll find that your pictures have a lot more visual variety and look less like everyone else’s.

Light it Right

Getting the lighting right is the thing that makes or breaks a good picture. Professional photographers recommend turning your flash off, unless you have an expensive specialised one. It can make inside rooms look dingy, blow out all your colours, and leave your subjects looking ghostly pale. Try using natural light instead, particularly in the ‘magic hour’ just before sunrise or sunset, when the golden light makes everything look more beautiful than ever. Bear in mind that it’s always better to underexpose a picture rather than overexpose it, as this can more easily be altered later.

Quantity Makes Quality

woman on a cruise ship

Any professional photographer will tell you that they have hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs that they have discarded for each perfect one they share. Photography is all about capturing that perfect moment, and it takes lots of trial and error to get there. If your camera has a speedy shutter time and you have a good flash card, try out a bit of rapid fire photography. Take lots of pictures in a row and then pick your favourite one, rather than trying to capture that perfect moment, only to realise later that you missed it. If your camera doesn’t have much space, try taking more time to deliberate over your photograph, being ruthless and specific as you identify that one moment you want to capture.

Steady Your Hand

No matter how carefully you hold your camera, if you’re holding it away from your face it’s not going to be steady and your pictures will end up slightly blurry or on a slight angle. Either rest the camera on your nose, opt for assistance from a table or other surface, or invest in a tripod. You’ll be especially glad of it when you’re on the ship, because not only do your hands move, the floor does too!

Get to Know Your Camera

Tempting as it can be to invest in a brand new camera before your cruise, or even buy one from the onboard shop, this is not the best way to get good holiday photographs. Being comfortable with how your camera works and what final results you can expect from it will make all the difference to the quality of your pictures. Take some practise shots in different environments to get an idea of how the shutter speed and aperture settings work. A bit of practice can be the difference between getting beautiful shots you’ll treasure forever and ending up with hundreds of useless photographs because you couldn’t work how to turn off manual mode.

Portrait of tourist taking picture of architectural details

Go Wide, Get Small

Composing your shots properly is the key to getting photographs that have that professional edge. Cruise ships offer lots of opportunity to play with angles and perspectives, which can be great fun to play about with. Try out some wide, panoramic shots of the stunning scenery from the ship’s deck and some up close pictures of the details on a beautiful lamp or well-presented meal. You’ll end up with a variety of shots that capture all the best moments of your trip, big and small.

Edit Them Perfect

Many people forget that the beautiful final photographs taken by professionals have usually been extensively edited. This doesn’t mean that they’ve photoshopped them into something they aren’t, but it does mean that they will have used a photo-editing tool to alter the lighting or crop it to adjust the focus. There is plenty of affordable photo editing software out there suitable for beginners and it can make all the difference to your photographs. You’ll be amazed at what a huge difference it can make to the quality of your photographs.

Now that you know how to take photographs like a professional, why not book yourself one of Cruise1st UK’s amazing deals on a cruise holiday so you can try out your new skills? Browse the full collection online or call our friendly sales team on 0808 2746 777.

How to Take Successful Photographs on Your Cruise Holiday
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How to Take Successful Photographs on Your Cruise Holiday
Cruises are one of the best places to make memories that last a lifetime and there’s no better way to preserve them than taking photographs of your trip.

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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