8 Helpful Photography Tips for Cruises

Cruise holidays are set to be in full swing this year, with 61% of people saying they will be travelling abroad this year. Nothing adds to the cruise blues more than coming home and realising you didn’t manage to capture any great photographs. Travel experts Cruise118.com have teamed up with expert photographer CJ Ware to reveal 8 photography tips for cruises that will ensure you capture perfect pictures on your next cruise holiday. 

Cruises are notoriously difficult to photograph on due to the motion of the cruise ship and difficult lighting. Find out how you can capture perfect pictures on your next cruise with these foolproof tips. 

Photography Tips for Cruises: Choose the right time to shoot 

All pictures, no matter what high-tech devices we have, depend on lighting. Early morning or late evening, so sunrise or sunset, are the best opportunities to snap those perfect shots. Cruise118.com told us “nothing quite tops that first sunset and sunrise you see on a cruise, being in the middle of the ocean poses the perfect backdrop for a holiday sunset picture so good you’ll want to frame!”

photography tips for cruises sunrise on Danube
Sunrise on the Danube

Expert photographer CJ Ware added “Keep an eye on the sunset and sunrise times for each location you are in. On a cruise ship you can get breathtaking shots of sunset and sunrise, you don’t want to miss it!”

Cruise Photography Tip: Move around 

This is one of the most important photography tips for cruises to bear in mind – move your feet! Instead of just going to the same favourite spot on the cruise ship, move around to multiple locations of the ship to make sure your collection of holiday snaps have some diversity to it. 

funnel photography on Carnival Celebration

The same applies when on excursions, instead of just turning up and taking some shots at the first picture opportunity, take a few minutes to get your bearings – walk around and see if there is a better frame or composition.

3. Pre-plan your shots 

Before going on your cruise, it’s a good idea to do some research on the tourist destinations you’ll be visiting. Spending a few hours planning out your shot list of images you want to photograph so you can come prepared. Look at what each of the places you’ll be visiting on your excursions has to offer – make use of Google for inspiration of what to look out for to photograph. Doing this will help you nail the shots, and give you more purpose and direction.

4. Take too many cruise photographs rather than too few

It takes a lot to get that perfect shot – that’s why professional photographers take hundreds of images to get that perfect one. It’s a good idea to take too many photos that you can sift through once the post holiday blues kick in, rather than to get home and realise you didn’t get any good ones. If you’re using your phone, look for the ‘burst’ option which will take numerous photos within one photo.

We took multiple photographs during our Suez Canal cruise – read more about this cruise here.

5. Don’t miss the unique landscape photographs that you only get with a cruise 

Cruising offers the best opportunity to capture the perfect landscape shots. When pulling into a port make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to capture the full landscape of the destination –  the type of shot you can only get on a cruise.  This is one tip we’d definitely recommend for a Norwegian Fjords cruise.

cruise photography

6. Photography Tips for Cruises: Head to the highest deck

Take advantage of all vantage points of the ship, especially the highest deck. CJ adds, “cruising offers the opportunity to take unique photos that you aren’t able to get on land. Take full advantage of all of the decks and vantage points to get one of a kind photos with out of this world views.”

7. Know your lighting 

The lighting on a cruise ship will vary dramatically throughout the day, so in order to get perfect pictures it’s essential to get to grips with how the lighting affects your photos. 

We all know that golden hours offer the best photography shots, giving us that dreamy golden glow.

You’ll certainly get lots of clear skies and sunny days during your cruise. One of the best photography tips for cruises is to not shoot directly in the sun.

If the sun is behind your subject, you’ll get a washed out image and capture a big shadow. When you’re shooting outdoors, make sure your back is always to the sun – never in front of your camera. If you’re taking a selfie, the sun should be shining on your face otherwise you’ll have a lot of unflattering shadows. 

photography tips for cruises
Low lighting can spoil your cruise photographs

When nightime comes, it can be tempting to use a flash however this has the potential to ruin images and definitely won’t do your magical setting any justice. Instead, try to use the ambient lighting of the moon and soft deck lighting.

Photography Tips for Cruises: Avoid camera shake 

Camera tripods can be great for when you’re on land but if you’re trying to capture a perfect shot on board, they may not work so well due to the slight movement of the ship. Taking a photo without blur on board a cruise is notoriously tricky. 

Instead, invest in a selfie-stick that can securely attach to your phone. 

If you don’t have a selfie-stick, the safest way to hold your phone to avoid camera shake (and dropping it) is to hold your device with both hands and use your thumbs to turn it around.

If you’re going on a cruise soon make sure you bear these 8 photography tips for cruises in mind so you can capture the perfect shots. 


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