Working as a cruise ship photographer can be an exciting and rewarding job, as you'll get to travel the world and meet a diverse group of people. I worked as a cruise ship photographer 2013 to 2016 over 5 contracts inclduing 2 world cruises for P&O's Oceana, Arcadia & Cunard's Queen Elizabeth.
To become a cruise ship photographer, you will typically need to have photography skills and experience (though I worked with many individuals who had zero of both!), and customer service / people skills come in handy, as you'll be working closely with guests and other crew members.
Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of getting a job as a cruise ship photographer:
1: Build a portfolio of your work: Put together a selection of your best photographs, including a variety of subjects and styles. This will give potential employers an idea of your skills and experience.
2: Develop your photography skills: Consider taking photography classes or workshops to improve your skills and learn new techniques. This will help you stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of getting hired.
3: Get relevant experience: Try to get as much experience working with people as you can. For example, you could work as a portrait or event photographer. You'll also want to have experience in traveling, to be comfortable working abroad.
4: Network: Connect with other photographers, both online and in person. You can also reach out to cruise ship companies directly and inquire about photography jobs.
5: Apply to open positions: When cruise ship companies have open positions for photographers, they will typically post the job on their website, LinkedIn and specialized job-boards. Check these sources regularly, and be sure to submit a polished resume and cover letter along with your portfolio when you apply.
6: Be prepared for an interview: If you're selected for an interview, be sure to dress professionally and prepare answers to common interview questions. The company will likely ask about your experience, your qualifications and your attitude in working abroad and on board.
Keep in mind that cruise ship photographers typically work long hours and may have to work on holidays and weekends. The job can also be physically demanding, as you may need to carry camera equipment and move around the ship to take pictures.
It's also important to keep in mind that cruise industry has been affected by COVID-19, it may take some time for things to come back to normal and for cruise ships to start hiring photographers again. For more information on working on cruise ships, be sure to check out "My Cruise Ship Photography Experience" video below!
Video: My cruise ship photography experience
Please note that the below was filmed a fair few years ago (2018), so some of the statistics such as pay may no longer apply. But my experience is still true and relevant!
In 2013 I signed up for my first contract as a Cruise Ship Photographer . The job sounds amazing right!? You get paid to travel and take photographs? Heck yeah!
The build up to my first contract was an exciting time, I was not long out of university, and eager to see the world. But beyond the formal contracts, PDF presentations and Visas that I had to sign up for, I wanted to know, what is life actually like working as a Cruise Ship Photographer? Do I actually get to go out in port? And How long for? How much do I get paid? What do I eat? What clothes do I take? Do I need my own camera? What if I get sea sick? and many many more questions...
In the below video I mainly focus on my personal work life balance (covering 5 contracts over 3 years), I also share some of my own experiences and views. I only scratch the surface of what life is like working at sea.