The Photo Department on a cruise ship could consist of 3 to 15 photographers (depending on the size of the ship) and offers the following jobs: photo manager, assistant photo manager, photographer, junior photographer and videographer (the videographer position with some cruise lines is within the Cruise Activities / Criuse Staff Department). Seen everywhere on board and ashore, the photographers and videographers are constantly entertaining both the passengers and crew while creating instant memories for everyone around them. Most photographers are employed through concessionaire companies. Some cruise lines run their own photo department operations. In general the work of the Photo Department team members aboard a cruise ship could be subdivided into three main categories of activities - shooting photos (or videos for videographers), processing and printing the footage (work in the lab) and selling the photos, videos and other related retail items in the ship's Photo Gallery.
1. Taking the images. It is really difficult to name all the events and activities taking place on a cruise ship that could be captured by the photographers or videographers. There are two types of typical working days for a photographer on a cruise ship - a port day (when the ship is in port) and a sea day (when the ship is at sea sailing between ports). On a port day the cruise ship photographer would take photos at the gangway when passengers are leaving or entering the ship or ashore where photographers may attend some of the tours, taking pictures of passengers with great scenery in the background - glaciers, volcanoes, important landmarks etc. When the ship stops at one of the many "private islands" that cruise lines have in the Caribbean, the photographers would be taking beach photos. On a sea day photographers would be taking photos entirely on the ship. On formal nights cruise ship photographers will shoot full-length portraits, photos with the Captain and take pictures around ship's dining room tables. The range of photographs will include professional portraiture to candid or social photography. On special theme nights cruise ship photographers will dress up in different costumes and pose with passengers - as pirates on a Caribbean cruise, as animals on a cruise to Alaska etc. Another aspect of the cruise ship photographer job is taking wedding pictures. The number of weddings taking place aboard cruise ships is increasing and this is an opportunity for practicing wedding photography and earning an additional income for ship photographers.
2. Processing and printing the pictures takes place in the ship's photo lab. Not all of the cruise ship photography team members are qualified to perform this task. There is onboard training though and usually by the end of the first contract most of the photographers become familiar with processing and printing photos. In a similar way cruise ship videographers edit and transfer to discs their video footage.
3. Selling the photos, videos and related items. This activity takes place in the Photo Gallery and the Photo Retail Shop aboard the cruise ship. The photographer assumes the role of photo retail sales consultant and sells photos, videos, albums, frames, folios, cameras and photo accessories thus earning individual commission on all sales. The Photo Retail Shop aboard cruise ships offers also printing of photos taken by guests with their personal cameras. Regarding this aspect of the job selling ability is essential. The better salesman a ship photographer is the higher commission he/ she will earn at the end of the cruise.