Considering a Photography Job in the Cruise Ship Industry

Are you tired of the same old grind day in and day out? Ever have an urge to travel the world and see something new? Do you have a good work ethic and wouldn’t mind going completely out of your comfort zone?

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then you should definitely consider working on a cruise ship as a photographer. Let me tell you right off the bat, it’s not easy work and working on a cruise ship doesn’t mean you’re on vacation. You do however get many huge benefits.

The Cost of being a Cruise Ship Photographer

Let’s start off with what might be perceived as the negatives. These aren’t necessarily all negative aspects of the job, but they are things that you will definitely need to think about before you make a commitment to this life style.

You must be willing to be gone from your home for 8 months at a time. During this time you will be traveling to many different parts of the world without the opportunity to see friends and family. You will need to be comfortable with this or it’s going to be a very difficult job. At the end of your 8-month contracts you will have the opportunity to take about 2 months off for vacation.

Expect 8-hour workdays 7 days a week for the entire 8 months without a day off, ever. Not only will you be gone for 8 months, but you’re also going to work extremely hard every day of those 8 months. When I say you’ll never get a day off, I mean it. Not even one.

Strict rules while onboard. This may not be much different from what you currently experience if you work for a large company, but it might also be completely different from what you’re used to if you work for yourself. On the ship there are a lot of rules and regulations that you’ll have to live by.

The Benefits of being a Cruise Ship Photographer

If you’re still here and still reading, then that’s a good sign. The hard work is good for you anyways and you’ll learn a lot from doing the hardest work of your life. Now let’s take a look at all the benefits.

Excellent pay. While you live on board the ship you don’t have any living expenses. You don’t pay for food, housing, utilities, or anything. You probably won’t have much need for a cell phone so you shouldn’t have cell phone costs. You don’t need health insurance because the company takes care of all medical care that you need. Because of this anything that you earn you can use however you like. Expect a starting pay of $1,500-$2,000 per month with the ability to double that within 2 years.

Very fast promotions. You can easily be promoted to assistant manager and then manager within your first 2 or 3 contracts. You have plenty of upward mobility as a ship photographer. Of course you’ll need to prove yourself worthy of promotions first. If you can do this and you are motivated, fast promotions are well within your grasp.

You will see the world. Cruise ships go nearly every destination imaginable. You’re going to have the chance of a lifetime to see many different areas of the world and get paid to do it. Even though I’ve already mentioned that you must work hard, you get plenty of free time while you’re docked in the different ports to do some exploring for yourself.

Exposure to people from all over the world. This is actually one of the best benefits. You can’t imagine how cool it is to work with someone from Peru, Indonesia, England and South Africa all at the same time. The new ideas and ways of thinking that you will be exposed to will greatly influence and impact you. You will have a better understanding of the world.

Excellent experience in photography.  Whether or not you have loads of experience in photography, you’re going to learn something new. You’re going to develop the ability to take photographs of people in rapid fire. Consider shooting portraits of a couple that are all dressed in their finest, but only having 60 seconds to do it. You’re going to be able to bang out photos extremely fast, and be able to do it well. You’ll get lots of studio lighting experience. You’ll also have lots of candid photography experience.

Business experience. Once you start getting promoted to assistant manager and finally to photo manager, you’ll start learning more and more what it means to be a small business owner. You won’t own the business in the usual sense of the word, but you will be in charge of all daily activities. You will be in charge of making sure the business runs smoothly from start to finish.

Taking the Leap of Faith

I know, it’s no simple matter to actually make the move and decide to leave your current life to work on a ship. I can tell you though that it’s one of the best things that you can ever do. As you might be able to tell I think the pros far outweigh the cons and it’s worth it at least to try out once. You’ve only got one life and this is only an 8-month commitment. Just try it out. If you want more information, head on over to the website of Ian Kee to find out more or to ask him questions.

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frozenfires@gmail.com' About Ian Kee

Ready for more information about living and photographing on a cruise ship? Head on over to the website of Ian Kee to find out more or to ask him questions.

  • Alex A

    Yeah, I saw those photographers at work… don’t think I could last like them! The videographers though had a lot more fun… I wouldn’t mind that!

  • I’m not sure the work would keep me interested, but I did have the idea of handing out cards on board a 10-day cruise around Greece last summer. Spending a few hours with a family shooting pics in Greece is an attractive package for them and income for you. Also makes for a sweet business trip-

  • I couldn’t agree more. What a great way of being able to “write off” part of your trip. I love business trips!
    Lori

  • Steve

    Hey Ian, great advice and info. I have an interview Tuesday with Ocean Images in Ft Lauderdale. Your great positive attitude makes me feel a little more comfortable with possibly accepting a job if they offer. There is quite alot of negative online info and advice, but then again most people who love there job and stay busy with a great attitude won’t take the time to write anything but positive. Your little review has bumped up my expectations of the job! Thanks. If you have any advice I would welcome any thoughts smittrophoto@gmail.com. Fair winds.

  • Ian

    Good luck Steve, Maybe we’ll be working together some day.

  • Ross Davidson

    Is there a minimum age of cruise ship photography companies recruiting ?

    Ross

  • Ian

    Yes, 21.

  • canvas prints

    this looks like an amazing ship

  • Adrian

    Hi,but how i can find a company or an agency to apply for a job?

  • Adrian
    I would start by Googling the cruise ships you are interested in. They should have procedures for application somewhere on their sites.
    Lori