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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 18th, 2011, 08:52 AM
Jason Leppert
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Default Onboard Photography: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Following my op-ed article on onboard photography, I welcome your opinions as well and encourage you to join the discussion by commenting here.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 12:13 PM
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Default Guests Want Shipboard Photography

In response to Mr. Leppert's opinion piece about photography on cruise ships, I would like to make several points. Since 1996 our agency has represented Image, the largest, most successful cruise ship photography concessionaire in the industry. I have watched over the years as Image has led the industry in technological innovation and customer service-oriented product development.

Mr. Leppert missed one of the key elements of shipboard photography no matter what kind of camera or photography skills you have, there are some memorable shots that you simply can't take. Cruise ship photographers make the images that passengers can't, such as the embarkation shot of happy, excited faces or a formal night portrait.

The new emphasis on formal portraits, casual portraits and fun, dress-up portraits provides passengers opportunities to have professional photos taken with friends and family that they might not have otherwise. Fewer people go to a shoreside photographer for formal portraits these days, but on a cruise, when they are happy and relaxed, is a perfect time to have a portrait taken with no requirement to purchase the image if it is not to the subject's liking.

While the merits of interrupting one's dinner for a photo can be argued, and few repeat cruisers purchase the notorious "pirate shot," these photos would not be taken if there was not a market for them. Photography companies are for-profit concerns, and if enough of a certain type of shot does not sell, they stop taking it.

Image led the industry in creating shipboard retail outlets for cameras and accessories plus they provide instruction in how to use the equipment and how to take great photos. Further, Image offers print-on-demand photo albums that are delivered to guests before they disembark the cruise.

Image also led the shipboard innovation of moving to digital photography and away from chemical-heavy processes of the past. Today, on the newest cruise ships, Image has installed systems that enable guests to review and purchase photos from the comfort of their stateroom or using high-tech kiosks located conveniently around the ship.

Image has always operated its photo labs in compliance with all international rules and regulations. Indeed, the company has an environmental-management system that is more stringent than the law requires.

Shipboard cruise photography meets a need, it offers goods and services that cruise passengers want and it operates in an environmentally responsible manner. Plus, it captures memories of a cruise vacation that last a lifetime.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 03:32 PM
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I don't mind the photographers, but what I do have a problem with is their insistence on formula poses. We have often wanted a professional photo, but posing our way and they simply won't allow that. With all due respect, I think that a little flexibility for those of us who are frequent cruisers and have a ton of photo's all posed the same might result in more sales. Just my input.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 06:08 PM
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I think having photo stations around the ship, especially on formal night, is a great idea and people can choose to pose or not however they wish. My biggest gripe was waiting in a long line to get off the ship in port while they're trying to take photos of passengers standing next to a person in a polar bear suit. I'm sure many people buy those photos but it should be off to the side so people not interested don't get hung up in a long line. That's very frustrating.
Back in the olden days, even before my time, in fancy restaurants and clubs there used to be a photo person taking table photos just like they do on ships now. Not sure if that's still in practice in the big cities. That may have ended with the cigarette girls!
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Old October 20th, 2011, 07:11 AM
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So how much does Carnival charge for photos? We have never been, and are booked for 9/16/12 to 9/23/12 on Conquest and were wondering what kind of budget we should have for spending money.
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Old October 20th, 2011, 08:36 AM
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we have never found the ships photographers to be overly pushy intrusive or aggressive, we like the fun candid shots, and we make an appt. to get a formal family portrait done.
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Old October 20th, 2011, 05:11 PM
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I've never understood the pictures at the dinner table either. They make no sense, yet apparently (according to the photo contractor) enough people buy them to make the effort and the annoyance worthwhile. And yes, once upon a time, high-end restaurants used to do this too, but I haven't encountered it in years. Of course, just as Mr. Leppert's father says you wouldn't expect a fotog in a 5-star restaurant, neither would you go to a 5-star restaurant and expect to be seated at a table with a bunch of people you don't know. But that's a separate discussion.

I think the ecology/waste point is very well taken, despite the fact that it may be true that people are more inclined to buy pix on paper than from a screen. But it seems to me that to the extent passengers seek out the fotog in one way or another--rather than being ambushed--they will be willing to view the "proofs" electronically, because they initiated the shoot in the first place.

Another innovation that would be nice. . .the option to provide photos as hi-res files to take home instead of prints. This is a trend that's starting in the pro photography world, and it's very good. My son is a college baseball coach, and at a tournament recently a pro sports fotog was covering the event. His work was excellent, and he offered hi res jpeg's on a CD for $15 a photo. He had an area set up where players and coaches could review the work on a big screen and make selections. Very reasonable, and according to my son who bought several pix, was doing a very brisk business. The CD included a pro-forma license to print. Photoshopping them and formatting them for whatever print sizes we wanted was a snap.

I know that many will bristle at this idea, because it's akin to "selling the negative," but those who understand printing (and what it really costs these days) should have the opportunity to take advantage of their ability to manipulate images to their own specifications while still paying a fair price to the photographer. It's a win-win, because I doubt that many ship fotogs get reprint orders after the cruiser leaves the ship, and for all I know they may not even be equipped to handle them. So if there's no incremental profit from reprints, why not give customers full access to the image at the price of a little more than a single print?
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Old October 20th, 2011, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Banks View Post
these photos would not be taken if there was not a market for them. Photography companies are for-profit concerns, and if enough of a certain type of shot does not sell, they stop taking it.
That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

We normally find it easy enough to bypass the photog station, or simply say NO when they come by the table. Others who enjoy it and like the photos should have their chance.

Free enterprise at its best?
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Old October 20th, 2011, 06:30 PM
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I have always had some issues with photography onboard, simply with the way it's handled. I would like to see an opt out path, as you get ready to board. No thankyou and walk along the side, onto the ship. Getting off in port,with it's bottleneck can be slow sometimes.

Within the past few years I have seen the formal set ups in the most odd places, like very close to the dining room, with people waiting for pictures, and, waiting for dinner..you just shake your head and ???? There has to be a better way.

Don't get me started on the pirate and the parrot at the dinner table,and when some of us opt out, and, say no thanks..we have had some smirks....just smile .
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Old October 21st, 2011, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
I have always had some issues with photography onboard, simply with the way it's handled. I would like to see an opt out path, as you get ready to board. No thankyou and walk along the side, onto the ship. Getting off in port,with it's bottleneck can be slow sometimes.

Within the past few years I have seen the formal set ups in the most odd places, like very close to the dining room, with people waiting for pictures, and, waiting for dinner..you just shake your head and ???? There has to be a better way.

Don't get me started on the pirate and the parrot at the dinner table,and when some of us opt out, and, say no thanks..we have had some smirks....just smile .
Well, Trip, they are of course setting traps for nice people like you.

Now, me -- I just push my way past the line, wait til they take the one picture they are working on and then just walk through their setup and go on my way. I don't care a bit where they are taking pictures, as long as they are not holding me up.

::devilish grin::
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Old October 21st, 2011, 04:44 PM
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Yep, Mike. That's us, too. Even when boarding the ship, we make sure we are not interfering with someone's pic, then just walk on by.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 04:58 PM
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Nope, no traps for us, as it's been many years since we have taken pictures. We as well, just walk on by when we can. but have seen setups, where that just seems a bit harder to do.... a, walk this way sign, would be my preference, unobtrusive, and, a done deal.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 07:17 PM
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We had this one done recently, we did buy it then & photographed it to put on the PC, would have been better in digital format. One idea would be all the pics with some sort of cruise memo for a reasonable price.
PS one member of the group wasn't keen on cruising nor having the photo....guess which one??
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Old October 25th, 2011, 04:25 PM
Jason Leppert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Banks View Post
Mr. Leppert missed one of the key elements of shipboard photography — no matter what kind of camera or photography skills you have, there are some memorable shots that you simply can't take. Cruise ship photographers make the images that passengers can't, such as the embarkation shot of happy, excited faces or a formal night portrait.
In truth, I clearly did not miss this element as I said the following:

"Actually, I really do think there is still a place for these services. Yes, there are a few cameras out there that have a forward facing screen that allow you to take a picture of yourself and your travel companions in one frame, but those images will always have that too-close-and-up-the-nose quality to them. It truly is more convenient to have someone else take a photo of yourself, and the ships's photographers are there to do just that as you visit new ports, stroll along the ship's rail, or strike a pose on formal night."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Banks View Post
Image also led the shipboard innovation of moving to digital photography and away from chemical-heavy processes of the past. Today, on the newest cruise ships, Image has installed systems that enable guests to review and purchase photos from the comfort of their stateroom or using high-tech kiosks located conveniently around the ship.

Image has always operated its photo labs in compliance with all international rules and regulations. Indeed, the company has an environmental-management system that is more stringent than the law requires.
This is fantastic, and I have no criticisms of these digital systems. I just hate to see pictures printed unnecessarily when such digital review systems do exist as I said below:

"Cruise ships have new systems, used periodically, that tag digital photos taken during the cruise to your cruise card. I've seen them. This allows passengers to electronically view their images for review prior to printing. Should they wish to purchase the image, it is printed on demand, otherwise it is not. Unfortunately, even with this advancement, I've also seen it where those images that could have been saved for electronic review are printed just the same as if that system was not in place. I understand that there is an economic side to this argument and that a passenger is perhaps more likely to purchase an image if it is already printed than if they have to request that it be printed later on. But this is just plain unnecessary. I really hope this changes and that cruise lines begin to invest more in said systems and digital monitors to display these images on demand in lieu of wasteful printing."
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Old October 25th, 2011, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaK View Post
we have never found the ships photographers to be overly pushy intrusive or aggressive, we like the fun candid shots, and we make an appt. to get a formal family portrait done.
True, and just to be sure, when I say, "problems start to arise when these photographers start to feel like cruise paparazzi," I mean it's the photo assignments they are given from management that are distracting. The photographers themselves are not the problem. They are pleasant crew members just like the rest. It's when they are assigned to snap photos in a darkened dining room with an incessant flash bulb that annoyances start to occur for all the other diners that could care less for a photo in that venue.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 08:59 PM
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My BDW and I may be the only cruisers who have never purchased a photo .However on my next cruise there is a possibility that I may be clean shaven for the first time since 1964 which might warrant a picture being bought .
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Old October 25th, 2011, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry43 View Post
My BDW and I may be the only cruisers who have never purchased a photo .However on my next cruise there is a possibility that I may be clean shaven for the first time since 1964 which might warrant a picture being bought .
Acronym Definition
BDW Banking Data Warehouse (IBM; financial analysis & intelligence software)
BDW Broker-Dealer Withdrawal
BDW Big Daddy Weave (christian band)
BDW Block Descriptor Word
BDW Business Data Warehouse
BDW Byzantine Daily Worship
BDW Boundary Diffraction Wave (physics)
BDW Below Decks Watch
BDW Brian Douglas Wilson (singer; Beach Boys)

Is it one of these or something else?
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Last edited by AR; October 25th, 2011 at 11:25 PM.
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Old October 27th, 2011, 12:01 AM
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Default BDW

Quote:
Originally Posted by AR View Post
Acronym Definition
BDW Banking Data Warehouse (IBM; financial analysis & intelligence software)
BDW Broker-Dealer Withdrawal
BDW Big Daddy Weave (christian band)
BDW Block Descriptor Word
BDW Business Data Warehouse
BDW Byzantine Daily Worship
BDW Boundary Diffraction Wave (physics)
BDW Below Decks Watch
BDW Brian Douglas Wilson (singer; Beach Boys)

Is it one of these or something else?
Beautiful darling wife
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 07:26 PM
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Default Why pick on Ship's Photographers

In the ten years since we have started cruising I've seen advances in the way photos are taken , the ability to present images to you on a flash drive or even select ones for printing. Certainly the ability to discuss ones camera's techniques with a professional and classes offered and finally the ability to buy quality cameras and supplies on a ship at prices comparable to land prices.
The vast majority of us do not frequent camera shops on a regular basis nor do we have at least quality pictures taken of us at regular times.

If I have to pause on the gangway with my wife and smile for a moment and or trade a chuckle with the photographer , we are talking seconds not minutes.
What is wrong if you smile and say no thanks and keep on trucking , they will smile and say have a nice day.
Yes, on the way to the ship we have bypassed the line at times but to be honest what is the emergency all about. Thought we were on a cruise to relax.
Our family enjoys seeing some of our pictures and the budget can stand $19.95 for an 8 x 10 especially after paying over $10,000 for cruise and plane.

Using the ecology argument is great but at least companies and ships upgraded are working on it. Want to talk paper then look at the Art / Spa / Casino flyers in the 2,000 rooms every few days or how about the ships daily news in your cabin each night and the article on the port you are visiting.

Want to complain about lines, then how about where the captains welcome is done, or having to walk through the casino to get to the MDR or the theatre show that everybody is going to and the narrow pathway/

The only new thing that annoys me is when they take a photo of only you at the table not you as a couple.

Cheers
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Old November 28th, 2011, 02:49 PM
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We had a great photo taken by a ship's photographer on our last cruise - if the bartender on the aft deck counts as a ship's photographer.
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Old November 28th, 2011, 08:22 PM
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Regent hasn't employed photographers on their ships for a few years now; it has been kind of nice. I did like it when they sold photo supplies but even that is gone.
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