Hey every one! I'm applying for the shipboard photog position and was wondering if anyone else had experience in this position? I have fashion, event, and wedding experience that goes on for 5+ years so I know I have the photo skills that they are looking for. I also have a degree in commercial photography. What is a typical day for a ship photographer? If anyone was or knew a photographer on board a ship please let me know there experience! I'm going to a job fair tomorrow and would love to be offered a spot onboard a ship. Any stories or advice I will be grateful for! Thank you all!
I worked as a photographer aboard P&O ships so i'll see if i can help! The first thing i'd say is the hours are very long! A typical port day would start around 30 mins before arrival in port, around 7am where we would get ready to shoot the passengers disembarking at the port on the gangway. The challenge was getting the passengers who were getting off the ship to get on tour buses or explore port to stop and get their photo taken. This was quite difficult on day 1 but near impossible by the last port when the passengers were sick of seeing us! So you do gangway for about 3 hours, or until you have a decent enough rollage and can come in (even in the cold, wind and rain!) The good news is because it's a port day the photo gallery cant open until the ship sails so you get the afternoon off to see the port, Catch up on sleep or go on a passenger tour with the video camera to film for the cruise dvd they sell at the end of the cruise.
Once the ship sails you work in the gallery selling the photos from the time the ship sails, say 5pm until the gallery shuts at 11.30pm-ish. If the ship is at sea all day you work in the gallery all day either starting at 8am and off for 3 hours in afternoon or start at 11.30am with morning off.
In the evening what you do depends what the dress code onboard is. On a formal night you have formal portraits set up in various locations and will be allocated to one of them to attract people to come and get their photo taken. In between that you go round the dining room trying to persuade people to have their photo taken while they are eating (fun!). On an informal night you still have a background set up and have to convince people to have their photo taken or are back in the gallery selling photos.
The job is constant selling, firstly to get the passengers to stop and get photos taken and secondly to then sell them the photo, album, camera, cruise dvd etc. I was on commission only and as a junior tog started on 1% which worked out that i made 6p per photo sold!
The hours roughly worked out at 10-12 hour days, 7 days a week. No days off, only periods of time like afternoon off. Occasionally in an overnight port when gallery cant open we'd get the night off, very exciting!
All in all, i did enjoy it, my feet ached so much every day and constantly having to be cheery and bubbly to get the passengers photo was tiring but i'm glad i did it. You have a lot of experience so my only warning would be, onboard you have almost zero room for being creative, the photos are standard each week, same locations, background etc so you might get bored after a while. Saying that, the longer you are there and if you want you can train in the lab, to do weddings onboard, private studio shoots etc.
Good luck tomorrow, just be friendly and enthusiastic and i'm sure you'll do well. I'm sorry this is a bit long but i hope it helps!