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Is it true that I need a certificate from TESDA to work as a cruise ship photographer?

No.  Absolutely not true.

You do not need a certificate from TESDA.  TESDA has nothing to do with the hiring of cruise ship photographers.

Neither do you need to sign up for so-called Cruise Ship Photography Seminars.  The information they sell and the certificates they award have nothing to do with the hiring process.  It is not true that you will have an edge over other applicants if you attend such seminars.

Seriously.

What you do need are:

  • knowledge of Basic Photography, with proof.  What will really help you is a certificate showing that you’ve successfully completed training in Basic Photography, at the minimum.  Advanced Photography, Studio Lighting and other photo specializations are not necessary but are, of course, good for you to learn.
  • some experience in photography, with proof.  You will need proof that you have done photography — it could be a certificate of employment, or a letter from a professional photographer certifying that you have done work for him/her as an assistant photographer.  It is also possible to get the job even though you’ve only been doing photography as a hobby.  But if you’re based in the Philippines, the POEA and MARINA will require proof of previous work experience.
  • a portfolio of your work.  You need to show that you can produce good, sellable photos.

That’s it.  Simple, eh? 🙂

Now, if you’re from the Philippines, it’s going to be a much longer story.  The lengthy part of becoming a Cruise Ship Photographer is about becoming a Seafarer.  For more information, please go through The Cruising Shutterbug (How To Become A Cruise Ship Photographer) for free, no-strings-attached information on becoming a seafaring photographer.