How To Become A Cruise Ship Photographer – Introduction

Updated July 2014. Tweaked and edited August 2018.

So… You want to work as a cruise ship photographer, eh?

Let me tell you how to go about becoming one.

Freely I have received, so freely I give.

Somewhere below is an outline of The Cruising Shutterbug (Pinoy Edition) — about becoming a cruise ship photographer. This is a very long article that I chopped up into separate posts or pages, reviewed and edited July 2014.

Before anything else, let me tell you WHAT YOU DON’T NEED.

You do not need to spend on so-called Cruise Ship Photography Seminars or Workshops or e-Books or Cheat Sheets to get a job as a Cruise Ship Photographer. Spend time doing a little research, yes. Spend money, no!

All the information you will need to help you in your job application you can already get for FREE from: The Agency (this is the Contact or Recruiter in the country where you reside); The Principal (the Company that you will be working for, whether it’s a cruise line or a photo concessionaire); and, any ACTIVE Cruise Ship Photographer! 😎

It is NOT TRUE that attending such seminars or workshops will increase your chances of passing the job interview!

It is NOT TRUE that going through monkey-see-monkey-do workshops will give you any real edge over other applicants.

It does not make sense to pay for outdated and second-hand info from people who are not, or are no longer, in the industry when you can get first-hand information straight and FREE.

Will they refund you the money you paid if it turns out that you are not qualified to work as a cruise ship photographer? No seminar can make you professionally experienced in photography. No seminar can make you healthy and fit for work and travel. No seminar can erase any derogatory record that may affect your job application, which most likely will require a US visa.

But applying for the job is free. And it’s just like any other job application. Be prepared as you would be for any other job interview. Find out straight from the recruiters and interviewers whether or not you are indeed qualified for the job of a cruise ship photographer.

The knowledge and information that such seminars are selling you will only apply to those candidates who have been chosen and will actually go on to become cruise ship photographers.

The Principal certainly does not expect job applicants or interviewees to already know the tasks of a cruise ship photographer. (They do expect you to know photography and be able to produce sellable photos.)

Attending so-called cruise ship photography seminars or getting a piece of paper that says you’ve completed their workshop DOES NOT give you ANY edge in the job application.

Does this sound like marketing talk on one of those websites selling e-books?


There are no e-books on sale here.

There are no mailing lists to join.

I’m not selling you anything that will cost you your money or any material possession.


Having said all that, let us now move forward. Keep reading, please. 😎

I now present to you the outline of…

The Cruising Shutterbug, 2007-2014 Pinoy Edition: Work as a cruise ship photographer

Introduction I
  • About the use of this website and anything in it
  • About this article
  • About the author of this article
  • Three Key Players In The Job Application Game
The First Step: The Job Application
  • Qualifications
  • Your Resumé and Portfolio
  • Do Your Due Diligence
  • Time To Visit The Agency
The Second Step: The Job Interview
  • How shall you dress up for the interview?
  • How shall you speak during the Hiring Session?
The Third Step: Becoming A Seafarer
  • Basic Safety Course (BSC) a.k.a. Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
  • The Seaman’s Book (yes, it’s for females too)
  • Documents, Medical et al
  • Travel Visas
The Fourth Step: Becoming A Cruise Ship Photographer
  • Off You Go To Cruise Ship Photography Training
  • Walk The Plank… Enjoy Your Contract!
In Closing…


About the use of this website and anything in it

ATTENTION! Before anything else, please read the Disclaimer, Terms of use, and Privacy policy — the link is at the very top of this webpage. If you do not accept the terms and policies, simply close your browser window or visit a different website. Use of this website in any manner — including, but not limited to, use of any of this website’s contents, sending Evelyn messages, clicking on the links — constitutes your agreement to the terms and policies of this website.

About this article

The information in this article will be based on the assumption that the reader is:

  • a Filipino citizen
  • of legal age
  • a photographer — whether hobbyist or professional
  • contemplating on joining the cruise industry’s leading photo concessionaire, or a similar company

Why I wrote The Cruising Shutterbug: This article came about mainly out of concern for people who are considering getting a job as Cruise Ship Photographer. Some are led to think that it would help improve their chances of getting the job if they join or attend special workshops which cost a few thousand pesos, or buy e-books about cruise ship job opportunities.

While such workshops and e-books are not scams per se, they are absolutely unnecessary as far as job application is concerned. It is so very NOT necessary that it almost seems like a really bad joke.

Imagine spending money thinking that you’re preparing yourself to become a Cruise Ship Photographer, then getting to the interview and finding out you’re not qualified after all. Knowledge and skills are not the only qualifying factors. And those other factors will not be taken care of by attending seminars or by buying e-books.

Do you need more information? Then interview your interviewers when they interview you. Hey, it’s free. Plus, it shows them you’re giving it serious thought and that you’re not just blindly applying for any job. 😎

It is my hope that this article will give people enough information so that they won’t have to spend unnecessarily. Life is tough enough already. The way I see it, if you already know photography, you do not need to spend more money to improve your chances of passing an interview for a job as Cruise Ship Photographer.

And let me say that if you plan on working for, regardless of your country of origin, there shouldn’t be any need to spend extra for special seminars or e-books. Just contact them or their chosen agency in your country for more information or for assistance.

You may also try cruise lines that hire their own in-house photographers. These companies do have websites with sections about career opportunities. Some will even have sections giving information about life at sea.

About the author of this article

This article has been put together by Evelyn (that’s me!), a cruise ship photographer. To see the list of ships where I’ve worked so far, please see this post.

At the time that I applied for the job, I did not have friends or relatives who have worked as ship crew or seafarers. I was totally clueless. While it would’ve been nice to have people guiding me in the job application process, it really wasn’t necessary. The Agency that helps the Principal find its photographers should be able to assist and give all the needed information as far as job application and being a seafarer is concerned. For other things directly relating to the job, the Principal will provide the information and training that you will need.

Three Key Players In The Job Application Game
  • The Photographer – That’s YOU!
  • The Principal – the company that will actually hire you. This is either a cruise line or a photo concessionaire that operates on cruise ships.
  • The Agency – the local company that helps the Principal find its photographers, and assists the photographers with their contracts and other requirements. Think of the Agency as your friend or partner in the business. Note that you will not pay any placement or processing fee. The Agency gets paid by the Principal, not by you. Beware of illegal recruiters.

Other players would be the Local Government (e.g. POEA, Maritime Industry Authority) and the U.S. Embassy where you will need to get a C1/D visa. But that is beyond the scope of this article and is something you need not be concerned with at this stage. The best source of info regarding the laws and requirements would be the Agency as they are kept up-to-date on such matters.

Unimportant but perhaps useful anecdote: If you think that your chance of being granted a U.S. Visa is close to null — e.g. you have family in the U.S. or had been denied a Visa several times before — and you are weary about spending another $140 for another Visa application, don’t lose hope. For one thing, it is possible to get approved for a Visa even if you’ve been denied before. I know, because I’m proof of it. 😉 And if you’re afraid to risk losing $140? Then don’t join the company that I work for. Really. You can try getting a job with the other cruise lines — those that do not require their crew to have a U.S. Visa.

So that was the Introduction. Now, click here for Step 1. 🙂

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