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Create more captivating, professional-looking photos by following the 10 tips below.

© erin manning

Create more captivating, professional-looking photos by following the 10 tips below.

10 photo tips to create great cruise memories

Yay! You’re going on a cruise. You’ve packed your clothes and camera and now what? You need a plan – a plan for taking better pictures.

That’s right, no more boring slideshows or photo albums for you. This time it’s going to be different. How is that, you say? You’re going to discover the top 10 ways to capture great cruise photos, just by checking out the following tips:

Tell a story

1

Pick a location and then capture a wide shot, a medium shot, and a close-up shot. When you place these images together they provide more information about your experience and visually capture the viewer's attention.

‚ÄčTell a story with a photo triptych.
© erin manningTell a story with a photo triptych.

Fill it with flash

2

Are all your subjects in the dark? If you’re shooting in Automatic Flash and posing your subject with their back toward the light, it may result in a silhouette. If that’s the result you want, great! Otherwise, you can fix this exposure problem by using your camera’s Forced Flash setting to fill in the shadows and avoid a silhouette. Almost every digital camera has a setting for this, often marked by a lone lightning bolt (see the example below). Look for the Forced Flash option in your camera's settings or menu function.

Fill flash.
© erin manningCompare a shot in Venice without a flash, left, and with the Forced Flash setting.
The Forced Flash setting on a compact digital camera.
© erin manningThe Forced Flash setting on a compact digital camera.

Stay in the shade

3

Avoid the harsh light of the midday sun by placing people in a shaded area near direct sunlight — for example, an open doorway or under the shade of a building or tree.

Avoid harsh midday sunlight by positioning subjects in shaded areas.
© erin manningAvoid harsh midday sunlight by positioning subjects in shaded areas.

Move the horizon

4

The rule of thirds can help you create more compelling photographs. Envision a tic-tac-toe board on your viewfinder and move your horizon line to the lower third or upper third of the frame.

Use the classic rule of thirds so that the horizon takes up a third of the frame.
© erin manningUse the classic rule of thirds so that the horizon takes up a third of the frame.

Frame the shot

5

Use a framing element to give your image context, depth, and lead the viewer’s eye toward your main focal point. A tree branch, doorways, archways, windows – any open shape that surrounds your subject in the foreground of your scene will work.

Frame your shot to add visual interest to your subjects.
© erin manningFrame your shot to add visual interest to your subjects.

Look for the light

6

Be observant of the light and how it falls upon the objects in your scene. I ordered room service early one morning and noticed the sunlight softly gleaming through the windows and onto my coffee pot. It made for a quiet moment captured before a busy day at sea.

Morning coffee, captured in the softly filtered light of daybreak.
© erin manningMorning coffee, captured in the softly filtered light of daybreak.

Use side light to create dimension

7

Plan a photo shoot in the early morning or late afternoon because the sun is low in the sky and creates dimension and form across the landscape, people, or objects in your scene.

Early morning or late afternoon makes an ideal time to start snapping.
© erin manningEarly morning or late afternoon makes an ideal time to start snapping.

Read the signs

8

Remember your location and capture the essence of a place by photographing interesting locations, local people, architectural details, and signs.

Add local color to your photographs.
© erin manningAdd local color to your photographs.

Get creative with color

9

Have some fun and look for colorful doors and walls to create a little extra zing in your photos. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. When placed next to each other they create a strong contrast and visual interest.

See a splash of color during your wanderings? Dive in!
© patricia livinghouseSee a splash of color during your wanderings? Dive in!

Play with scale

10

Objects closer to camera appear larger than objects farther away. Introduce a little whimsy into your images by playing with the size of people, places, and objects in your images.

Experiment with the size of objects in your frame.
© erin manningExperiment with the size of objects in your frame.

I hope these tips inspire you to capture your own vacation experience in a creative way. Now it’s your turn! Do you have any photos or photo tips you're fond of? I'd love to know!

Erin Manning
Find more photo and video tips at erinmanning.com.

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