HOW I BECAME A CRUISE SHIP PHOTOGRAPHER AND TRAVELLED THE WORLD (ALMOST) FOR FREE

The experience that changed me and my values, for a lifetime

In Tortola, British Virgin islands; photo by: Ben Salutan
In Tortola, British Virgin islands; photo by: Ben Salutan

 

 

When on the 26th October 2008 I was sitting at Heathrow airport, awaiting my flight to Miami, I had no idea the adventure I was about to begin was going to change my life. It was one of my best friends’ Birthday and she was there a few miles away from me in London, but my Polish roaming for some reason refused my call to her.

 

My feelings were mixed but generally I was truly excited. I was on my way to becoming a Cruise Ship Photographer! After 9 months of fighting for my place it was all finally happening…

 

STEP 1 – The root of the idea

in the gangway, photo by: Anna Lynn Dajao
in the gangway, photo by: Anna Lynn Dajao

 

The whole idea of working on a cruise ship or ship in general had started a few years before. I must have been in the first year of my studies when someone rooted it in my head by just a random conversation. At that time I thought it would be a nice way to spend a summer between studies – travel e.g. Mediterranean and earn some cash. For a long time I forgot about it…

STEP 2 - From the idea to making it happen

…Until that cold rainy winter day.

by: Bogna Teuchman
Brilliance of the Seas in Oman

 

The wind was hitting panes and was getting inside through an unruly cleft in the windows. Cheeky one! I was sitting under a blanket with a thought that I should start working on the first chapter of my Masters Thesis. The first semester of the fourth year of my studies was coming to an end. Because I have never had enough of activities in my life – studies at a university, Camp America job, volunteer work, etc., etc., I`d decided that it would have been good to start thinking about the upcoming summer. My uni friend Ania had told me once: "I think that living in your family house during the fifth year of your studies is a definite failure". I couldn’t agree with her more. Except for that, Opole [my hometown] had become too small for me. I`d had that impression for a while already, that living in that city made me feel lazy, that I could not be bothered to do anything apart from my duties.

 

While sitting at home, in a room of a certain claustrophobic size 1,6m x 4m, I searched through the internet with a willingness to find "something". I had a look at www.dlastudenta.pl  [translation: forstudent.pl] website as, except for job offers at McDonalds or Pizza Hut, you can find something pretty interesting sometimes. However, I wouldn`t even suppose that I`d have found such a rare pearl there. Firstly I saw a picture of a huge liner, then I noticed a headline saying something like: 

"Would you like to work as a cruise ship photographer?”

I read the offer and could tell that something like a "bulb" was turning on in my head.

STEP 3 – The recruitment process

During the training in Miami - my batch mates were from all over the World
During the training in Miami - my batch mates were from all over the World

 

Straight away I sent my CV to the email address left below the text. In fact I only had my CV written in English, simply because I never needed one in Polish . During my summer break I always used to work either abroad, or for American or British firms. That fact might have scared my potential Polish employers away several times. I decided, that my English might be a bonus this time as the ships were supposed to be cruising all over the world. "Whatever, if they find something there, they will get back to me" – I thought. Below the offer I also found a mobile phone number. 

 

I`d decided to call the number immediately and find out more about the job. I must admit, that I`d been interested in photography in a long time, but I`d never worked professionally in that field.

I completely forgot it was Sunday. But the person picked up and when he asked me to speak English, a little surprised but not confused, I (almost) smoothly switched into it. The guy I spoke to gently reminded me it was a Sunday and that he’d check out my CV on the following day…

 

 20 min later on the guy called me back saying that he`d gone through my CV already and he was inviting me to the interview.

 

The interview took place at the beginnings of February in Krakow, after having some documents completed. I went through it pretty smoothly, therefore I was put on a list of 25 candidates that were supposed to participate in a hiring session, which actually was supposed to be an assessment centre. It was going to take place in April. By then I already knew it wasn`t going to be just a summer job, but a proper, permanent job for a few years.

 

 

Grandeur of the Seas (on the right), Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Grandeur of the Seas (on the right), Tortola, British Virgin Islands

 

At the Assessment Centre we had psychological, intelligence, mathematical, English and eventually photography skills tests. Out of 25 people 3 got through all of it with positive results. Including myself.

 

We were told that we could start working on the ships from whenever – but first we had to sort personal stuff out. And I mean here – if you had a brother’s wedding in a few months time, it was better to participate in it first, then join the ships. Once you got onboard, it would have been hard (or rather impossible) to take a few days off and go home. I decided to finish the 4th year of my studies (it was April) and all the courses from the 5th year as well. I spoke to my tutor and decided to write my Masters Thesis while on ships.

STEP 4 – Training in Miami

With my batch mates in Miami. Representation of 3 continents
With my batch mates in Miami. Representation of 3 continents

9 months had elapsed since seeing the job advertisement and actually flying out to Miami to join a ship

But I FINALLY made it.

 

I had received my seamans’ visa to the USA a couple of months before. It was going to be valid for 10 years. It is a special kind of visa – you can only stay in the lnd territories of the USA for a few days (I think it’s 5 actually) and then you must be back onboard the ship. Or in another country.

At Miami airport I received a gazillion questions from the customs officers. They held me there for 3 hours before they actually let me go!

 We had 5 days of an intense but decent training in Miami, held by our company. They were concessionaires sending photographers to work on different cruise lines.

I mean, they claimed to be the biggest in the photography cruise ship industry but I know there is at least a few other competitors.

At the training there were 17 of us, from all over the World – China, Chile, India, Turkey, Mexico… That cultural diversity was just a hint of a taste of what we were going to experience onboard cruise ships.

Grandeur of the Seas vs Oasis of the Seas (the largest cruise ship in the World at the time)
Grandeur of the Seas vs Oasis of the Seas (the largest cruise ship in the World at the time)

On the last day of training I found out I was going to join the Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship. My excitement went high to the sky. It was happening, for real!

I joined my ship in town of South Carolina state. I remember the taxi driver who took me from the airport, driving along the pier and I could see the ship in all it’s length and glory. I was mesmerized. It was probably the largest thing I had ever seen!

Funnily enough, it was one of the smaller ships in the fleet. A couple of years later a saw a picture of Grandeur of the Seas docking next to the Oasis of the Seas – the largest cruise ship in the World. It looked tiny. But for me it was amazing.

Grandeur of the Seas vs Oasis of the Seas

STEP 5 - It’s happening for real!

With my brother, he came to cruise with me on my second contract
With my brother, he came to cruise with me on my second contract

 

One of my first and favourite experiences was the fact that almost every day I saw a new country – Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico… On my first cruise I saw 8 new countries I had never been to before.

On my first night onboard the ship I got lost. I was feeling thirsty and wanted to find a crew dining hall (called a crew mess) to grab a drink. I walked in my flip flops, jumper thrown over my pyjamas, without a name tag, and I ended up… in front of the guest services desk. (It is a place where guests come and complain about everything – from lack of toilet paper in their cabin to the fact that their city tour that they paid 200$ for did not provide champaigne and strawberries for lunch). Anyway, looking the way I was looking (a big NO-NO in the guest area), I stood in front of a guest officer Enrique from Portugal and asked him where the crew dining hall was. As soon as he realized I was staff, I saw a bit of a panic coming across his face. He guided me out of the guests area and took me where I wanted. I felt confused and embarrassed but at that time I had no idea about ship rules.

one of my favourite countries I saw while working on ships was Jordan. We docked just 19km away from Saudi Arabia!

STEP 6 The ship life – what happens on the ship, stays on the ship…

Cabin party of my team. This is how small they were
Cabin party of my team. This is how small they were

Within the 8 months of my first contract I worked on 3 different ships, saw 3 continents and a countless amount of countries and ports. The life there was so immense I hardly ever slept. Literally 2-4 hours a day, or night. 8 months straight, without a day off. Working on Christmas, New Years, Easter and all the national holidays under the sun. The first contract was school of survival, friendships, relationships and (last but not least) photography. I learnt more about myself and crossed so many (mental) boarders I never even thought they existed. I never knew what day of the week it was. It was an Embarkation day, cruise day No. 1, 2, 3…, a port day, a sea day, and again Embarkation day.

 

Me dressed up as a Pirate in St Kitts
Me dressed up as a Pirate in St Kitts

I remember once I went on a tour with guests to Rome, I stood in the Vatican City on St Peter’s square and suddenly the Pope (Benedictus XVI) showed up in the window in front of me! It was midday Sunday and I did not even realize that! That’s how much my sense of reality was messed up!

Sometimes being on ship was a horrible experience.

With my Mum in front of the Pyramids of Giza. She came to cruise with me on my second contract.
With my Mum in front of the Pyramids of Giza. She came to cruise with me on my second contract.

 I sobbed lonely in my plate of noodles on the Christmas Eve, because nowhere in the World except for Poland and Italy is it celebrated. Everywhere else celebrate the actual Christmas day.

I cried and felt so helpless when I found out that my Mum, after spending a cruise with me as a guest on my 2nd contract, got mugged in Barcelona – left without money, passport, language skills to go home. A truly mortifying and heart-breaking experience.

A few times I cried with my friends whose relationships / marriages at home were falling apart because of a long-term separation.

I sometimes wanted to cry and / or collapse from a sheer physical exhaustion that the work / lack of sleep / party like there`s no tomorrow - caused me.

My team's Christmas (cabin) party
My team's Christmas (cabin) party

But I would NEVER change this experience for anything.

In a studio set up on a formal night
In a studio set up on a formal night

Ships were the best school of photography. 

I was taking about 2000 photos a day (of all kinds), setting up studio lights, editing and printing images in the lab, selling them eventually in the photo gallery. Sometimes I had to dress up like a pirate or a dolphin and pose to photos with the guests, which was part of the job I truly hated. Imagine standing in a furry/ fluffy dolphin costume in 35 degrees Celsius sun. Fun (not)! But it was part of the job experience, so I put up with it.

This is where I travelled while on ships. Source: Travelpod.com/members/bogna
This is where I travelled while on ships. Source: Travelpod.com/members/bogna

I saw the World.  

Aruba
Aruba

Aruba...

Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan

Jordan...

Malta
Malta

Malta...

Dubai UAE at sunrise
Dubai UAE at sunrise

Middle East...

Santorini, Greece - with my brother
Santorini, Greece - with my brother

 Greece... You name it.   

Team lunch in Costa Rica
Team lunch in Costa Rica

If I did not get sick at the end of my last contract, I probably would have continued seeing places for a while longer. As a photographer I got to go on tours with guests – to take photos of them in front of tourist attractions. For example, I saw Giza Pyramids 13 times, hehe. Exhausting, 15-hour working day. But still fun.

During formal night, shooting in a restaurant
During formal night, shooting in a restaurant

 

Friendships I made there were for a lifetime. And I learnt to respect different nations – for their diversity and mentality.

Filipinos for their courage to leave families behind and provide them a better life by earning money onboard the ship. Balkan nationalities (Serbian, Bosnian, etc.) for their hot blood and straight-to-the-point attitude. Carribbeans for knowing how to party and dance. Latinos for their temper. Americans (erm, guests mostly) for making me laugh over their questions (“Is that elevator going to back or forward of the ship?”). 

on top of the rock climbing wall onboard. The view was perfect!
on top of the rock climbing wall onboard. The view was perfect!

 

I eventually had to resign from working on ships for medical reasons. It turned out that I breathed in too much iodine from the sea salt evaporating into the air. That combined with the hard work I was doing, started truly bouncing my health down. I lost about 10 kg over a couple of months. I had constantly swollen feet and ankles – to the point where I could not fit my feet into any shoes. I was feeling weaker and weaker. At the end of my last contract I was so tired I would rather sleep during my breaks than go out in the ports of call.

St Maarten, one of Carribean island countries
St Maarten, one of Carribean island countries

 

When I got home, after another contract on ships and a trip around Australia in the meantime, I got diagnosed with thyroitoxicosis. In other words my thyroid got overactive, and refused to work for me. My heartbeat rate was 140 per minute, with a blood pressure extremely at the same time. The tumour in my neck had to be destroyed by the radioactive iodine therapy.

STEP 7 - the Epilogue

in Puerto Rico - photo by Ben Salutan
in Puerto Rico - photo by Ben Salutan

 

 This story has a happy ending. Even though working on ships messed up my health (and sense of reality) completely, you must know that there are people working onboard for 10, 20, 30 years there and they are perfectly fine health-wise.

I would do it again. And if you are thinking of changing your life – do it. Do you think you will regret seeing the whole world, working with over 60 nationalities from all over the globe? You won’t. Just have a certain mindset. Even if you think you have done all the research, spoken to people who worked on ships – be aware that loneliness will kick your ass sometimes. That it is not only about seeing the new places and partying. It is truly hard work. But it will make you stronger. 

 

“Things that don’t kill you, will make you stronger”.

Just like they did me.

STEP 8 – Would YOU like to work on a cruise ship?

Photographing Brilliance of the Seas seen from Santorini island, Greece
Photographing Brilliance of the Seas seen from Santorini island, Greece

Here are some useful links:

 

www.image.com - Through this company I got my job on ships.

 

www.rccl.com - The cruise line I worked for (as a concessionaire though)

 

http://www.aida.de/aida-cruises/karriere.24536.html - Aida cruises is a German cruise line that hires photographers as well. A friend of mine has been working there for a few years and she’s quite happy with her employers.

 

www.princess.com - I know the cruise line hires photographers as well

in Puerto Rico. Photo by: Ben Salutan
in Puerto Rico. Photo by: Ben Salutan

It has been five and a half years since I joined my first ship. I am currently living in the South of Poland*, with my partner that I met in London after I had quit the ships (see? Everything happens for a reason). I work in an office job but I am also developing my own photography business – www.galadrielstudio.com and dreaming of travelling again, soon. (*Update as of 2017: I currently live in London).

This is the first post of my new travel blog – www.BoogiePlanet.com

This planet is too Boogie (read: exciting) to stay home!

I actually wrote another travel blog previously on a different website – www.travelpod.com/members/bogna  but decided to have my own one and personalize it more. I hope you enjoyed it.

 

It took me a while to write it, so please like it and share it.

I hope it was a good adventure to read it and I inspired you in some way. Stay tuned for another story!

 

Bogna aka Boogie

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About me

Hello stranger! My name is Bogna, but you can call me Boogie. I come from Poland, but have lived in a few different countries, including UK, USA and Australia. I am the author of BoogiePlanet.com This website is all about my travel experiences. And photography. I am a photographer, and I try to capture those magical moments in different places, as much as I can. I have travelled to over 53 coutries so far. I am hungry to see more. You can help me fulfill my dream by liking my page on Facebook, or following me on Twitter

Write a comment

Comments: 29
  • #1

    Marialuisa (Wednesday, 16 April 2014 19:00)

    I read all of your blog post and I've to say it: your words and photos describe how much you enjoyed your experience on cruise ships.
    You have the power to life your life as an adventure and this means you're gonna enjoy life for basically what it is: a real adventure.
    I miss you Bogna <3 hope to see you soon!

  • #2

    ronnie (Wednesday, 16 April 2014 19:53)

    I love your story. So much happy for you. Stay safe beautiful-Ron

  • #3

    Asia (Wednesday, 23 April 2014 16:24)

    Bogna, the brave girl, thank you so much for sharing your truly inspiring and motivational story. I admire your courage, perseverance and skills. Not to mention about being jealous for all the places you've seen :)
    Bogna, you rule! :)

  • #4

    lerissa (Saturday, 26 April 2014 05:26)

    Hi Bogna. Thanks so much for all this information. I am thinking of joining a cruise photography program and you have helped me so much. Hope you are well. take care

  • #5

    boogieplanet (Saturday, 26 April 2014 15:21)

    @lerissa - Thank you for reading. Working on cruise ship is not for everyone. FOr me it was love-hate relationship. Sometimes it was awesome, and my friends back home envied me the great adventure. You must know I have never worked so hard in my life. Do it. You won`t regret it!
    @Asia - thank you so much Asia! You know I do admire your photos.
    @ronnie - thank you! I hope life is treating you well. You deserve it.
    @Marialuisa - well done for getting through this post! And thank you for a lovely comment. You`re a sweetheart.

  • #6

    Olga (Wednesday, 25 June 2014 09:18)

    Dear Bogna, thank you so much for sharing your inspiring, amasing story.. I've enjoyed reading your story and I can imagine how hard and at the same time amasing and fun that job was... You've proved that dreams can come true, and that everything happens for a reason ;)

  • #7

    Dan (Tuesday, 08 July 2014 08:23)

    Great Story. I have an interview regarding a cruise ship photography job and it's good to find real life stories. Wow, they really work the photogs! Thanks for sharing.

  • #8

    boogieplanet (Thursday, 10 July 2014 18:18)

    @ Dan, Thank you for reading! If you go for it, remember it's tough, but it is a lot of fun, too. I can assure you I have never worked as hard in my life as on ships. And I paid the price for it. It doesn't mean that everybody will though. Go for it if you can! cheers!
    @Olga, I know how much you have gone through in the last months. I hope reading the story took the stress away from you for at least a few minutes. Yes, everything happens for a reason. Hang in there, keeping my fingers crossed for Ukraine and you!

  • #9

    Gio (Friday, 11 July 2014 23:15)

    Formal Night in jackets... ugh smh
    I spy Noel

    Did you get a lot of time in Dubai?

  • #10

    boogieplanet (Wednesday, 16 July 2014 10:59)

    Hi Gio! Yep, I worked with Noel for 1 contract. He's a good guy!
    We had 2 overnights in Dubai in a row from what I remember, so I saw it by night and during the day. Took even stock shots for the ships' gallery, ha!

  • #11

    Pilu (Friday, 08 August 2014 08:37)

    Hey really nice story! I'm ex-image too, i have quited because that company is not the same like used to be 4 years ago... Anyway I just got a job woth princess but as shoppie xD (u know is better life and more money hehehe) and I hope to join in the same way that i did with royal.

    I saw on your pictures u worked with mr Brown (best BM ever) and the philipine AMP (i just forgot his name)! and I also worked in brilliance... I just got some nice flash backs and memories of the people and ships.....

    Another thing that I wanted to say about xmas eve.. we all (Latins, specially from South America) also celebrate xmas Eve (24th at midnight ;) and I also lived that sad night during the cruises in Australia because there were no latins to celebrate with...

    I really enjoyed reading your story...Hope you are well and get one more time traveling through ships at least as a guest ;).

    kepp well. xxx

  • #12

    boogieplanet (Sunday, 28 December 2014 00:05)

    Hi Pilu! I just realised I never replied to you! Yes, Mr Brown is the nicest person to work with. He was my AMS actually. The Filipino AMP - I think you mean either Noel or Ronnie. Both are very good guys.
    Good for you - you got an "upgrade" as a shoppie, I thought it was more boring job on ships but I bet you more money :) I always wanted to cruise to Australia and New Zealand. But I never made it there - on ships at least. And yes, Christmas was like the saddest time ever for crew members - for me especially Christmas Eve. Hope you're well, wherever in the World you are. xxx

  • #13

    Pallavi (Thursday, 17 December 2015 08:40)

    hello ! i must say our story are kind the same. I am going for my first contract with IMAGE yes the same company hehe in two weeks (30dec).. And i am very scared of the things awaiting for me there.. but i am ready to face it with a lot of courage. I'm from Mauritius by the way. I wish the best for you in life.

    Cheers
    pallavi

  • #14

    boogieplanet (Thursday, 17 December 2015 22:36)

    Hi Pallavi,
    Don't be afraid. You've made a courageous decision of leaving your homeland and seeing the World. Good for you! Let me know which ship you end up on. Have fun with it and soak the experience like a sponge!
    My best friend is Mauritian, she lives in London though. It's my dream yet to come true to see your beautiful island.
    Best of luck! Bogna

  • #15

    Jeff (Thursday, 05 May 2016 06:29)

    Hi. I just read your blog. I am much,much older than you but hoping to become a photographer on a cruise ship within the next year or less if I can. I know it is a lot of work, long hours and cramped quarters. It may be the only way for me to travel the world. I work in a tourist environment now where I take pictures of the guests and hope it will give me enough experience to qualify for a position.

  • #16

    boogieplanet (Thursday, 05 May 2016 22:59)

    Hi Jeff,
    If this is something you really want to do, age shouldn't matter that much :) Just apply and see what happens. You need to be fit health-wise though. However, there is a lot of other ways to travel the World and even make money as you go. I recommend you reading Vagabonding by Rolf Potts and also this article: http://www.wanderingearl.com/42-ways-you-can-make-money-and-travel-the-world/
    Best of luck! Bogna

  • #17

    Joan Casey (Tuesday, 08 November 2016 13:13)

    Hi Bogna! My name is Casey. Im from the Philippines.

    Its 2016 and I just read your blog about your life in the cruise as a photographer. I'm really excited because one month from now I will join my first ship as a Photographer too.

    It has been my dream to do so since my Dad used to work as an electrician in Cruise Ships. He tells me all kinds of stories and told me one day you can work in a cruise ship too but make sure its the Photographer position. Hehe. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Now I'm more excited! :3

  • #18

    Bogna (Saturday, 12 November 2016 14:19)

    Hi Joan,
    Thank you for your kind words. I have a particular respect and sentiment for Filippinos who work on ships. They provide for their families back, sometimes do this for years. And they are hard workers. As a cruise ship photographer, you will gain experience of a lifetime and will have stories to share long time after you've finished. I wish you best of luck! If you can, update me on how is it going for you in a few months time!

  • #19

    Cindy Hayashi (Thursday, 02 February 2017 18:32)

    Hi Boogie, i'm Cindy from Malaysia. I just got my offer letter from one of the cruise ship. I had a mix feeling about it, a part of me was excited another part was worrying. As i read through my letter, it said that i have to pay everything by myself to get there and visa for the 1st contract. Also worried about i couldn't handle the working hours for working 7days in a row for 6months, even if in port i'll have to stay on the ship for the assigned task. Then i search online for how's other experience working on the cruise. Most of them were negative, but i'm happy to found your blog. You seems happier and bring me some positive. Thank you for sharing your experience online.

  • #20

    boogieplanet (Saturday, 04 February 2017 00:38)

    Hi Cindy,
    Yes it is hard to handle 7 days a week for 6 months, but you do get used to it. It also depends on ship and cruise itinerary you end up with - generally the shorter the cruise the better money but also the more work :) Let me know if you decide to work on ships and where you end up! Boogie x

  • #21

    Sumeet Harwande (Wednesday, 05 April 2017 23:13)

    Hi, Boogie

    I am from Mumbai, India.
    I am looking for a Photographer's job on cruise. I have 2 years experience as a photographer.
    I read many articles, blogs n watched many videos related to the job on cruise. Your blog is really helpful as you have mentioned everything in it. And your pictures also tells the story the fun u had n all about work as well.

    I want to ask you few questions.
    1. As an Indian what are the chances of getting job as a photographer on cruise.
    2. How many hours you actually worked while you're on board.
    3. How much does Junior Photographer makes on his first contract.

  • #22

    Sumeet Harwande (Wednesday, 05 April 2017 23:15)

    Hi, Boogie

    I am from Mumbai, India.
    I am looking for a Photographer's job on cruise. I have 2 years experience as a photographer.
    I read many articles, blogs n watched many videos related to the job on cruise. Your blog is really helpful as you have mentioned everything in it. And your pictures also tells the story the fun u had n all about work as well.

    I want to ask you few questions.
    1. As an Indian what are the chances of getting job as a photographer on cruise.
    2. How many hours you actually worked while you're on board.
    3. How much does Junior Photographer makes on his first contract.

  • #23

    boogieplanet (Thursday, 06 April 2017 21:22)

    Hi Sumeet,
    Thank you for your insights :)
    To answer your questions:
    1. I worked with plenty of Indian photographers onboard ships - in fact Indians is one of the most dominating nations amongst photgs. So you stand a high chance of being hired.
    2. Hours varied depending whether it was a port day, a tour day or a sea day, but generally anything between 10 and 15 hours a day. The last one, being a tour day when we travelled e.g. to the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt, took pictures of the guests in front of them, toured the city and went back to Alexandria. The working day was "chopped" into smaller working and non-working periods (when you had time off to e.g. explore the port of call for a couple of hours), totalling on average 10-12hours.
    3. It really depends on ship and cruise you do. The longer the cruise, the less money you're going to bring home. 3-4 day cruises pay the best because guests have fewer photos taken and tend to buy more. Do not think you're gonna make money on your first contract (although some people do). I just about broke even - after paying off my camera, uniform and flight home I didn't have much left from my 1st contract.
    I hope it helps. Good luck!
    Boogie x

  • #24

    Sumeet (Friday, 07 April 2017 13:16)

    Thanks Bongie for your reply

  • #25

    Cesar R. (Friday, 12 May 2017 04:10)

    Hi Boogie!

    Your blog sparked my interests.

    Just a few questions..
    Do they assign you equipment? or you have to "pay for it?"
    Do they ask me to bring equipment? (I have my own camera for example).
    When you join "Image". So they shuffle you around or you can tell them what brand you want to work? or its completely based on what Image tells you and they assign you?

    Do the photographers are also in charge of processing all the images and printing them? or theres other crew that does that?
    Do you have higher possibility to get a higher ranking position if you have way higher knowledge or more vast? (pay too?)

  • #26

    Boogie (Friday, 12 May 2017 17:30)

    Hi Cesar,
    These are some very good questions that a lot of people ask me. To answer them:
    1) Do they assign you equipment? or you have to "pay for it?"
    You shoot some of it (the gangway, trips, restaurants) with your own camera. If you have one, great, if not, you can buy it from Image at a good price and then pay it off from your wages (they will deduct it from your wages bit by bit every month, same with the uniform). That's why on my first contract I didn't make any money - because I had to pay off my camera and pay for the uniform. The rest (studio, for example) you will shoot with the Image's cameras.
    2) Do they ask me to bring equipment? (I have my own camera for example).
    You can have your own camera body but it needs to be Nikon and compatible with the equipment they have onboard.
    3) When you join "Image". So they shuffle you around or you can tell them what brand you want to work? or its completely based on what Image tells you and they assign you?
    By "brand" do you mean a cruise line? Well, you can tell them your preference. They offered me to work on Disney to begin with but I politely declined because I was too scared of working on a ship full of children - Disney's policies are quite strict. Put it in time perspective, I was silly not to take it, money you earn on Disney ships is good. I ended up at Royal Caribbean ships instead.
    4) Do the photographers are also in charge of processing all the images and printing them? or theres other crew that does that?
    Yes the photographers print the photos as well. There is lab manager in charge of it and you will have your rota of when you are going to print in the lab. I learnt a lot of post processing that way.
    5) Do you have higher possibility to get a higher ranking position if you have way higher knowledge or more vast? (pay too?)
    If you already have a knowledge and experience you stand a high chance of being promoted really fast. Everyone starts from "photographer in training" and/or "junior photographer" role and can work their way up. It comes with pay rise, obviously.

    I hope it helps! Good luck with applying!
    Boogie

  • #27

    Cesar R (Saturday, 13 May 2017 20:14)

    Boogie: Thanks for the answer!

    Also, what about privileges of using public access?
    I remember you said you had no access at all. Or was it because you were not "properly dressed" ?

    I heard a lot about food (like having multiple crew venues depending on your rank).
    Was it good?
    What kind of Food did you see on most of the days?

  • #28

    Boogie (Friday, 09 June 2017 23:44)

    Hi Cesar,
    Also, what about privileges of using public access?
    That depended on your role on the ships. As photographers we were referred to as "staff"(as oppose to crew which was lower in privileges and officers which was higher). So, e.g., we could use guests gym or sauna at quiet times - for example, when it was port day and guests were out exploring the port of call. Yes, that night I was not "properly dressed", as it was my very first night onboard any ship and I was unaware of the rules. Normally, you need to wear at least a name tag and toes covered shoes, and I didn't. Oops.

    I heard a lot about food (like having multiple crew venues depending on your rank).
    Was it good?
    What kind of Food did you see on most of the days?
    Food for the crew was alright but repetitive and nothing amazing. After a while you simply would get bored of it so I used to eat out in ports of call quite often - pizza in Naples, calamari in Santorini etc, just to get some variety.

    Boogie

  • #29

    Cesar R (Monday, 12 June 2017 18:20)

    Omg Boogie, thank so much for giving us your experiences!

    I'm wondering if I should take the plunge and try.
    I'm in my early 30's and I have been stuck in a boring IT job and want something different for a while.