Wherever you travel and whatever means you choose, you will want to capture as many photos along the way as reminder of your trip. You want to make sure that when you get home, you have photos that truly reflect your experience and provide great memories. The worst thing that can happen is that your pictures are out of focus, not of the right quality or worst of all, lost altogether.

You now have a wide choice of cameras to choose from and to keep it simple you might just decide to use the camera in your smartphone.  You may like the convienience of a point-and -shoot camera or if you are really keen, invest professional-quality equipment. All options provide good results but it is important that your chosen camera is capable of shooting high quality images which generally means higher megapixel specs. Whatever you decide it is the pictures we end up with that is most important. Following some basic guidelines can make the difference between good or brilliant photos. I personally use an iPhone 6, Panasonic Point-and-Shoot Tz-7 and a high end Nikon D7000 DSLR.

Learn to use your camera
Before you step foot on your ship or even wave goodbye to family and friends, you should know how your camera works. If in doubt practice.

Regardless of if you have a DSLR camera or a point-and-shoot, the key to taking better photos is knowing how your hardware works and trying things out.  Try bringing the camera to events around your home town or even taking photos in your house. Take photos in the day time, night time and indoors so you get a good sense of what to expect and try things out.  It’s better to take bad photos at home so you know how to avoid those bad photos later on your cruise.

Charge your battery each night.
You know what’s worse than bad photos? No photos! Make sure you charge your batteries each evening to ensure each day your camera will have enough power to last you throughout the day.Along those lines, investing in multiple batteries can help avoid not having enough juice.  If your camera uses disposable batteries, make sure you have a stockpile of them.  In addition to keeping your battery working, it’s better to have too many rather than having to purchase new batteries on your cruise.

Look for the Light.
One of the most important things to getting good pictures is proper lighting. The sun casts a unique glow in the early morning and late afternoon. Observant photographers know they have to take advantage of this type of light. Most ships are docking at sunrise and getting ready to leave at sunset, so these are good times to be up on deck to take beautiful pictures of the port and the surrounding scenery, as well as your family and the sunsets over the water. Worried you’ll be caught without your camera and miss the best light? This is where a small camera can be a great advantage because you can keep it handy for those unexpected photo opportunities. During the day, you ideally want the sun to be behind you as you set up your shot. Don’t be mislead by cloudy days, as they can produce excellent photos because the clouds soften the light.

Try a Wide Angle shot.
Wide shots are useful for establishing the context of a place and by adding more border around a picture than is really necessary is a good idea as it gives you more to work with later. Phots can easliy be edited with one of the many photo editing packages available.  I personally use Photoshop, but there is a huge choice of good software available.

Then Go Close. I find that shots of architectural details such as buildings, doors, arches or carvings in wood or stone work well. I also like close up photos of food and colourful items in markets.

Take Two Shots.
Just to be certain you have captured what you wanted. Holding down the shutter just a little longer gets the second photo which can also be sharper because you are not wobbling about.

Don’t Forget the People.
Photos of famous sites are great, but you don’t want your memories to be devoid of people. So, don’t forget to take photos that actually show you with your family in unique places (or just goofing around onboard). Don’t be shy about asking people to take the picture so you can be in it, too; plus, you can always volunteer to return the favor for them. I recommend looking for someone who seems to enjoy taking pictures — it reduces the chance your heads will get cut off or that the photo will be at an odd angle. (Plus, someone else with a fancy camera is less likely to run off with yours.)   Also, if you can capture images of local people, you will have a reflection of the true personality of a place. However, do be careful to ask permission if you are up close. Some people don’t want to have their pictures taken, and others may expect money for allowing you to do so.

Back It Up.
Always Always backup up everything.  There are now so many ways to back up photos, either by syncing a smartphone, iPad or laptop, copying them on to an external drive or, if the at-sea Internet situation allows; sending up to a cloud backup solution. Using Cameras with Wifi or with Eye-Fi cards can help. Using multiple memory cards is also and option.