Travel Plans Sep 25, 2023

How to take the best photos on your cruise, no fancy cam needed.

On Virgin Voyages, every side is your good side.

Virgin Voyages

The best thing about smartphones isn’t tracking your steps or the easy access to social media. It’s certainly not the ability to set 12 alarms and snooze every single one of them. It’s being able to take professional-looking photos without buying a $2,000 camera. Pro photographers might disagree, but for most of us, it’s become pretty difficult these days to distinguish between an artfully-captured iPhone photo and a picture snapped with a fancy Nikon. That’s especially welcome news for frequent vacationers, who crave high-quality social media content without the hassle of lugging around expensive camera equipment. 

On Virgin Voyages, getting great travel photos is easy no matter what tools you’re working with. All you have to do is bring yourselves, your friends, and your favorite outfits, and we’ll provide the eye-catching backdrops.

Our vacation destinations are the perfect subject matter

We believe that what makes a good photo isn’t the technology behind the camera, or how many years of photography experience you have — it’s the subject matter. And on Virgin Voyages, photo-worthy subject matter is our specialty. But don’t take our word for it. Check out our Instagram videos showing everything from how much fun we have onboard to how much we loooove an epic meal.

On board, there are ample opportunities for photo-ops. Grab the obligatory “king of the world” photo on our deck, with the sea in the background, or take some always-tantalizing food pics of your mezze bites at the Dock. Inside, head to Razzle Dazzle eatery, whose red-and-white speckled walls will make any photo pop, or Gunbae, our Korean BBQ that’s more of an interactive dining experience than a traditional restaurant. When the sun goes down and it’s time to party, the glittering entryway to The Manor nightclub is the perfect place to take group photos when you’re all dressed up. Speaking of getting dressed up, every moment of Scarlet Night is a photo-op. After all, it’s a night when everyone dons their flashiest red outfits and jumps in the pool. How can you not grab some memorable photos?

Oh, you want more pictures than just of the ship? Well, we’ve got you covered there, too. We sail to some of the most visually breathtaking destinations in the world, from the whitewashed streets of Santorini to the sun-speckled turquoise waters of Turks and Caicos. With our new 2024-2025 cruise itineraries in Australia and New Zealand, we’re also giving you an opportunity to really ignite your friends’ wanderlust jealousy with stunning backdrops of New Zealand’s rugged natural beauty, whales off the coast of Eden, and selfies with the unique wildlife of Tasmania.

How to take the best vacation photos: basic smartphone travel photography tips

If you just bought a fancy camera and don’t mind carrying it with you down the winding streets of Old San Juan, go for it. But you don’t need an expensive camera to capture high-quality photos – you just need to know how to use your smartphone to its full potential. The great thing about a smartphone is that you always have a camera ready, and you don’t have to be too selective about what you choose to shoot. But that doesn’t mean you should be snapping away indiscriminately at everything that briefly catches your eye.

Vacation Photo Tip #1: Tell a Story
Think of your vacation photo album as a story. You’re constructing a narrative, not just to be shared on social media, but to be reflected upon years later when the more minute details of your trip have faded from memory. You not only want to preserve the classically beautiful landscapes, but also the food you ate, the people you met, the alleyways you explored, and the shops you visited. A destination is so much more than its sunsets.

Vacation Photo Tip #2: Use the Rule of Thirds
When it comes to the technical details of how to take the best vacation photos, start with the “rule of thirds,” which advises you to divide the photo into thirds, with the subject placed in the left or right third of the image. That leaves the rest of the photo open for backdrop. This could work for food pics, historic city sites, group photos, or selfies. Use the grid function on your phone’s camera to help you with positioning. 

Vacation Photo Tip #3: Use Portrait Mode & Other Presets
Portrait mode can also be your best friend when taking photos of groups or individuals. Portrait mode shortens the depth of field, which blurs the background and makes the subject in the foreground stand out. And there’s no shame in editing, either. Smartphone cameras might be handy, but they can’t always read natural light perfectly. That means editing a photo doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doctoring it into something fake – you’re just tweaking the effects so it more closely resembles reality (and please, resist the urge to give yourself a tan with a ton of oversaturation).

Vacation Photo Tip #4: Plan Your Photos Ahead 
The final tip for how to take the best vacation photos isn’t about the photos themselves. It’s about saving yourself a headache once you get home. Sure, looking through pics is nice, but no one wants to comb through 2,000+ photos to find the five that are Instagram worthy. Smartphones make it easy to point and shoot at everything, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Before taking a picture, ask yourself: does this subject have real relevance? Does it represent my trip? When I look back on this picture 10 years from now, will I know exactly what it is, or does this generic cathedral photo look like the 1,000 other generic cathedral photos I have from other places? Be intentional with what you photograph, keep your pics creative and unique, and you’ll actually have fun sifting through your vacation album when you return.

Ready to take the best vacation photos?

No matter where you sail with us, you’ll always find fantastic photo-ops. Check out our upcoming sailings.

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