Saturday, 27 November 2010

Cruise Update 27/11/10


I'm in a rush so don't want to update two places at once.

Please follow this Facebook link to see the photo's I've just added (after the one's you've already seen). You don't need to be signed up to see this public folder.

I'm now in the cycle of three cruises I have already done again. We do this twice more and then it changes to the Bahamas for the Christmas period.

Oh and I get a cabin mate in two days. Bianca from Serbia.

Catch up soon.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Cruising- some pictures

Hi! I said I would try and get some pictures on the blog so here's what I've got so far...

This is my home for the next six months in port at Laberdee, Haiti.

And the below photo of one of my colleagues is an example of the kind of shot we sell to the passengers.
Now I know when and where I'm going to be able to get online (No Name Bar, Cozumel, Mexico!) I'm going to start compiling better pics for you.

Watch this space.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Cruise Ship Photography: An Update


It's 11.40pm here on my ship somewhere between Jamacia and Ft Lauderdale (but nearer Jamacia as it's 24 hours before we arrive back at Ft Lauderdale) and we have just finished for the evening. I apologise for mis spellings and incoherance, I just really wanted to post an update.

It's looking like keeping my blog up to date is going to be virtually impossible due to time. The cruise I am only just does short trips and in order to hit targets we are photographing all the time. The friends I made in Croatia have also started going to their ships and it's interesting to see snippets on Facebook as it sounds like every ship is very different and I definately have a bit of a raw deal here however with being so busy I also don't have the time to think about whether I hate it as others do.

I'm in a team of 13, 10 photogs, 2 assitant managers and the buisness manager. It's a good size I think but there's only two other girls and they leave in the next couple of weeks so I have no girls to talk to which I'm really missing!! However bonus of this is I currently have my cabin on my own, this is great for me but I know it won't last!!

So my ship does short cruises and this is how it goes as best I can describe...
On Embarkation day people start arriving around 11am so at 9am ish we get together our studio set ups to take them off the boat and into the terminal. We shoot everyone we can (ship holds 3000 people) as they arrive between 11am and 4pm (we do get a lunch break!). Take the studios down, go to the lab to upload the pictures. In the evening of embarkation day we shoot casual dinner in two sittings finishing with the gallery closing at 11pm.

The next day is always formal dinner day. We start early by putting out the pictures taken the previous day. Then we have shifts in the gallery (basically shop work). So then formal evening starting at 5pm we have 7 studios open around the ship and we shoot the two sittings of dinner in the breaks of studio time so there are no real breaks. Our manager brings water/coke and cookies to keep us going. The evening always finishes gone 12pm and then we have pizza brought to the gallery.

The next day is always a port so having got to bed 1am ish we have to be ready to shoot gangway at 7.30am. We look after our own camera etc so you have to get up to put that together. And today some of the guys had to dress as pirates so you have to get up with enough time to do that. So 6 hours sleep if you're lucky then out onto a port getting in the shots for the gangway target as people leave the ship. At around 11.30am we'll be done and then port day is our time, who cares if we've had no sleep!

So last week port day was Cozumel, Mexico. Some of my team hired a jeep and we bought supplies from a supermarket and then drove round the island to where the beaches are stunning and ate and swan etc. It was amazing and it's turtle season and we met some conservation people and they showed us the baby turtles in the sand, soooo cute! Today we were in Jamica and we when for a team lunch to Mageritaville (a mental bar) and I had rum poured down my neck! Port days- definately make it all worth while.

However port day evening we're running studios and the gallery again. I was shooting a studio using a chair prop tonight for the first time (I've mastered normal standing!) I think it when ok. And I'm writing this blog from the lab which is the last stop before bed for me. Those manning the gallery will be shutting it down.

Tomorrow, last day of the cruise its all hands to the gallery to sell, sell, sell everything we've photographed. I'm not on until 12 actually so finally some sleep tonight, hence the blogging!

For a 5 day cruise we're missing a day and that's another port day except not. We go to a Royal Caribbean private resort, Laberdee, Haiti. Everyone there is from our ship so no time off, we have to go round annoying people for photographs. This is my least favourite thing so far! And we shoot dinner again, more studios in the evening etc on the extra day.

So that's pretty much everything I'm doing for the next 6 months. There's a load of other things going on, particularly lab based stuff that'll I'll learn as and when but that structure always applies.

Did I mention I don't even have my full uniform yet! Argh!

So it's crazy and I'm tired and I don't think I've ever taken so many pictures but I'm good and I will try to find a wifi point on land at somepoint so I can use my own laptop and share some pictures with you!

For my friends reading this please send me emails or facebook messages. Just about pointless things, I just need the escape of thinking about normal life! I can't believe the SMAOS christmas concert is cancelled!!

Bye for now :)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

From Manchester to the Caribbean. My photographer's journey: extreme version!

And so it begins!

Tomorrow I fly from Manchester to Fort Lauderdale where my new home, for the next 6 months, leaves for Mexico on Thursday.

A tour of my new home, The Navigator of the Seas:

My ship will be doing 4 and 5 night cruises around the Caribbean until next May when it crosses the Atlantic to bring me home (or avoid the hurricane season!).

I'm absolutely terrified! I realise you have no sympathy for me leaving the Manchester weather for sunshine and travel, but this is something completely new and beyond my comprehension so of course I'm scared!

So all I know is that I fly tomorrow. I have an overnight stay before joining the ship and thankfully here I will meet up with Antonino who I trained with in Croatia. A friendly face will be a god send after 11 hours of flying! And then in the morning we go to the ship which will also be boarding passengers going on the 4 day cruise to Mexico.

Then my guess is a tour of the ship/pick up uniforms/training schedule/moving into my cabin and probably start something straight away. This is not an easy job I'm taking. They can work us 14 hours a day, 7 days a week for 6 months. By law we get 10 hours off, 6 of which have to be together, so that's sleep!

I hope to keep this blog up to date with something, and I'm a Facebook addict so if I can get on I will. Otherwise see you in 6 months.

Oh and so if you're getting married/having a dinner dance or other event requiring photography in June 2011, I'll be back! Book me using my contact form on my main site.


Monday, 8 November 2010

Becca and Ed, Losehill House Hotel, Wedding Photostory

Before this blog takes a completely new journey I have a wedding photostory outstanding.

My 8th and final wedding of the year was Becca and Ed's on an unfortunately rainy day in October! This wedding was very much about me capturing what was going on rather than any staging, which I prefer!

As a starting point I was told the men would want to pose while Becca really didn't want any getting ready shots. So I had some fun following them around for a bit:

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Once ready I went to see Becca, the atmosphere in her room was great fun and calm!

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The first affect of the bad weather was that rather than walking across the courtyard we took an indoor route through the laundry room. All taken in good humour of course!

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The ceremony room was beautiful even if the registrar did request I hid behind a plant! I still got some good and interesting shots as a result.

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Love this next shot! I didn't realise they did this until I saw the pictures after.

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Second affect of the weather- indoor group photos. But we had some fun and obviously the main room is stunning!

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Can you see everyone's faces? Maybe not, it was a good try!

It did stop raining but it was very slippy so only a select few then went outside for more groups, confetti and then portrait time!

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Becca and Ed chose Losehill House because of the hill and how it goes great colours in the autumn. So in the 5 mins they gave me to grab some portraits it was all about the backdrop!

This next photograph is my favourite in the spirit of true reportage style.

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I love that one of the tables was Kro Bar so that makes my photostory!

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And a spontaneous alternative rings shot.

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Lots of speeches were given but Ed gave the best expressions!!

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And we got a lovely cake cutting pose (a change for me!):

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Throwing of the bouquet, always an interesting sequence and strangely more popular for indoor weddings so far in my experience!

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My favourite first dance shot:

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And to finish, the fun with a Polaroid printer and guest book in the snug...

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I really enjoyed this wedding as it presented me with a bunch of new challenges but also had all my favourite things about photographing weddings, particularly feeling part of a group of people I had only just met! I hope the honeymoon was amazing and I feel bad that I'm not around to put an album together (straight away at least). Thank you so much for choosing me, turned out this wedding meant a lot :)

I will update on my cruise news tomorrow blog fans...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A new direction: Cruise Photographer Training in Croatia

Hi! I haven't kept up my blog because last week was the start of something very new and exciting for me, and it will change the direction and motivation of this blog.

However my blog, when I started it, I called it "My photographer's journey" and the intention behind that was to drive myself to do whatever it takes to improve my photography and make it my career.

I am delighted to say I am now employed as a professional photographer for the Image Group who are the largest photography concession on cruise ships. And last week they sent me to Croatia for an intensive week of training.

The only down side to this job is that I am no longer a 'Manchester Photographer'. I've been turning down wedding jobs for a while now, I don't think I'll be around for any SMAOS shows or Pride and I am sad about that as I was just starting to get really well established.

A New Direction

So my journey has changed direction slightly but I still very much intending to keep blogging as a nice way to keep those who want to know what I'm doing up to date.

Welcome to my blog about being a cruise ship photographer!

So training. Last week I flew to Zagreb in Croatia. There was 6 of us from Manchester, a few more from London and one from Scotland. Once there we discovered we were also training with others from all over Europe (Spain, Italy, Ukraine, local Croatians and more). 34 in total. Here's a picture of all of us:

Training was all day Tuesday to Saturday in a conference room in the hotel above (we stayed in a prison like hostel near by) where we learned everything from environmental policies to shop selling, staff hierarchy, GREAT customer service and life onboard. Generally we did all the dull presentation/video watching stuff in the mornings and practical stuff in the afternoon.

We practiced the three major photographing scenarios; dinning room, gangway and portraits. The portrait studios also involve some complicated setting up so we were taught that as well as shooting and posing practice.

I have very good idea of what the job involves now which is helpful. It's going to be hard work but the people are what make it. During our intensive training week I've met some fantastic people and there's a chance I may be posted to a ship with some of them!

The week inevitably, although long days, also involved long nights of partying! We went into central Zagreb twice and what I saw was lovely but it was always dark. On the last day we had a mini exam to see what had learned (really easy) and an interview to discuss ship possibilities. Ready to let off steam and an early finish, the last night was the best with Jager Bombs at 4pm, Pizza around 7pm then into Zagreb for more drinking. My flight home involved getting up at 5am (extreme clock changing complications occurred there) so we left maybe 12ish but got horribly lost on public transport and once back at the hostel I was persuaded into staying up and watching Blue Planet (of all randomness!) because I had this week to recover!! I flew home on 3 hours sleep.

So recovering is what I am doing. No news on my ship yet, waiting and moving back to live with my mum is weird but I'm ready for this. Bring it on!

If I'm still here I might get around to doing the photostory of the last wedding I did before I go. More updates to follow. And if there's something you want to know that I haven't mentioned please comment.