10 Tips for a Successful Photography Yacht Charter in Alaska

When it comes to photography, there are so many elements that are out of your control. This makes getting the perfect shot a challenge. So why make it even harder on yourself by taking a commercial Alaskan cruise.

These cruises have a set schedule and it doesn't take into account the wildlife, the sun, or anything else you need for a great shot. So instead, you should reserve a photography yacht charter in Alaska.

1. Pack Your Camera

This tip should be obvious right? How can you take the perfect vacation photo without a camera? When traveling throughout Alaska, always keep your camera with you. You never know when a great photo opportunity will present itself!

It isn't enough to just bring any camera. Bring one that you know and are familiar with. You can get better shots from a camera that you are familiar with than a brand new one with all of the bells and whistles.

This could even be the camera on your smartphone. As long as you have a camera with you, you’ll be able to capture the beauty of a destination.

2. Keep Composition Clean & Simple

The beauty of Alaska is everywhere you turn. This sounds like a great thing, except that it also means you will get overwhelmed easily.

Don't try to do too many things, or take too many shots, or pack too much into one shot. Stay focused and prioritize. That way you can get a few fantastic shots instead of many mediocre ones.

Keep the “Rule of Thirds” in mind when you’re taking a photograph. Include only one or two points of interest in your photo, and try to position them on the grid lines or intersections. The human eye naturally gravitates to these areas of a photo.


3. Get Ready for Your Close-Up

Sometimes while trying to capture Alaska's vastness you end up too far away and lose focus on the subject. Don't be afraid to step closer. So zoom with your feet and not with your camera.

Before you rely on the zoom function, try getting up close and personal with your subject. Of course, this might not be possible if you’re trying to capture some of Alaska's wildlife.

If you must zoom, keep the camera as steady as possible when you shoot. A small, portable tripod can help.

4. Consider the Sun

As great as the sun is, it can be a real pain when trying to get the perfect shot. Keep this in mind when choosing your shooting times. This is where having a private yacht charter comes in handy.

Let your captain know your photography plans and they can work with you to be at the right place, at the right time.

Don't forget those pesky shadows. The best way to eliminate them is by using the flash on your camera. The flash places additional light on your subject, creating more exposure and lessening dark shadows.

If you are going to take a picture of someone, don't have them face into the sun. That way they won't be squinting. If you can, put them in a shady place so they have indirect light.

Don't be afraid to shoot on the cloudy days either. You may find that the clouds can work in your favor to diffuse the light and provide a softer light.


5. Don’t Be Scared of Black and White Photos

Of course, you'll want to capture all of Alaska's beauty. You'll want pictures of the emerald trees, the sapphire waters, and all of the other vivid colors.

But black and white photos can be just as stunning and dramatic. You can use the snow and ice to your advantage and create some dramatic effects.

6. Shoot, Shoot, Shoot!

Always take more than one shot of your subject. For fancier cameras, you can adjust the settings so the camera automatically takes a burst of pictures. Then you can sit back and compare the subtle differences later when you get home.

The last thing you want to do is get home and realize you just missed that perfect shot. So while you're here on your yacht charter, make the most of it, and shoot, shoot, shoot!

Group Photos: Take at least three photos of the group, as you may not be able to tell at the time if someone has blinked or looked away from the lens.

Wildlife Photos: When photographing wildlife, your subject may be on the move. Taking several photos increases your odds of capturing that perfect shot.

Nighttime Photos: Take several versions of your photo and adjust the exposure each time. This way, you can later select the version with the best lighting.

Remember this is the age of digital photography, so your only limit is the amount of memory you have.


7. Understand When to Use HDR

HDR is a trend that it seems everyone has decided to do. But it isn't always the right choice. Let's say your relaxing on deck, cruising on your Alaskan charter and you decide that you want to grab a few shots.

Turn on HDR and you can better capture those dark shady spots and bright sunny spots. With such photogenic landscapes, this feature is sure to come in handy when cruising in Alaska.

8. Shoot During Golden Hour

There are certain times when the sun is just right that it creates a soft, warm, and flattering glow across the world. There is no replicating this natural light.

So if you happen to catch it, take full advantage and snap away! Talk with your captain about lighting and how the sun might affect your photography plans.


9. Get in the Photo

You're having a wonderful time on your Alaskan yacht charter. You've captured a ton of great shots.

But now you're home and you realize you've made a grave mistake. You have no pictures of yourself! Don't let this happen to you.

You can always ask someone to take a picture of you with your camera. Or, if you don't feel comfortable trusting someone else, us a tripod and utilize your camera's built in timer.

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10. Mix It Up!

We all get in a groove or fall into a comfortable spot. Then we stay in that comfort zone where we feel safe and confident.

When this happens with photography, you'll notice that all of your photos will end up having a similar look and feel to them. Not only can this get boring, but it doesn't challenge you either.

Use this Alaskan photography cruise as an opportunity to improve and expand your skills. Try out different settings, shoot from new angles, capture new subjects.

Shutter speed

Your shutter speed is key when trying to capture subjects that move. The other problem is that many animals in Alaska are most active during dusk and dawn.

This means you'll have low light conditions and a moving subject. So you'll want to capture as much light as possible.

Keep in mind these times when planning your cruise. You'll notice that your standard mass cruise line will be moving during this time. You won't have the ability to go out shooting since you'll need to be on the ship.

Instead, a private yacht charter can tailor the schedule to your photography needs.


A secret to capturing great wildlife photography is to aim to focus the camera on the animal's eye. This should always be the sharpest point of the image.


A general rule is that the longer the lens and the wider the aperture, the better. But you don't always need a huge wildlife lens to capture great shots.

You also don't need to go out and buy all new equipment before your yacht charter. You know your current equipment, and you know how to get great shots with it. So bring your photography equipment let us help you find the right setting.

Book Your Photography Yacht Charter in Alaska Today

With a well-planned wildlife photography private yacht cruise and a lot of patience, the luck variable should take care of itself. Wishing you much success with photographing Alaska’s many wild and wonderful species!