Carnival Botches Formal Night Photos

Formal Night (Overexposed)

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to take a four-day cruise on Carnival. We cruised from Miami to Key West to Cozumel and then back to Miami. The cruise was great, except for the photographers, who apparently have no idea how to shoot formal photos. The photos were washed out to the point that the fancy tuxedo shirts that our kids were wearing were nearly indistinguishable from a  plain white tee-shirt. A cruise line that shoots many thousands of formal photos should be able to get the exposure right.

Formal Night (Correctly Exposed)

Here is how to do it:

1. If your camera has a “flashing highlights” feature, use it. This feature will show flashing highlights if parts of your photo are overexposed.

2. Look at the image. If no details are not present on the display, they will not be there when you try to print. Zooming in on the image may help you see if important details are lost.

3. Use the exposure compensation setting. Typically setting exposure compensation to -1 will bring highlight details into the camera’s range. You may need to experiment with the exact setting required.

If you are going on a cruise, feel free to print these instructions and hand them to the photographer. You may be able to avoid the situation that happened to me.

Note to Carnival: If a customer indicates they are not happy with your photographs do not tell them they will just have to accept them. Try asking, “What can we do to help you?” or “How can we make things right?” When I left, I was not pleased with my photographs; yet, I was told that Carnival had done everything that could be done. Even a simple step, like refunding my money for the expensive, poorly exposed photos, would have made the situation better.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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1 Response to Carnival Botches Formal Night Photos

  1. Mark Mizen says:

    Shawna Wright Bartimoccia
    I’ll bet Carnival had no idea they were dealing with “Dr. Mark!”
    August 31 at 6:26pm

    Cathy Werning Cole
    cute boys! I hope you sent that in to Carnival.
    August 31 at 8:44pm

    Sue Philips
    Hmm, sounds like they could use a lesson in customer service as well as photography!
    August 31 at 11:54pm

    Helen Watt
    I’m so sorry that happened on such a special night during your trip. The boys are adorable regardless on the exposure, but those photos are expensive and should be done right. We’re having school pictures taken today … enough said. 🙂
    September 1 at 7:59am •

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