You can get your film developed in the Virgin Islands , although processing is generally expensive and may not be as high-quality as your photo shop back home. The best photo shop in the Virgin Islands is St. Thomas ’s Blazing Photos (340/776-5547), which has locations in Havensight Mall and Red Hook Plaza.
In the BVI, go to Top’s Photo Studio (Palm Grove Shopping Centre, 284/494-2161). For prints from your digital images, go to Focus on Main Street (Main St., 284/495-9135).
The Virgin Islands ’ endless summer is a photographer’s best friend and worst enemy. The sunshine and blue sky make it nearly impossible to take ugly photos. For the best shots of the crystal blue water, choose an absolutely sunny day and seek out the highest elevation you can find.
While a sunny day almost guarantees good scenery photos, it makes photographing people difficult. If it is very bright, you may need to use a flash to fill in the shadows of a person’s face. Remember the old rule to always put the camera’s back to the sun, but watch out as well for squinty eyes.
It is well worth picking up a cheap, disposable underwater camera to bring with you. You can also buy them at shops throughout the islands, and just about every dive shop stocks them. Don’t bother taking underwater shots on a cloudy day; you really need sunlight to boost the colors. Also try to avoid windy or rough days, when waves have churned up clouds of sediment. The built-in flash on many of the point-and-shoot disposable cameras is quite weak; don’t try to take photos of things more than six feet away if you’re depending on the flash.
The disposable waterproof cameras are handy even if you’re not planning on underwater photography. Seawater and sun can damage your camera; if you anticipate lots of beach, boat, or surf photography, protect your camera by leaving it at home. If you insist on taking a regular camera to the beach or on a boat, pack it in a plastic bag. Better yet, use a “dry bag.” Remember that even a mild saltwater spray can damage your camera.
In the Virgin Islands , it is rude to take photographs of strangers without their permission. On some islands, St. Thomas  in particular, there are a few outgoing entrepreneurs who make a living by posing in colorful Caribbean garb astride a donkey. If you want something a little more authentic than that, you will have to do some legwork of your own.
The only exception to this is at local fairs or cultural events, where it is okay to photograph performers or participants. If you can, however, it is still a good idea to ask first.