Pictures are the best souvenir of any Disney vacation, at least in my opinion. I often find myself saying, “Please smile nicely. Pictures are mommy’s souvenir.” When we get home, I look forward to developing them, putting them in Disney frames, and even using some as photo gifts. This past vacation, I took over 600 pictures! But, before I can do those things, I need to be able to photograph well, right? Hopefully these Photography Tips for Your Next Walt Disney World Vacation will help you make the most of your memories!
1. Learn to use your camera. This may seem obvious, but many people buy a new DSLR camera for a Disney vacation, and don’t know how to use the settings they’ll need before they arrive. Before you go, practice taking pictures with it, and look at them to see what you can do to improve them. During the Main Street Electrical Parade is not the time to start figuring out if you should be in automatic or manual mode, and which ISO settings are best.
2. Charge your battery nightly, or while you are at the resort taking a midday break. Every night, while we are sleeping, I charge my DSLR and my point and shoot batteries. Since the DSLR is used a lot for pictures AND videos, I want to make sure it’s charged well.
3. Take a quick survey of the background before you shoot your pictures. If you are at a character meal, clear some of the table area so you don’t have a bunch of dirty dishes and food in the foreground. Or, if you are trying to get that classic shot in front of Cinderella’s Castle, get as close to the castle as possible. If you walk up Main Street USA, right about to where the hub breaks off into the different lands, it’s not always so densely crowded. Or, stand outside Crystal Palace, with the castle in the background for a great shot!
4. Disney Photopass Photographers will take your picture with YOUR camera. All you have to do is ask them! I hesitated on this for a long time, but then realized that if anyone can work a camera, it’s them!
5. Make the most of your time at character meet and greets. When it is your turn, make sure you get the photos you want. You waited in line for that moment, and you want to capture it on your camera. As your child walks up to the character, catch their face on the first interaction. This is a great time to use the action or sport mode on your camera. This mode allows your camera to shoot multiple shots very quickly.
6. Take more than one picture with a character. Have the Photopass photographer take a group shot of your family with the character. Also, be sure to take several of the character and your child interacting. One of my favorite pictures is of my daughter, who was 2 at the time, giving Sorcerer Mickey a kiss on the nose. If I would’ve taken the standard, pose with the character shot, I wouldn’t have gotten the super cute one of them interacting.
7. Take very close up pictures of Spaceship Earth, the Tree of Life, etc. These make great wallpaper for your computer, backgrounds for stationery, and even scrapbook pages.
8. Don’t depend on your iPhone for great pics. I know a lot of people LOVE using their cameras on their phones. But, when you’re using the iPhone for managing wait times, uploading to Facebook, or even texting family who is in other areas of the park, your battery life is gone before you know it. You’ll be glad you brought along your small point and shoot, or even your DSLR camera. In my experience, the photos I take on my iPhone don’t develop as well as those with my other cameras.
9. Save your DSLR camera for special experiences. I only take mine to the parks for one day, to get the shots of our family in front of the park icons and with characters. I also make sure to take it to our character meals. Otherwise, I’m using my point and shoot digital camera, and occasionally my phone if I want to upload something to FB or send a cute pic to the grandparents.
10. Set the date. Make sure you set the date, and time if you have it, stamp on your camera. When you return home, and you’re trying to go through the memories, you’ll need that date!
Do you take a ton of pictures on your Disney vacations? We’d love to hear how YOU capture the magic! Contact me to see how I can help make your next Disney vacation full of magic and memories! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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