6 Photography Tips for Disney Vacations by Emma Smith

It’s pretty much a given that you’re going to be taking a ton of photos on your Disney vacation, so why not make them interesting? I think that the parks are the perfect place to experiment with new photography techniques and styles because there’s so many different things to see and scenarios to capture. Within just a few hours, you can see people, animals, scenery, dark rides, a fireworks show, and more, which makes for an interesting challenge for photographers. Here are just a few helpful hints for capturing some Disney photos that make for great keepsakes.

1. Find an interesting angle. Not every picture has to be taken from your eye level. For an unusual shot, try getting close to the ground and shooting upwards or holding your camera above your head to snap a photo. You might get some funny looks, but sometimes the shot is worth it! Use natural surroundings like trees or bushes to frame your shot, or include interesting objects like balloons in the frame.

2. Get to know your camera. Whether you’re using a point-and-shoot, a DSLR, or just your cell phone, it’s important to know what features and capabilities your camera has. Figure out where you turn off the flash, how to set the exposure, change the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, and other necessary settings. Play around with the settings at home and practice taking pictures of your pets, kids, or stationary objects. At a last resort, read your camera’s manual, which is a bore but incredibly informative.

3. Always have your camera ready. Disney vacations are usually fast-paced and spontaneous. Something is always going on, and a moment can be over in the blink of an eye. You never know when something magical is going to happen, so it’s important to be ready to capture it. Make sure you know exactly where the power button is so you can turn it on quickly and snap away!

4. Don’t use flash on dark rides. This is one of my biggest Disney pet peeves. We all hear the warnings at the beginning of dark rides, but some people believe themselves to be exempt from the no-flash rule and decide to use it anyway. Flash photography can be distracting and takes away from the magic of dark rides. Believe me, nothing is worse than being stuck around someone who continually uses the flash on a dark ride. Once, someone in my boat on Pirates of the Caribbean even used the flashlight on their phone! Do everyone around you a favor; don’t be that person.

5. Capture the candid moments. Not every photo of your family has to be posed. Try to snap a shot of someone’s expression while on an attraction like the Astro Orbiter or while watching the nighttime fireworks. Get a picture of your child hugging their favorite character, eating their first Mickey bar, or waving to their favorite princess in the parade. Most of the time, these kinds of pictures tell a better story than “Say cheese!” shots, and they make for better memories.

6. Don’t forget to put the camera down. Although getting lots of good pictures is important, don’t forget to live in the moment. One of the best parts of a Disney vacation is spending quality time with your family, and you don’t want to miss out on that because your face is behind the viewfinder the whole time. Try to remember that it’s more important to have memories that go with each photograph than just have some neat shots with no sentimental meaning.

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