In addition to being the “DisTripQueen” and my love of Disney Parks, I am also a portrait, landscape and fine art photographer! I began my journey into photography about 10 years ago, living on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. I currently exhibit and sell my photographs at a local art Gallery and through my website, if you’re interested in viewing my portfolio you can do so here.
As a photographer I am always looking for new and exciting things to photograph. Because of this, over the last few years I began capturing more and more images at my favorite vacation destinations, Disney Parks and on my vacations with Disney Cruise Line! (Above and beyond photographing my favorite family memories, of course.) Now, I have quite a collection of Disney images that continue to bring me joy long after I take the “tragical” express home from my trips. Many of my images I use here on the blog, however, I realize that a lot of people like to take amazing photos for social media, digital scrapbooks, or if they are budding photographers like me as well! So if any of that sounds like you, here are my 5 top tips to photographing Disney Parks!
1. Equipment: use whatever camera you are comfortable carrying, that is easily accessible and that will also enable you to join in on the family fun! For me, this is my iPhone! I usually photograph landscapes with my DSLR, a Canon 6D or my Canon 80D. However, the thought of carrying a high end camera would not make Disney the happiest place on earth for me. It is heavy depending on which lens I use, but mostly, I would worry about exposing it to the elements, or gasp, dropping it or losing it! Normally I don’t print the images I take at Disney very large, I only use them digitally, and a cell phone camera is perfect for that! However, if you are comfortable carrying a more professional camera, by all means do so. The cardinal rule of photography is: the best camera to use, is the one you have with you! Use what you’ve got!
2. Change your perspective or position: Many times if you are trying to photograph a popular location or landmark at Disney, instead of shooting it directly in front, try a different view. Photograph the side of Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom, or shoot from an out of the way alcove at Animal Kingdom to capture the Tree of Life. There are many ways to photograph the same thing, so switch it up! In doing so, you’re going to have a much better chance at achieving “people free” photos! And, you will come home with an image that us unique to you, and probably not something people have seen before!
3. Plan to arrive early, or stay late! Some of my favorite images are those I have captured right after “rope drop,” by booking an early breakfast Advanced Dining Reservation before the park opens, or staying for Extra Magic Hours in the evening until the last possible minute! (Disney is very forgiving when it comes to leaving the park at closing, many times you are able to meander slowly around taking images as the park empties out at night.)
4. Look beyond the famous Disney icons and landmarks! Some of my favorite Disney photographs came about from escaping the more popular locations in favor of more out of the way spots. One thing I love about visiting Walt Disney World resort is that there is so much more to see than the major attractions at the theme parks. Epcot Theme Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park for instance are my very favorite places to photograph. Now that my kids are older, I have extra time on my hands to really soak in the nooks and crannies of all that Disney has to offer. Resort hopping is also one of my favorite things to do! I never run out of things to photograph, each resort has their own theme and flavor, and it costs absolutely nothing at all!
5. Lastly, patience, patience, patience! You will notice in most of my shots that there are no people in them. Does that mean that Walt Disney World was empty that day? NO! This is Disney after all! It means I waited until there was a “parting of the seas” if you will. In most instances if you wait around a bit, you will find an opportunity to grab a shot with little to no people in it. Just be patient.
So there you have it, my 5 top tips for photographing Disney Parks! (Bonus- most of these tips also work for Disney Cruise Line as well! The only difference is, on excursions to different ports around the world, it may actually be worth it to upgrade your camera!) Let me know if you have any tips to share, I’d love to hear them! Thanks for following along on the blog, see ya real soon!