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A Few Tips for Great Disney Vacation Photos

Your next vacation to Walt Disney World is coming up and you're excited to capture some great memories. Here are a few tips that may help.

Get a different perspective

The average guest to Walt Disney World takes pictures from the perspective that they experience the parks. That being, standing or walking around the main thoroughfares. Facebook and the internet are flooded with those pictures. A fresh new look could be achieved by simply changing the perspective of the shot.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Get down low, or move to a higher location. Anything except walking down Main Street taking a picture of Cinderella Castle at eye level. This can also give you the advantage of capturing additional detail and beauty that fills the parks

In some cases, that perspective doesn't have to be much. It could be as simple as leaning just a bit over a rail or moving just a few feet off the main thoroughfares.

Pay attention to the little things

If there is one thing that Disney Imagineers are famous for is their attention to detail. A Disney vacation can be hectic, but it doesn't have to be. Take time to slow down and get immersed into all the detailed touches the Imagineers have built into every aspect of the parks.

That detail can be anything from the figurines that circle the Hub, or an architectural element that compliments the theming for a particular area.

Have you ever noticed Steamboat Willie next to Ariel's Grotto?
Have you ever wondered why you can't see Cinderella's face when you walk up to this fountain? From the perspective of a child, they can see her smiling face. Also, from that perspective, her crown sits perfectly on her head.

Get off the beaten path

While the main areas of the parks are well traveled, there are many areas that guest seldom visit. Most of these areas provide fun and unique photo opportunities.

Capture the moment

Posing for icon shots are a must, but also try to capture fleeting moments. A Disney vacation is about experience and creating memories. When you look back at all your pictures later, you are more likely to remember what you were feeling in these moments rather than what you were feeling taking the icon shot - which is probably "I wish my parents didn't make us take so many pictures" or "I wish my kids would stop complaining about taking icon shots".

Setup the location

You can't go to Disney and not take pictures of the amazing food or some detail inside a building or attraction. But your friends may wonder where you got those delicious dumplings or bento box or that cute ornament so they too can indulge the next time they visit.

The dumplings at Yak & Yeti were delicious

Tokyo Dining

Tokyo Dining is our go to place every New Year's day.

The bento box
Tempura Shrimp

Be part of the memories

Being the one carrying the camera, you tend to be the "designated photographer". One great tip is to use Disney's Photopass Service so you can be in the pictures. But even without photopass, make sure to get in the photos as well.

The Backstage Magic Tour

You can also combine some of these tips like the pictures above where we established the scene of the picture inside the building being part of a guided tour.

What about gear?

A lot of people ask me what type of Canon or Nikon DSLR camera they should buy to take better pictures when they go on vacation. That's like saying if you buy a better stove, you'd be a better chef. This article was not about general photo composition. However, an understanding of basic composition will go a long way in maximizing the tips in this article. If you look back, you see lots of basics like rule of thirds, fill the frame, leading lines, patterns, etc.

Would it surprise you to know that all the pictures in this article were taken with an iPhone 7 Plus?

If you do decide to get a "nicer camera" here are some things to think about. Match your current and estimated future skillset to the camera you buy. What I mean by that is, if you really don't intend to spend the time to learn about composition, exposure, and what your super new camera can do, but instead intend to keep it on auto and click away, then think about whether you really need to spend a lot of money for a DSLR or not. If you are convinced you want one, but the above criteria still fits, that's OK too. I would then stick to the entry level models. Also, if you need to decide on getting the DSLR camera with one or two "kit lenses", start with the single kit lens which is usually a 16-55mm lens. For Disney photography, the 16-55mm kit lens is a great all-round zoom that would cover most situations.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney

Created By
Stuart Chang
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© Stuart Chang

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