Photography at Disney can be one the highlights of your trip if you are a professional photographer, hobbyist or just want to create memories of your trip. With very open rules on photography at Disney World, you can really have some fun for the whole family. In this article, I will give you some tips to get some great photos on your next trip.

Tip #1 – Take Lots of Shots

Disney is a busy place. Between rides, eating, catching the shows, and everything else, it can be hard to remember to get out your camera and capture a few memories. Today, digital cameras allow you to take and store many photos. Don’t be shy, snap away. On a typical 3-4 hour trip to Disney I will snap several hundred photos, come home, and narrow them down.

Things happen fast at Disney, characters do look around and will even seem as if they are looking direct at your camera. Don’t wait to grab the shot. Take as many photos as you can and pick the best later.

Tip #2 – Take Family Photos

There are so many cool things to see at Disney and so many things to take pictures of. Remember, there are already tons of photos of just Cinderella’s Castle, but, there may not be any photos of your family standing in front of the Castle.

Around the parks, there are Nikon photo spots. You can find them on the park map and on the My Disney Experience App. These are great spots to take a photo of your family. Also, don’t forget to pull out your cellphone and grab a good selfie here and there. Our favorite selfies are taken once we are seated on a ride, before it gets moving.

Tip #3 – Ask For Cast Members To Take Your Photo

In our family, I am the family photographer. I carry my DSLR everywhere we go and take photos to remember our adventures. When we return from a trip, a pattern starts to arise, there are tons of photos of my wife, our son, and even others but never any of me!

Did you know you can ask any Cast Member to take a photo of you and they will grab the shot for you? Yes, if you see a Cast Member nearby, ask them to grab a photo of you with your camera or cell phone and they will get the shot for you, sometimes even help you to get several great shots. (Please note, if a Cast Member is working in a safety position, they may not be able to help take your photo. Please also be respectful and let them finish their job task if they are in the middle of something).

In addition to asking for a photo from a Cast Member, you can also ask a PhotoPass Photographer to take a picture of you with your own camera. These can be even more exciting since the PhotoPass Photographers are often setup at some of the best photo spots around Disney and they do know how frame a great shot!

Tip #4 – Get Candid Shots, Stop Directing!

Have some fun. Rather than directing every shot, grab some candids. I walk around with my camera always on me ready to grab that perfect photo of my family being cute, silly, or any other great moment. With so many characters coming out of nowhere, you want to be at the ready to grab that perfect shot.

Tip #5 – Take Shots Without People In Them

We would all love to just have Disney open up their parks for just our family and allow us to grab all the photos without anyone else in them, as well as ride some rides without any lines! Sadly, this is just not possible, unless you want to spend a small fortune for a private after-hours photo session. The good news is there are still many other ways to capture shots without a ton of people in them.

Many times it just takes some patience. Find a less busy area of the park, setup your shot and just wait till you can get a shot with a minimal amount of people. Remember, the more popular spots may be crowded, but, many scenery items can be viewed from multiple angles. Look for smaller paths and look for areas where no one is.

Another way to get Disney empty park photos is to arrive early and stay late. When the park first opens, known as rope drop, many will rush to their favorite ride to get in line. This is the perfect time to rush to certain areas and get an almost empty photo. Normally, during the first 1-2 hours, the park is less busy as many are still working their way to the parks from their resort. In addition to being early, staying late can also get you that perfect empty photo. As soon as the parks close, many guests rush to the exit to get home. Disney will not rush you out of the parks, and if you start at the back of the park, you can often find an empty sections of the park. These photos below were taken only 10 minutes after the park had closed.

Tip #6 – Take Photos In-Ride or At Shows

A more unique shot is taking photos while on a ride. These can give you a different perspective and give your kids some fun shots to remember the trip by. First, be sure to turn off your flash. Flash photography is not allowed on rides or in shows and will ruin the experience for others. Once you have taken care of your flash, you will want to make sure you hold on to your camera. Some rides move fast and you do not want to lose your camera. I like to make sure my DSLR is attached to me using a full body camera strap. This way, if it comes loose, it will not go anywhere but back into my own lap.

In-Ride photos and show photos are tricky. Most of these attractions are in the dark with low lighting. This means in order to get a crisp shot, you will need a fast lens. I will either use my 50mm 1.7/f lens or my 24mm-70mm 2.8/f lens. For the outdoor attractions, you can get away with any other lens at high shutter speed. The key to good ride photos is fast shutter speed, nothing lower than 1/125 sec for slower rides and 1/250 sec for faster rides.

Tip #7 – Don’t Forget The Resorts

Disney takes pride in their resorts. They are beautiful on the outside and inside. The amount of thought the imagineers put into the parks have also been put into the different resorts. While on your trip, don’t forget to take photos around your resort and other resorts on property. It does not matter if you are staying at a Disney Resort or off property, you can take Disney Transportation for free to any of the resorts and walk around to enjoy the beauty of them, especially at Christmas time!

Posted by Chris Edwards

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