Disney World is really the most magical place that my entire family likes to soak up as much as we can.
I’m fortunate enough to live in Tampa, which is a short one hour drive to the Mouse House (as my dad used to call it). Being that it’s so close, we have annual passes and go there A LOT! I mean, wouldn’t you? I’m going to share some of my favorite photography tips that I’ve learned through my many trips to The Happiest Place on Earth!
1. Make breakfast reservations
This is my favorite tip!! Make breakfast reservations BEFORE the park opens. During our last trip, we had breakfast reservations at 8:20 and the park didn’t open to the public until 9. This means that we had the entire park to ourselves for a whole 40 minutes!
Okay, okay, so we didn’t have the entire park to ourselves because there were other people there for breakfast too, but it was significantly less packed than when it’s open to everyone. This is the perfect time to get those perfect shots without millions of people photobombing that magical walk down Main Street toward the castle. I have yet to try this at the other three parks, but don’t you worry, I will!
2. Take one lens
Being a mommy of three little ones, we always bring two strollers which can be nice for the storage underneath. However, we have to carry a cooler, a full backpack, and of course all of the souvenirs that our kids con us into buying. This leaves little room for anything else.
To save precious space, I’ve learned to only bring one lens with my camera. Which lens you ask? Well, that’s completely up you. I’ve tried bringing a different lens each time to get different perspectives. The 50mm is nice because it’s so light! The 24-70mm is also a good choice because it’s so versatile and my current favorite is a 15mm fisheye. I was able to get some really creative shots with it! Oh, and don’t forget to bring a big memory card to hold the hundreds of images you’ll end up snapping! A 32 gb would be perfect for that.
3. Be present
Don’t let your camera hold you back! I like to let my camera hang at my side so I can pick it up whenever I want rather than constantly have to go digging into the camera bag for it. This is perfect for snapping those special moments when they are actually happening rather than asking them to pause while I go stroller diving for my camera! I even wear my camera on the rides with my kids. Not only do you get great candid shots, but you also get to enjoy it with your kids.
4. Get in the shot
Yes, I am always the one behind my camera because I just don’t trust my hubby to get the perfect shot. I mean, if I want to be blurry and have a sharp background, he’s my go-to guy, but if I’m going for a more traditional picture, then it’s up to me to take it!
After our last vacation to the Florida Keys, I uploaded the photos I took and was so saddened because I was not in one. single. photo! This means when my kids look back at those vacation images, they won’t see me making those memories WITH them. So yes, definitely shoot pictures, but remember to get in the picture too even if the picture may not come out perfect. Note to self – teach hubby how to focus!
5. Give your camera to the Disney PhotoPass photographers
While you walk around the Disney parks, you’ll frequently run into Disney PhotoPass photographers. You’ll see them in certain picturesque spots and also when you meet the characters.
Not only will they use their own cameras to snap those special memories for you, but they totally don’t mind snapping those same memories with YOUR camera. There’s not a camera they haven’t seen or used, so don’t be afraid that they won’t know how to work it. This is a perfect way to save money because you won’t need to buy the photos from them, you’ll already have them on your own camera!
6. Look for interesting perspectives and angles
You can get overwhelmed at Disney because they have so many beautiful details all around you! Yes, we all want that shot of our family in front of the castle, but Disney has much more to offer than the cliche castle and Epcot ball pictures. Open your eyes to see all of the little details that Disney is so famous for.
Not everything needs to be posed! In my opinion, the candid shots are the absolute best. That smile when you buy them a ridiculously overpriced Mickey Mouse balloon, or the pure joy when Mickey waves to them at the parade is actually priceless, so be ready to shoot those special moments!
So there are my favorite tips I have learned along the way. Now, go plan your trip to Disney and have fun! I’d love to see some of your favorite images that you’ve taken on your Disney trip(s). Feel free to post them in the comments!