As I mentioned in my last post, we just got home from our third trip to Disney. It was amazing! I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with my big girls and the memories we made together. We are already planning our next trip so our entire family can enjoy the Disney magic.
The biggest difference between this trip and the other two was the fact that now I am a photographer. My 365 project has changed the way I look at things- what used to be a pretty bed of flowers is now a perfect photo op. and what used to be a gorgeous sunset or a cloudy day is now perfect light. I am so grateful for this perspective and love what it means for my photography, but it also completely changed the way I thought about Disney. From the beginning I knew that I wanted candid "lifestyle" pictures of the girls enjoying the grounds and parks, but wasn't putting a huge priority on family pictures because the whole crew wasn't there. I just wanted to document the fun!
Today I am going to share my top 5 tips for photographing Disney. I brought my Canon 6D and only used my Canon 50 mm 1.8. The 6D does not have a flash so all of my photos were natural light.
5 Tips for Photographing Disney
1. My biggest tip is to have your camera settings ready before it's time to take the picture. I deleted LOTS of pictures of other people from my camera, but when it came time to take pictures of my people, I was ready! Use the time waiting in lines to get your camera exactly how you want it.
2. Pick your favorite lens and go with it. I chose to bring my Canon 50 mm 1.8 with me for the day because it was more compact and not so heavy. I honestly wish I would have brought something with a zoom, but I did not regret bringing just one. At the end of the day, we were there to spend time with family so adding extra weight with more than one lens was not necessary. I do love my Tamron 28-75 mm and wish I would have had it with me instead, though.
3. If you read my last post, you already know this, but I believe it so much that I will say it again- get a fast pass for the Festival of Fantasy parade. As a mom it was fun. As a photographer, it was completely dreamy.
In 20 minutes, we made contact with every major Disney character, including blown kisses and direct eye contact from some of our favorites. No, we don't have their autographs or pictures together, but I do have some really awesome souvenir photos for my Disney obsessed children.
Once again, I used the marching bands that performed before the parade to set up my camera and shot so I was ready when the characters and floats headed our way.
4. Enjoy Disney even when you aren't in the parks! This was a complete budget trip and we knew all along that we would only do Magic Kingdom one day, so we wanted to be creative with our "extra" day. Did you know that the monorail actually goes over Epcot? This way you can experience Epcot without going in!
We actually rode the full circle, including the Epcot section twice, so we got the car to ourselves for a few minutes. It was a fun time to take pictures and get creative without lots of people in the picture.
We also ate at Chef Mickey at the Contemporary Resort. It was fabulous!. The food was okay, but the service and character experiences were excellent. We ate in the dining room overlooking Bay Lake, under the skylights of the Contemporary so the natural light photographer in me was thrilled! I was able to take so many pictures of the girls interacting with the characters without giving up the quality of my pictures. We met Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto so my girls were happy campers! Plus the monorail driving through the hotel made for such a fun atmosphere!
We stayed in a Little Mermaid room at the Art of Animation. The room was simple but had great decorations that made the girls happy- a picture of Eric and Max on the wall and an Ariel shower curtain, plus a few other things. The thing that really wowed us about Art of Animation though was the resort grounds. They had gigantic characters along the winding pathways and an A-MAZING pool with a splash pad. The colors were bright and there were plenty of safe places for me to take fun pictures of the girls without getting my camera wet. If you don't live in a "princess world," the Art of Animation also features both the Lion King and Finding Nemo so there is something for everyone!
5. Enjoy the time with your family. I take pictures of my girls all. the. time, so they are a bit camera weary. Because of this, I made a list of a few pictures I wanted to capture prior to the trip- walking into the castle, on Dumbo and the teacups, and both the parade and my girls watching the parade. Once I got my pictures, I put my camera away... I enjoyed AG's giggles on the teacups and watched the girls be in awe of their favorite characters during the parade. My list would have been different if our trip had been longer or if we would have had all three girls with us, but I thought this list was very conducive to our time there. I am already working on the list for our NEXT trip ;)
Their uh, lack of enthusiasm with my camera also challenged me to capture real excitement. EA has the cheese face down and I am not a fan. My list helped them not to be frustrated with me and my camera and challenged me to catch them enjoying the park rather than simply getting those posed, not-real smiles.
What about you? Does anyone have any tips for photographing Disney or for Disney in general? I'd love to hear what you have to share!