Magical Blogorail: Disney Photography Tips

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing tips to get great photos on your Disney vacation.


We all like to get our pictures taken with Disney characters! But with the long lines and the short time available for posing, it can be hard to get anything other than the standard stand-and-smile shot like the one above.

So today I’m here to help you one and all break out of the same-old same-old with tips on how to get great character photos:

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Photograph Characters on Their Own

This is perhaps one of the hardest things to achieve due to the popularity of the characters, especially with the youngsters, who tend to rush up almost before the last guest has cleared the posing area. But with patience and good timing, a great shot can be had!

The one above was taken just before the meet-and-greet officially opened, so Aladdin and Jasmine were waiting off to the side, away from the crowds.

    

The picture of Mary Poppins was achieved through the miracle of cropping. A little guest was rushing over to the Practically Perfect Nanny when I saw my opportunity. With just two feet remaining between this shot and the inevitable hug-filled greeting, I had room to isolate my subject in post-editing!

Donald was easier, as he was on the way down the ramp from the Aztec Temple in the Mexico Pavilion. He saw me lining up the shot and struck this pose. Thanks Donald!

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Photograph Characters Interacting

Photo Credit: The Mousekatools Mom

We all know Olaf loves hugs, so this shot really plays to his strength. With everyone in on the premise, we have a great , and heartwarming, moment captured forever!

    

Most face characters will take the time to speak and interact with each guest, especially if the guest is a cute little child! Both Alice and Mary Poppins took the time to engage these little girls. One with a conversation, and the other by putting the little one to work! Can you imagine how thrilling it would be to hold Mary Poppins’ umbrella?

These kinds of shots capture a moment in time that will never be repeated by your child, and not exactly by another child. This makes each shot priceless!

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Photograph Characters in Close-ups

If you just have to have the obligatory stand-and-smile shot, make it more interesting by cropping out the extra stuff that does not add to the finished product. Legs, for example, aren’t that interesting and so can be amputated in post-editing.

Another tip for making this kind of shot better is to, if possible, choose a neutral background. Nothing can wreck a great shot like an unintentional photo bomb from some other park guest who is unaware they are in the frame. Hence the weird facial expressions or nose-picking moments that are all too common among the background extras when taking a character shot!

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Photograph Characters Being Funny

Photo Credit: Home is Where the Mouse Is

Welcome to Alice in Funland as she introduces this guest to a new way of getting an autograph! As you can imagine, this was fun for the subject, and is much more interesting for those who will look at the picture later.

Photo Credit: My Pixie Dust Diary

This is a nice shot because it shows a bit of the personality behind the character. Chip is being silly as he helps his littlest poser obtain the same height as her brother. Mischievous. And priceless!

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Photograph You Being Funny with Characters

Photo Credit: Love Our Crazy Life

Doing something funny with a character is a great way to get a unique shot. Of course, if you want to try the pose above, you might want to bring your own apple. I’m just saying.

Don’t be afraid to really ham it up! Most costumed and face characters love it when they get a ‘live one’ to break up the shift.

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Utilize PhotoPass Add-ons

If you’re OK with spending some extra money to get the professional shots from the PhotoPass Photographers, be sure to check out all of the great add-ons and fun extras available to you.

For example, you can add borders:

You can add Disney characters, and pretend they are posing with you, or photo bombing you:

And don’t forget the ride photos. Because a ride is a character too!

And last but not least, be sure to ask your PhotoPass Photographer if they can add any special elements to your picture in post-production. Like this:

Photo Credit: My Pixie Dust Diary

I hope these tips have given you some ideas for your next photographic adventure at Disney!

For more Disney photography tips, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Disney Photography Tips Loop:

Photography and Disney Photo Pass Tips

… that you can find many interesting things just by looking up, down, or behind the obvious photographic opportunities? Today I’m going to share Four Tips that I used when visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2010:

DID YOU KNOW NO. 1

Little details are everywhere

Just after you enter the Park but before you start down the main street, you can find this survey marker (but I’m not going to tell you just where.) It’s obvious that it doesn’t mark the center of the Park, but must be used, or was used to map out the sections at one time or another. It’s a great little Hidden Mickey that most just step on or over on their way to the E-ticket attractions.

So keep your eyes open for what others may miss!

DID YOU KNOW NO. 2

Characters can be photographed on their own

If you’re patient and then very quick! Often I don’t want to wait in a long line to pose with a character but still want a picture of them. Sometimes there is a lull between guests, perhaps when a child is a bit shy, and must be coaxed to approach. Usually the Cast Member will stay on model and continue to act and move like the character even though there is no guest immediately in view to interact with.

Have your camera ready and capture that one-of-a-kind shot!

DID YOU KNOW NO. 3

Many attractions have a unique feature

I had visited this attraction, The Tower of Terror, many times before I noticed this fantastic (and eerie) smoke effect. At first it may simply appear as if the sprinklers have come on to water the foliage, but Disney wouldn’t do that and soak guests in line. Once again, it’s something that only patience and/or timing will allow you to capture.

DID YOU KNOW NO. 4

PhotoPass Photographers will shoot in any direction

I know! As a photographer, you like to be the one taking the pictures. But sometimes you want to be in the shot and so you avail yourself of the PhotoPass option. Most PhotoPass Photographers have their tripods set up to face a particular Disney backdrop. In the photo above, the PPP was actually facing the opposite way so that the Sorcerer’s Hat would be behind us. We hate that hat! So we asked the PPP to swing his tripod around and use the Crossroads booth for our backdrop. After a moment of silence (complete with stunned look) he complied.

This gave us a unique shot that perhaps no one else has, and gave the PPP a new story to tell. Win win.

So did you know these things?

What To Do FIRST at Walt Disney World

On our first trip to Walt Disney World, we wanted to do everything! So my wife and I booked 15 nights at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and we commenced visiting every attraction and show the Parks had to offer. We didn’t care what we did first because we were going to do it all!

But now that we are seasoned Guests, we tend to take things a little slower. A lot slower actually. We tend to look for the singular moments, the moments that we love to experience over and over again on each and every trip.

So let me share with you the first thing we do upon arrival and upon entering each and every Park:

ARRIVALS

Drive slowly. Yes, there’s nothing like seeing that big Walt Disney World sign as you approach in your vehicle! And being as you’re not supposed to stop to take pictures, driving slowly allows you to take a mental picture instead. The same thing applies when pulling into your Resort. Don’t rush things, just relax and soak it all in!

THE MAGIC KINGDOM

This is a no-brainer! We always board the Walt Disney World Railroad for a trip around the Magic Kingdom. This helps us to get in the Disney mood and see everything all at once. We always do the complete circuit, boarding and disembarking at the Main Street Station. No matter what you choose to do from there, you’re covered in Pixie Dust and flying high!

EPCOT

Well, it’s right there in front of you, so you can’t really miss it. And you shouldn’t! Spaceship Earth is one of Disney’s most magical icons and should be a part of any day at EPCOT. We ride it first for many reasons. It’s an awesome experience. It’s a long attraction, so gives the most bang for your waiting time. And the interactive elements, during and after the ride, are not to be missed. I think it gives a good all around preview of what you can expect from the rest of the attractions in EPCOT.

But don’t forget to visit World Showcase!

DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

We don’t run to an attraction in this Park. But instead we take a leisurely walk through the streets and shops of vintage Hollywood. Almost always we run into some Streetmosphere characters and have a lot of fun. Some complain that DHS is short on thrill rides and attractions in comparison with the other Parks, but I think that was the point in its design. You are supposed to soak up the atmosphere, and that’s just what we do first!

DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM

 

Again we head to the icon of the Park. We walk straight to the Tree Of Life and dally in the queue area. It’s not for nothing that this is one of the longest queue lines in the Parks. You walk past and under the roots of this magnificent piece of art and architecture, and if you’re like me, you take hundreds of photographs! Have you spotted each and every creature yet? Probably not, so we go there first and try to find another one. And the It’s Tough To Be A Bug show at the end is a magical bonus!

Now, what do we do next? That varies each and every trip! But what do YOU do first?

Every picture in this post is from the WDW PhotoPass CD