Seven Useful Tips for Taking Incredible Pictures at Walt Disney World

7 tips for Walt Disney World photography

How to Make the Most of Your Walt Disney World Photography

Walt Disney World is an incredible destination for photographers of all kinds. With so much subject matter from which to choose, it’s worth taking a moment to ensure that you are capturing the best possible images at all times.

With that in mind, here are seven useful tips to help you take incredible pictures at Walt Disney World.

Dawn Over Bay Lake at Walt Disney World.

Dawn Over Bay Lake at Walt Disney World.

1. Get Up Early

Pictures from Walt Disney World that don’t have crowds of people in them are hard to come by. That is one of the main reasons that I love getting up early to take photos (admittedly, I am an early bird by nature). Getting up early means you’ll get impressive shots of your resort or a park with limited to no people in them. It allows the focus of the photo to remain solely on the subject at hand. There are some times when you want people (even crowds) to be in the photos, but for a unique perspective, get up early and get some shots with nobody in them. They’ll stand out from the overwhelming majority of Disney photos and you’ll be glad you went to the minimal extra effort.

2. Consider the Lighting (morning/afternoon)

Similar to point one, consider that photos taken in the early morning or late afternoon then to have the optimal (indirect) and most flattering light. This is especially true if you are taking portraits or photos with people in them. Some of my personal favorite Walt Disney World photos are those taken around dawn or dusk, so be sure to consider this and add a few of these into your repertoire of Disney photography.

3. Use a mini Tripod

Camera shake can ruin an otherwise perfect photo. Even though stabilization technology is getting very good in phones and cameras, there are times when you really want to be sure that you’re getting the most stable photo possible. So if you have the feeling that you are about to take that money shot and there is a risk of unwanted blur creeping in, bring along one those handy pocket-size mini tripods and avoid the risk of disappointment.

Cinderella Castle in the morning.

This shot of Cinderella Castle in the morning could have been improved if I had managed to snap it a couple of seconds earlier or later to avoid having the woman with the stroller in the image.

4. Consider the Crowds in the Photo (learn to glance at the actual people)

Most photos anywhere at Walt Disney World are going to have people in them. But you can work this to your advantage — or at least having it become less of a detriment. Take a moment to compose your shot and pay attention to any people in the frame. Then you can decide whether you need to shoot quickly…or perhaps wait 10 seconds for a family to pass through your line of sight. In other words, be conscious of what or who may be in your field of view and react accordingly to ensure that you get the shot that you actually want.

5. Don’t Be Shy About Asking Cast Members to do something for a pic

Cast Members can make for some amazing photos. While you can’t distract or otherwise occupy them too much, I have found that Disney Cast Members will be more than happy to help you out in getting the most magical shot possible — even when it involves them. So whether it’s the balloon person on Main Street U.S.A., or a Cast Member in costume outside of the Haunted Mansion, don’t be shy about asking if a Cast Member can step into a photo or pose with you or a family member if at all possible. Remember to always be polite and understanding if the desired photo is not possible, but it never hurts to ask and you just may end up with one of the most memorable and original photos from your entire trip.

Carvings on The Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park.

Don’t rush it. Keep an eye out for the details that surround you, such as these carvings on The Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

6. Don’t Rush It

Take two seconds to compose the shot and consider what’s in your viewfinder. Also, consider whether you need a horizontal and a vertical of the scene. You can always crop later, so take a wider angle as well. With digital it’s better to have a few more options from which to choose than wishing you had taken a different shot after you get home.

7. Don’t Overdo the Filters

Everyone has fallen in love with photo filters and technology and it’s easy to understand why. At the same time, you can go overboard with photos to the point that they do more harm than good to the image (we’ve all fallen victim to this at one time or another). You can always enhance or add filters and effects after the fact, but it they are part of the original photo file, there’s usually no turning back. So make a point of dialing back on the filters, or at the very least, taking another version of the shot without filters so that you can have your cake and eat it too.

Are You Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation?

Be sure to read my Guide to Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation and my post on the Five Golden Rules of Walt Disney World Vacation Planning.

Also, be sure to subscribe to the free Luxury Disney Travel Newsletter for the latest features on Disney travel and curated news from around the web.

Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist
The Finer Side of Travel
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