Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 10: Don't Forget You {10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips}

It's the last day of 10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips. Today's tip is one I personally struggle with during every vacation - don't forget to be in the photos. You want to look back on the photos and remember that you were there too :) There are a few ways to do this. One is the ever popular selfie. I personally love to mix in a few. There is something fun about trying to get everyone in the frame and that alone will produce some natural smiles. The above photo was taken during our muster drill on the Fantasy. We all look extremely happy for a good reason! Here's another personal favorite. Totally didn't know Amanda was photobombing our selfie but love that my camera focused on her! 
Another way to be in the photo is to use a mirror, or in this case a very reflective window! 
Sometimes you just have to let go of the camera and have someone take the photo for you. Even PhotoPass photographers will use your camera or phone to take a photo so don't be afraid to ask! If you are a more advanced photographer and are using manual settings be sure and have your camera set up and ready to go when you hand it off to someone. 
Finally, don't forget about PhotoPass photographers. As the person who is always behind the camera I am a huge supporter of PhotoPass. My husband finds me annoying for wanting to stop at so many PhotoPass photographers but we have so few photos of the two of us and I want a lot of options! 
Here are some of my favorite PhotoPass photos. 

That ends my 10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips! I hope you had fun and some of these tips will be helpful for you on your next Disney vacation. If you missed the rest of the series follow the links below. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 9: Tell a Story {10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips}

Today's post is fairly simple - tell a story with your photos. This goes hand in hand with photographing the details. Take photos of that delicious Disney snack or the Space Mountain sign before you ride. 
Taking a photo of your hotel room. If you want to really tell a story take a photo before any of your stuff is unpacked and then take a photo once all of your things have exploded all over the room. I know I'm not the only one ;) 
 If you happen to be serenaded by the Mayor of Main Street, take a photo!! 
When you give your kid a lollipop and he eats half of it in 5 minutes definitely take a photo of that. I mean, that's impressive! 
Capturing both your dessert and the Irish dancers tells the story of your lunch at Raglan Road perfectly! 
If your friend is stung by a bee (for the first time ever!) and you have to go to First Aid most definitely take a picture. 
I feel like most of my trips have at least one set of photos of all of us trying on some funny Disney hat. 
When taking a photo of the view from your hotel room, get your husband in it. This adds a story element to the picture. 
If you are at EPCOT during the Flower and Garden Festival, take a photo of one of the signs. See how I'm using my background AND following the rules of thirds? It all ties together!
A combo of a photo of your kid driving and the track of Autopia creates a story. He's doing a great job of not bumping into the car in front of him! 
As a Disney foodie I take a ton of photos of food. Seriously, a ton. My travel buddies know that once we get our food no one can touch their food until I take a photo. Taking photos of food is part of the story for us as eating at Disney is one of our favorite parts of the trip. 
A photo of your last menu on your Disney cruise is a great way to end your vacation story. 

It's pretty easy to tie everything together and it's so nice to have your photos to look back on after you get home. It can make it easier to remember some of the details of your vacation :) 

Tomorrow is our last day! I will be talking about something I have a very hard time doing - making sure you as the photographer are in the photos. If you missed the rest of the series follow the links below. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 8: Ride Photos {10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips}

In today's 10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips let's talk about ride photos. Specifically, dark ride photos. I have one very big tip here. Get a pen and some paper. This is very important. Are you ready? Do. Not. Use. Flash. You know when you are getting on the ride and they tell you no flash photography? Listen to them. They say that for a number of reasons but if there is one reason to listen it is to be kind to your fellow riders. Those flashes in a dark ride are so annoying. We once had a couple in front of us on the Pirates of the Caribbean taking selfies every 20 seconds. I was seeing spots for an hour after the ride. Another reason to not use flash - it doesn't help your photos! It washes out the photo and the result won't look like the actual ride. 
Remember yesterday's tip about night photography? So much of that applies to dark ride photos. Up your ISO and lower your aperture. To be honest, if your camera can't do those things and you need to use flash to take a photo in the dark just sit back and relax and enjoy the ride. Your photos won't come out the way you want them to anyway. 
One thing I like to do is capture the cars and people on the ride. Like this photo of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. It captures what the ride is about a little more than just taking a photo of what you are shooting with your laser. The photo below shows Roz picking on the cab passengers as they ride by. She always picks on me for taking a photo of her!
 All of these tips also apply to shows like Festival of the Lion King. 
That's it for today. Moral of the story - turn of your flash!! Tomorrow I will be talking about how to tell a story with your vacation photos. To catch up on the series follow the links below. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day 7: Night Photos {10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips}

There is nothing better than a Disney park at night! Taking photos of the park at night can be tricky though. Often it requires a tripod or a camera and lens that can handle low light photography. A tripod works for any camera you have. Amazon has some great lightweight tripods if you ever want to go that route. Let's be practical though - you probably don't want to bring a tripod around with you all day at the park. So let's talk about what kind of lens you should look for if you have a DSLR. This is me going off on a bit of a tangent but buying the right lens makes such a huge difference with all photography. I am a Canon gal so these will be canon lenses, but there are Nikon equivalents. 

My favorite lens is always a 50mm. Canon has a very affordable starter option - 50mm 1.8. It is $125 on Amazon and will do amazing with low light. It is great for portraits and details creating a great bokeh (you know, that beautiful blurry background). 
If you are using an entry level DSLR like the Canon rebel with a crop sensor you might find the 50mm to be too tight of a crop for a lot of indoor situations. Another great option is the Tamron 28 - 75mm 2.8. Since this one has a range of focal lengths offering great flexibility for taking around the parks all day. It is a little more expensive than the 50mm but again, much more flexible. 
Ok, now that we have talked about lenses let's talk about using them to take photos at night. There are two things you need to do to take photos in low light (this will apply to tomorrow's post too when I talk about taking photos on rides!). One is raise your ISO. On a rebel I wouldn't go past 800 ISO if at all possible as the higher your ISO, the more grain you will get in your photo. Second you want to lower your aperture. I always recommend shooting in Aperture Priority mode if you have a DSLR. To learn a little bit about aperture and shooting in aperture priority mode (so this post doesn't become a novel) here is a WikiHow post.  Aperture priority mode is great because you choose the aperture and the camera will choose the shutter speed that will properly expose your image. A simple way to remember it is you want your aperture (or f stop) number to be low when working with low light. You do have to be careful as it will lower your depth of field as well so be careful when focusing. 

Let's get to some photos! 
Fireworks photos are almost always better with a tripod but I have gotten some pretty great results without one. Here are some more of my favorite night shots. 
At night there are some pretty great reflections going on in the waterways around the parks. Very fun to photograph! 

That's it for today. Tomorrow I will continue with low light photography and talk about taking ride photos. To catch up on the rest of the series follow the links below. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day 6: Light {10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips}

Day 6 of 10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips is all about light. I love using light in my photos to add an extra flare (pun intended). My favorite time of day to take photos is sunset. There is nothing better than golden light!! Like the photo above. That beautiful Florida sun was starting to set. Shooting with the sun in the background of the photo brings out those beautiful sunset orange colors. Be careful to expose your image so your subject is not a silhouette if that is not what you are going for. Though that is another great way to use light! When using a camera phone or a point and shoot camera try adjusting where your image is focusing to expose for different areas of your photo. There should be a little box or an x that you can move around. Every camera is different so dig into your settings and see if your focus point is adjustable!
You can play around with different exposure levels, especially at sunset. The first photo the image is exposed for the subject making the background very bright. The second photo the image is exposed for the sky creating a silhouette. You can also go somewhere in between like these images!
Using the sun to add flare to the photo can be done in the middle of the day too. Shooting into the sun will create a flare on the image just adding a little more interest. Now, not every photo needs it and some people don't like sun flares. I just happen to love them. 
One last thing about light. Whenever possible, when you are taking photos of your fellow travelers put them in the shade. It sounds counter intuitive to avoid the sun but if they are in direct sunlight you will get a lot of harsh shadows. The even light from shade is what you want! You can also put the sun at their back if it is early in the day or late in the day and sneak a sun flare in there ;) 
This photo was taken very early in the morning (hence the faces) so there was beautiful even light. 

Tomorrow we are going to talk about the complete opposite subject - night photography! If you missed the earlier posts from this series follow the links below:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 5: Characters {10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips}

It's Day 5 of 10 Days of Disney Vacation Photography Tips. We are at the half-way point and today I will be talking about taking photos of characters. My biggest tip here is to interact with the characters and take candid photos. When you bring out the character in a character the photo is that much better! If you see Chip and Dale walking by the pool on your Disney Cruise ship, start taking photos. You might get to play a little peek-a-boo with them :) 

Another tip - if you get the chance to have a dance party with the Country Bears or Goofy, do it! Just make sure you hand the camera off to someone to capture that perfect Disney moment. 
Always be on the look out when you are walking around the parks. You never know who you will see and get a wave from. 
When you are dining with the characters don't just take the posed photo with each character. Take photos of your kids interacting with them. Those are the priceless moments you want to capture!  
That's it for today! Pretty easy right? Just always be ready to capture that priceless moment with a character. Tomorrow I will be talking about light! If you missed the other posts from this series follow the links below: