6 Tips to get Magical Pictures at Disneyland
My family and I have annual passes. I don’t normally take my “big” camera, but this was a particularly special occasion, my youngest’s birthday! Naturally, I wanted to get photos for the scrapbook! 😉
It can be intimidating and cause a small amount of anxiety (if you are anything like me). I hope these small tips will help alleviate some of that anxiety!
1- Ask a Stranger! Never underestimate the kindness of strangers! Most are very happy to accommodate you for a family photo! Thank you so much to the sweet young woman who offered to take this so I could join my tribe for this shot! Usually this is offered so that you will return the favor and allow for a family/group photo of their own!
2- MAMA get in the Shot! At certain “landmark” areas in the park, you’ll find an official Disneyland photographer. They will happily take a photo of you and your family with your own camera as well! I think this may be my very first family photo in front of the floral Mickey!
3- Kids and Characters! If your children want photos with characters, the best place to find them is Toon Town! Hop on the train! You’ll be sure to do plenty of walking so save your feet when you can! Toon Town is so colorful and whimsical as you’d expect! There are a lot of great spots and “props” for kids to play on and grab your photos!
The characters have “ambassadors” to assist them throughout the park. We saw that Goofy was out having a visit with his guests, but walked away just before it was our turn. His ambassador had Goofy’s schedule, as well as the other characters, with her and assured us that he’d return very quickly. When Goofy returned, I actually asked if he could face and pose in a different spot than he was originally standing in. The light was better in another area and they were very happy to accommodate me.
Other guests are very good about waiting until you’ve gotten your shots so that they don’t photobomb you!
There are some character lines that are longer than others and the lines will go through their homes! The furniture and items inside the home are playful and provide other photo opportunities that you may not have thought of before. When I saw my birthday boy in Minnie’s vanity, I had to grab this sweet intimate shot, but what you don’t know is that also reflected were a large group of people wearing matching shirts. I used a soft black brush to fill in the mirror in photoshop, nothing really fancy.
4- Action Shots on the Rides! Most rides are too difficult to get shots when riding, but King Arthur’s Carousel isn’t one of those rides! Just be sure you brace yourself in between the horses and stand with your feet wider for more support. If you are shooting in manual, just be sure to watch your shutter speed and adjust depending on the ride. On the carousel I was moving with my subject and used a shutter speed of 1/400. Of course, he was not interested in having his photo taken! Ugh! C’est la vie! (At least for a photographer’s kid, right?)
5- Find the Right Light! It’s really difficult to get shots in the harsh sun around the park and it’s not always possible to wait to get a shot during the “golden hour” (an hour before the sunsets), but shade is your friend! You want to make sure you find a spot where the light is even across your subject and not dappled (spotted). Look for side paths without heavy traffic. You’d be surprised how many you can find! I passed by one mother near Snow White’s wishing well taking photos of her boys on a side path to Cinderella’s castle dressed as a knight and a dragon! Super cute!
6 Make Good Use of your Time! Another great tool to use for your day at the park, a FREE app called Mouse Wait! It gives you a pretty accurate wait time for rides. (linked for your convenience) It also has menus for most of the eateries around Disneyland! Hungry/grumpy kids are never fun to photograph! It’s saved my bacon a number of times!
I hope these tips will help you document your own magic at Disneyland!