5 Tips on Shooting Disney After Dark
1. Let the lights of Disney light up your photos!
As the Parade of Lights passes by, that existing light will add beautiful character to your photos! Rather than relying on flash (which can kill the ambiance) – let those existing lights give life to your images! Spotlights, streetlights, parade lights, whatever light there is – use it to your advantage! Disney World and Disneyland both do a superb job at keeping things lit with gorgeous colors and lighting! Usually the character spots have great lighting that can create great photos with ease!
2. When there isn’t any light – don’t be afraid to use flash!
When you use the flash on your camera, it can create a flat image – so I highly recommend using an off camera flash if you are savvy with your camera & think that you can handle some extra gear. Personally, I try to travel with only the basics and light stand or tripod isn’t an option – but if I REALLY am wanting to get a cool image with lighting then I’ll take my flash and ask my dear husband to be a human light stand for me and hold it at a 45 degree angle from my subject.
If you’re planning on taking photos after dark then likely you and your family will have had a jam packed day of activities. Making sure everyone is still chipper & happy can be key for great nighttime photos. Getting kids to cooperate can be a challenge, but make sure they are well rested, that they have a belly full, and bribes can’t hurt! This goes for uncooperative dads, too! Let your family enjoy the atmosphere and capture those candid shots rather than saying “look at me” and “SMILE” every few minutes. You’ll wind up with genuine smiles and sheer happiness if you let the photos happen rather than prying it out of them.
4. Think about your camera settings.
Shooing at ISO 200 is probably ideal for midday photos – but if you want a great natural light nighttime shot, you will definitely want to push up that ISO. Most SLR cameras are capable of shooting with at least ISO 800 without much grain. Another setting to watch is your shutter speed. In order to capture the light, you may want to slow down the shutter speed – but remember – when you do this, it can create motion blur in your images. My suggestion is to keep the shutter speed above the focal length of the lens.
5. Don’t stress over getting the “perfect shot”
The memory is what matters most. So often in today’s world we get caught up in photos and forget to enjoy the moments with our family. Get a few shots when things are going good (like kids are in a good mood, your favorite character is around, or the parade is coming by – and then enjoy! Sure, we all want beautiful photos to remember great times, but some of my favorite childhood photos are completely compositional catastrophic, unbelievably blurry, or just plain silly – but they are still so dear to me!
And keep in mind – my absolute favorite time to take outdoor photos is just before sunset, but there are plenty of opportunities in Disney after dark you won’t want to miss, too! I hope you get some fantastic photos on your next trip to the happiest place on earth!!!