If you visit Walt Disney World and don’t take a picture of a family member standing in front of something, you are definitely in the minority. I could probably make a case that you’re downright strange! But I won’t.
Instead, I’ll just get right into some photo-op tips, using Disney’s Hollywood Studios as a backdrop:
This is a small booth that is largely overlooked in the Park. But it’s meant to invoke the feeling of entering a real Hollywood studio sometime in the 1930’s or 40’s. Everyone would have to drive up to this guard arm and state their business to a guard, who would then decide if you could enter or not. This picture recreates such a moment by inserting Karen into the story, although Karen is walking up instead of driving.
Don’t be afraid to find unusual locations or props, and then use them in an interesting way. Have fun with it! This prop was just a flat cut-out near the Monsters Inc. meet-and-greet. But Karen jumped up onto the raised lawn and tried to out-snear the great Roz herself. While this kind of shot will never win a photography competition, it will make friends and family laugh, which is sometimes all you really need to achieve.
This is related to cropping but takes place before you take the shot. There were so many interesting props in this play area, but I didn’t want to simply take a picture of Karen in front of a giant can or bug. In this shot, you can’t really tell what the props are because we are too close to them, but they form interesting visual references. I liked this shot because there are actually three visual cues: Direction; Color; Texture, each contributing to a unique frame for my subject.
OK, sometimes you just want a shot of your subject standing in front of something to prove you were there. But that doesn’t mean it has to be visually boring! Symmetry is something that people will appreciate without really knowing why. If something is even, level, and balanced, a person will perceive it as pleasing. So in this shot, I made sure the object was centered up and down and side to side in the frame. Karen provides the balance by standing under the scroll work opposite the text. So there are two elements that demand a viewer’s attention: Karen, and the text ‘Where Dreams Come True.’ The scroll work also draws your attention to Karen by wrapping over her. I also tried to balance the shot by having the same amount of blue across the top as there were flowers across the bottom. A bit more subtle, but effective.
I took this shot from with a wider angle that showed more of the surrounding details, but I cropped it down to create this tighter frame because it better captures the action and makes for a more dramatic image. Sometimes editing out unnecessary space from the background can make a standard shot great!
Photography is something we all do when visiting a Disney location. These tips are intended for those who have attended often and are now looking for ways to add fun and greater viewability to the hundreds of shots they are bound to take. So the next time you raise your camera, think about story, fun, framing, and symmetry before you click! And if that fails to yield a great shot: Crop!