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Old 05-10-2010, 06:42 AM   #1
CynthiaY2
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Disney Vacation Photography and Tips

Well, first let me say that I am not a professional photographer. I have a love and passion for photography but have never taken any formal classes. Therefore, if I can take great pictures you can too. The first place I go to for inspiration is a Shutterfly community called Picture More which offers wonderful tips and trick in photography. I approach Disney photography in three stages. The first stage is preparation, the second stage is photo taking, and the third stage is finalization. Let me explain.

The first stage is prior to us even getting to the parks. I begin by getting my laptop ready for the trip. I create my file folder using a Disney Icon for easy identification and then begin creating all my subfolders. I create a subfolder for each park, each dining reservation, resort, and any special events that I might have booked to surprise my family. If you love to scrapbook like I do then you know organization is a Disney Must Do!

Now, as some of you might have noticed in my photos we all seem to be color coordinated. That’s because we are! It’s all about the pictures for me so to make them look as professional as possible we must coordinate. A few weeks, alright sometimes a month, in advance I grab my excel spread sheet with all my dining reservations, park hours, and special events and start aligning our colors for the day. I begin with a color and then start hunting through closet’s slowly aligning each of our outfits. Once I have each color laid out I then start looking at the parks we might visit that day. Animal Kingdom always seems to be our “brown” day and Hollywood Studio’s for some reason always seems to be our “black” day. On our last trip, while at Hollywood Studio’s, Citizen of Hollywood Jack Diamond stated we were the “salmon family.” It was our “salmon” day! As you can see we visited the Magic Kingdom as well and the result is a terrific family photo. It also makes it super easy while on vacation too. I simply grab a bag at night, lay everything out, and it’s a quick grab and go in the morning!! Trust me, my husband is patient with me as he would LOVE a T-shirt only trip.
Click image for layout credits.

The second stage is actually taking photos. Digital is the best invention ever made! It’s not uncommon for me to take over 5,000+ photos in a 10 day trip. Now you understand why I prepare my laptop ahead of time. I have an 8GB memory card to ensure I don’t miss a single photo opportunity. My philosophy is Snap! Snap! Snap! What you don’t like you can delete but the best photos are those not planned. A special moment with a character or sweet hug from Snow White might be missed if you’re not ready. Just keep swimming…oops I mean snapping. You can go back later and delete but I guarantee through the process you’ll get a few magical shots.

Some of the best ideas I have gotten for photo opportunities as well as scrapbook layouts were from the Shutterfly Gallery Community. I review every Shutterfly Disney Book created by other talented Disney fans for inspiration. As I review these great books I’ll make a note to myself when I see a photo opportunity that I want to try during our next trip. Traditionally, in my books, the first photo is of us in front of NEMO at EPCOT and the last page is at Magic Kingdom with our backs to the camera looking at Cinderella’s Castle from the top of the train station. I was inspired with these ideas through books I reviewed on Shutterfly. It’s now a family Must Do. You see, I’m already planning my Disney 10th Anniversary book by taking the same photos in the same location each trip. I want to see the difference in all of us from our first year to our tenth year. Therefore, the Tomorrowland landmark, Toontown sign (soon to go away), Cinderella’s Castle, The Aladdin sign, etc are all Disney Must Do’s! Trust me when I visit and they’ve moved my landmark or it’s being refurbished I start to hyper ventilate. My husband just laughs at me and then teases me the whole trip. “To bad your book won’t be complete since you can’t get your picture.”

Throughout the day I’m looking for photo opportunities. Now I will say that my husband is my biggest fan as it’s his challenge to make it impossible for me to scrapbook our entire trip in only 101 pages. I create a 12X12 Shutterfly book and in doing so I have a 101 page limit. He looks for opportunities to participate in any show, or demonstrations, and has even gotten the kids involved too. He knows that is 2 more pages I’ll have to include in our next book. My son even got involved during our last trip while in Italy and assisted Sergio during his performance. I was so proud of him and he was so excited to see the end result of his very own scrapbook page. Again, I was clicking away like crazy. The big smiles, the laughter, and magic in his face are priceless. Capture it!

Click images for layout credits

Another tip I learned was to have my children step away from the focal point. How many times have you stood right up against a sign, post, or landmark? For instance, we had dinner reservations at Tutto Italia, so I knew when I returned home I would scrapbook this page. In this example I had my children (my favorite subjects) stand far away from the restaurant but yet it was in the foreground. I used the Mickey to draw your attention to the fact that we ate at Tutto Italia. If I stood them right below the restaurant sign it would not be as interesting. As you can see I also take photos of our meals. My family knows before they can begin to eat mom has to get her photo.

Click Image for Layout Credits

In preparation for my scrapbook pages I try to think outside the box. I take photos of the walls, carpeting, blankets, signs, etc. Disney has some of the most amazing murals why not use them as your background. While on our recent Disney Cruise one of my favorite layouts is from the restaurant Lumiere’s. The background in this layout is an actual photo of the mural on the wall. The border on the bottom is the carpeting that I melded together in Photoshop Elements. One evening while the staff was setting up for dinner I slipped in and stood on a chair and took pictures of the floor. Don’t be shy this is your vacation! As you will also notice we were… color coordinated!

Click Image for Layout Credits

Well, speaking of taking pictures of signs. This layout won me a $5.00 gift certificate for winning the weekly Mousescrappers challenge. You just never know when you’ll need a good photo of a sign!
Click here for layout credits.

Here are three examples of my favorite photo’s from some of our trips. When we go I’m very much about taking photos of my family. They are there to have fun and it’s my job to capture every moment. I take photos on rides, while they chase ducks, or a quiet moment of rest. Believe it or not every morning I take a photo of my children sleeping. It’s the start of a new day and the only time I’m not getting onto them to stay off the ropes, curbs, or chains. I LOVE close ups and generally the closer the better which is why I love this photo of my daughter taken at Animal Kingdom. On our very first trip I took this priceless photo of my son with Mickey. This magical moment is amazing but you have to be snapping to capture it. What’s in my wallet? This photo by the castle is on my Capital One credit card as it’s one of my all time favorites.


I ran out of space so see the next entry.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:47 AM   #2
CynthiaY2
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Disney Vacation Photography and Tips Cont....

Have you ever heard of the Rule of Thirds. Located on Shutterfly’s Picture More Community Earl wrote a great and simple article about Don’t Always be the Center of Attention. Each time I take a photo I attempt to take it 3 to 4 different ways. You never know until you get home how you will use your photo. When you begin to scrapbook it might need to be a right side page but what if you only took the photo to the left or center. In a matter of seconds with a quick simple snap and move technique you have 4 terrific photos. I LOVE close ups so ZOOM in! Remember how I stated previously to move your family away from the background. You get two amazing effects by simply moving left and you have one side of United Kingdom move to the right and you have a whole different vantage point. Then sometimes you just have to get centered. It’s amazing how one location can create 4 very different perspectives. Besides you never know how your scrapbook page will materialize and you can’t ever recreate that moment again. Snap! Snap! Snap!



Now you have the third and final stage which I call finalization. This happens nightly, each evening while the kids are all snug in their beds with dreams of Mickey dancing in their heads, I fire up my laptop and download all my photo’s from that day and move them to the appropriate subfolder. This allows me to re-format my memory card and prepare for the next day of photos. This is a Disney Must Do because if I don’t download photos nightly I would certainly run out of room on my card.

On the road trip home my husband is gracious enough to do all the driving (he hates my driving..sound familiar to anyone) and I ride reviewing all the photo’s from the trip on my laptop. I delete those I don’t think I will need (very few), review each photo and then rename them as needed. Whatever system works easiest for you is great. I use this to locate my photos easily when I begin to scrapbook. I also use Photoshop Organizer to tag each photo but with 5,000+ pictures that takes time too. Once I have completed a subfolder to my satisfaction I then review each picture one more time and start writing down the ones I want to load to my Shutterfly share site and potentially use in my scrapbooking. As an example for my Magic Kingdom folder I create another folder called upload MK and copy just those photo’s to be uploaded. As you can see this takes time as each folder will eventually have an Upload folder. When I get home I use one of Shutterfly’s Photo Upload Tools and select one of my upload folders to begin the first upload of many. Once loaded I can then add them to my Shutterfly share site for my family and friends to see. I also use this folder to make it quick and easy to open those I’ve already identified as my favorites when I begin to scrapbook a new page in Photoshop Elements.

In all, if I can offer any advice it’s to snap, snap, snap! Take photos of the unplanned not just the planned poses, remember this is your family vacation and they are your most important subject, think outside the box and take photos of walls, floors, and signs and most importantly preserve those precious moments in photos and scrapbook memories.
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I link to MouseScrappers! Disney Vacation Club Member Thanks for the great photography tips Cynthia! I got Cinderella Castle for referring people to MouseScrappers! Mickey Pumpkin I got the Tree of Life for referring people to MouseScrappers! I got Maleficent as a dragon for referring people to MouseScrappers! Halloween 2010 - Limited Edition D23 Member I love DCL! Sorcerer\'s Hat Canada United States of America Star Tours Contemporary Resort 2 2011 Special Edition pin #7 2011 Special Edition pin #5 2011 Special Edition pin #2 Wish VoluntEAR - Castle Kermit 1 DCL Mickey Parts Big Eyes Goofy Minnie Cupcake Ive met another MouseScrapper

Last edited by CynthiaY2; 05-10-2010 at 12:43 PM.

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Old 05-10-2010, 06:50 AM   #3
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Cynthia,
Thank you for taking the time to share these great tips! I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who chooses wardrobe based on what will look good in pictures and go best with the backdrops of a particular location.

I haven't gotten my husband as completely onboard as you obviously have but I am working on it. I look forward to reading more tips in the future. Thanks again!
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:48 AM   #4
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Cynthia,

Thank you sooo much for taking the time to write such an in-depth article! Since good photos are paramount to scrapbooking, I think your information can be helpful to all our MouseScrapper friends. Your tips and examples are wonderful, and I will definitely keep your ideas suggestions in mind the next time I go to Disney!


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Old 05-10-2010, 12:21 PM   #5
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Cynthia, your tips are awesome! I just started getting into photography and I can't wait for our next trip to capture some really awesome moments!
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:05 PM   #6
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Great article! I do everything except color coordinating. We generally coordinate our clothes based on the park we're at. I think once my mom & I got the same shirt to wear on the same day, but we chickened out and didn't do that.

Yay, I'm not the only one taking thousands of pics a trip! ) I'm a *big* believe of taking as many pics as you can, since you'll never know what you'll want later. Sometimes I don't even know what I'm taking is really good until I check it out on the computer. I've really fallen behind of posting my pics, though!
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:09 PM   #7
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What a fantastic read thank you so much. You have inspired me for my next trip. My hubbie although a disney nut like me does not take kindly to being 'dressed' but I may be able to work on that (he knows how important scrapping is to me and supports my hobby) and my youngest DD is too flighty to pose for pictures I uaually have to catch her in the action! I am planning to buy a better camera for our next trip as I am getting fed up of having dark and gloomy indoor shots
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:50 PM   #8
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great article!

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that goes completely photo-crazy!
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:42 PM   #9
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Super article! I will definitely check out Shutterfly a little more in depth.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:29 PM   #10
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Just thought I'd say , I AM a proffesional photographer, and this was a fabulous read!! Even I get overwhelmed at disneyland, and You seem so calm and collected. I am going to print this and put it in our Disney world planner (3 years lol ha!! never too soon to start), Thank you so much for the time you put into this

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