Hey howdy hey, it’s Friday again! And since the ladies have done such a wonderful job of posting on the best rides for your families this week, I’d like to take a moment to chat about how you can turn those amazing rides and experiences into lasting treasured memories. That IS what we’re all about here after all.
1. Know your own equipment.
So, right about now, you’re rolling your eyes because I started with this one and thinking that I’m going to blab on about how you should be reading your manual and learning about f/stops, iso’s, and shutter speeds. And while all of that is true if you want the very best photos you can get, I’m bringing this up more because it’s about knowing the limits of your equipment. In 2012, we traveled to WDW with the intentions of visiting the water parks as well as the big four. So to prepare, I purchased a lifeproof case for my iPhone 4s and was able to capture videos and photos without worrying about dropping my phone in the water. I was able able to capture Boo’s very first experience on a water ride and can now watch it over and again because I did one long video. Now, I’m not saying this to make everyone go buy this case. I’m saying it simply because when you know what type of photos you want to capture while there, it’s easy to plan and make it happen. Did you know you can rent camera gear once you get to Orlando?
Another thing that you should know is which camera to pull out at any given time. I’m a firm believer that the best camera is the one that’s closest, especially when trying to capture photos of little ones at WDW. Oftentimes, our most magical moments happened unexpectedly and I always used my iPhone because it was so easy to just pull it out of my pocket and start shooting. Well, why don’t you just walk around with your camera around your neck all day? Good question! And a lot of the time I did have my Canon near, but that didn’t mean that I had my setting corrects and ready to go. Truth be told, if you’re going to leave your fancy dslr on “auto” the whole time, then just don’t bother. Not to be rude (and I’m sure some of you are fuming while reading this because it means extra work to learn said cameras), but it’s not worth it in the end. Your auto features on your smartphone are well capable to capture the moment and as an added bonus, they’re already connected to the internet, so you can share instantly! If you’re not going to spend the time to learn how to use your dslr using at least aperture or shutter priority modes, then why would you waste more time to pull out that big camera when your smartphone can do the same thing?! Furthermore, (and not to sound know-it-all) but even though I know how to shoot with my dslr, that doesn’t mean that I FEEL like getting it out and setting everything exactly right just to snap a photo of something I want to remember.
I snapped this photo of Belle riding my shoulders as we were leaving the MK one night. We had separated from our group and I didn’t have anyone to take the photo even though I had my canon with me. Using the (let’s be honest, awful) forward-facing camera, I was still able to snap the perfect photo of us with the castle lit. Is it the most technically perfect photo ever? Nope. Do I still love it? Most definitely. I knew that I was exhausted and couldn’t take her on my shoulders much longer and the best camera for me, was my handy little phone. It’s a great shot of a night I won’t ever forget. I’m going to end this one by saying that you don’t need to get caught up in the technicalities of photography if you want to have an enjoyable vacation. Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t use the big camera for that shot, just be glad you got the shot at all. 🙂
2. Be aware of everything in your photo!
Don’t just snap a photo of you or your kids close-up on rides because you may get home and not even be able to remember where you were. Instead, be mindful of what attraction you’re experiencing and be sure to include it in your photo with your child or family member. In other words, don’t crop it out!!!
Case in point, this collage sure is cute of my Boo’s transformation into a mermaid at the Pirates League. They’re good enough photos and my close-up detail shot is pretty good. BUT, my favorite from that experience is the photo below because not only has it captured Boo’s adorable expression, but it also showcases the mirrors and atmosphere of that tiny yet authentic-looking space.
Another great example is from the Pixar pals parade at Hollywood studios. I got loads of photos of the characters as they passed by as well as plenty of the girls waving, however my favorite shows both! Get behind your kids to capture both them AND whatever it is they’re experiencing. You’ll be so happy you did! This photo of Boo where Woody is clearly waving directly to her still makes me super happy and it’ll mean more because years from now, we’ll still be able to understand what she was doing.
And here’s another one that I’ll always cherish. My sweet family, including my grandmother and my daughter, cuddled watching illuminations together. I love that they’re silhouetted against the fireworks and we have a photo of them experiencing the fireworks, rather than just another fireworks photo to add to my collection.
3. Take photos that mean something to you.
In other words, think about why you’re taking a photo there. I like to take photos of the girls in front of the attraction entrances for rides that they’re excited to ride. Boo LOVED Journey into Imagination when she was 4 and when we returned the next time, I had to get her photo outside. I made sure to include the attraction itself too! When you take these types of photos, be sure to squat down and take the photo on their level.You can instantly turn a boring snapshot into a fantastic photo just by putting the camera eye-level with your kiddo.
4. Capture the scale of things.
This photo of Boo wouldn’t be nearly as amazing if I hadn’t included the entire play-doh canister too. It just wouldn’t. Your kids are not going to be small for very long and you only have so many chances to capture their size while at WDW. So, be sure to exaggerate that a bit and really play-up their size! And that’s actually pretty easy to do at WDW because everything’s so grandiose that there’s always a great photo op.
5. Shoot Videos!!!!!
This one I’ve mentioned before and really can’t stress enough. If you’re already paying for Memory Maker, then you’ve got someone YOU’RE PAYING to take photographs for you at stops like in front of the major landmarks as well as character meet-n-greets. If you let them do their job, then you free yourself up to shoot a video of them meeting their favorite character and that means that you capture their actual interaction with that character AND (through memory maker) you have a portrait of that moment as well! We loved meeting Ariel in her grotto and I got the best of both worlds. I was able to capture our fun interaction with her as well as frame that beautiful shot of my baby mermaid with THE little mermaid <3
And that wraps up part 1 of this post, be sure to check back next week for part 2! Also, please feel free to share you own photos with us over on our fb fanpage or within our secret fb group! (Just pm us and we’ll add you too!) Until next time, always remember that there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day!! ~M °o°