That shot in front of the castle.  The look of horror on Tower of Terror.  The excitement as you come out of the cave and get ready to plummet on Expedition Everest.  Disney and photographic moments have always be connected in a special way, starting with those family photos on Main Street and kicking into a new level with Memory Maker animations.  Disney has some of the most Instagrammed locations in the world and for good reason.  People want to capture the magic. Lucky for us, we have a professional at capturing the magic on our team.

Welcome to Believe Vacations’ Weekly Post where today, we will provide some pointers on how to capture the best photos with your camera phone.  Today, Brian has invited Kim Haig (East Coast-ish, FL) to share her secrets and tips to capture those special moments for the mantle and end tables.  The full interview is in the video above but highlights and answers to the more commonly asked questions are below:

When did you discover a love for photography?

On my honeymoon, we were at a Sandals in St. Lucia and I loved using my digital camera to take pictures of the pretty flowers. I messed around with modes that put things into focus and objects stand out.  I do have nice cameras but it’s not the best travel companion when I go to Disney.  I did take a short course so that I could learn some of the basic do’s and don’ts of photography but camera phones are much more convenient and have a come a long way.  It also helps that my daughter is still young and with a camera phone, I can put it in my pocket and grab her with both hands.

Before we go too far, is Memory Maker still worth it?

It is because with COVID, the cast members will not take your phone and take a photo of you.  If you want a family photo, you’re either trusting an untrained stranger or missing a family member.  The memory maker cast members are in the perfect spots for quality photos.  As annual passholders, we make a point to get photos as much as we can.  With the addition of the extra magical photos, they are cute and my daughter loves to see them.

Food Photography

I did this one for the Instagram photo!  It was a Rapunzel-themed éclair that I purchased and walked over to the Tangled section of Fantasyland for the shot.  I tried to highlight the items that look the most appetizing, but mostly, I’m taking photos of food that looks fun or is iconic like a Mickey Bar or Dole Whip.  My biggest hint to use Portrait Mode on your camera phone.  That is the feature I prefer when I want items in the foreground to stand out with a blurred background.

Architecture Photography

When taking photos, I highly discourage anything with the sun directly overhead.  Instead, look for the “golden hours” which is an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset.  Take multiple photos within that timeframe and you never know how the sky will work as a perfect backdrop for you.  I also advise you to work around your structure to see if you can get different angles with the light and backgrounds featuring different aspects.  Also, if you are a habitual Instagram poster, keep in mind anything you may want to crop.  Start now!  Take photos of items like your house or a tree and practice!

Attraction Photography

There were blurry shots for sure, but on Burst Mode, you can choose a pinpoint moment where time literally stands still.  Burst Mode is also your friend for jumping shots, moving children and attractions in action.   I love the candidness of this photo and prefer candid photos over posed photos.  Plus, it’s challenging to keep kids sitting still for a few moments.  I’ll let Memory Maker take care of the majority of my posed photos….

Fun Photography

…unless it’s something random like this!  This was my daughter’s first trip to Disney and now it’s an annual photo shot.  My husband said he’ll keep lifting her up as long as he can.  Along those lines, a smaller number of people allows for you to capture more of the iconic scenery that serves as the setting of your photo.  If you have a multi-generation trip or multiple members, you may not capture as much of the castle, attraction, etc.

COVID and Mask Photography

Wearing a mask at Disney.  It’s just going to be in the photo albums for these 2 years.  This is our fashion trend.  But you can match your mask with your outfits.  For photos with a mask, find more eccentric and fun backgrounds so that the first thought is “What a fun background!” rather than “Nice mask, Kim!”  Take photos during dining when those masks can be lowered and if you’re doing a character meal, have a mask free photo with the characters.  Just don’t break the rules to get your way.  We are very happy Disney is open and if there is a rule about masks, let’s all obey those rules.

How do I get started with my photography skills?

Just go outside, take lots of photos and play around.  It’s digital!  If it doesn’t turn out, delete and try it again.  You’re not wasting film anymore.  Embrace the lowlight reel where you have children running out of frame or not capturing something perfectly.  And for the love of Figment, TURN YOUR FLASH OFF!

Brian Pavlick

Brian Pavlick

Brian Pavlick is a husband and father residing in Maylene, AL. His love of Disney goes back to his early memories of watching the New Disney Channel on cable, occasional vacations to Orlando Florida and attending Disney Institute Management Training classes. He keeps up with Disney news and updates by reading numerous websites, experiencing attractions by watching YouTube videos and introducing his family to classic and timeless Disney movies, attractions and songs.