Tips from a Disneyland Resort Photographer

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Whether you are a social media shutterbug, crafty scrapbooker or the photog of the family, no Disney vacation is complete without plenty of pictures documenting your adventures! To help make the most of your theme park snapping, we’ve asked our talented Disneyland Chief Photographer Paul Hiffmeyer to dish out his best tips for capturing magical moments at the Disneyland Resort. Consider these helpful hints next time you are making memories in the parks:


New View of Sleeping Beauty Castle

  • When you’re photographing people, bring them closer to the camera. For instance, positioning them on the walkway of Sleeping Beauty Castle automatically brings them closer to you.
  • Try shooting Sleeping Beauty Castle from a different angle, such as to the right or left of the forecourt walkway.
  • Since Sleeping Beauty Castle is centrally located, come back at different times of the day to test different lighting conditions.

Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Capturing the Beauty of Cars Land

  • The best place to capture the scenery of the mountain range at Radiator Springs Racers is on the pathway next to Flo’s V8 Café, heading toward the arch by Pacific Wharf.
  • For a new perspective of Route 66, try shooting from the steps of the Blue Sky Cellar.


Ideal Lighting in the Parks

  • Try to avoid taking photos of people when the sun is straight above you, as it casts shadows on their faces. This is a better time to take photos of the attractions and icons.
  • If it is very bright outside, use the HDR setting on your phone’s camera to enhance the exposure.

Mickey’s Fun Wheel in Disney California Adventure. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disney)

Some of Paul’s Favorite Shots

  • Paul’s favorite group photo location is at the steps of Paradise Park (“World of Color” viewing area) with Mickey’s Fun Wheel in the background.
  • He says that Cars Land makes a great photo subject any time of the day – especially at night because of how many interesting things there are to photograph, such as the vibrant neon lights and orange glow of the mountains.

Memorable Disney Character Interactions

  • Be sure to capture the interactions between a child and the Disney Character before taking the posed photo. That is where you will find the most genuine smiles and reactions.
  • Get the entire family in the photo! Disney’s PhotoPass Photographers are more than happy to help take pictures so mom and dad can meet the characters too.

You can look to the Disney Parks Blog photography tag to inspire your next great shot. Our official Disneyland Resort Instagram account features fantastic photos that guests have taken all around the resort. Be sure to tag your photos with #disneyland when you share them.

Happy snapping!

What tips do you have for taking photos at Disney Parks?


  • Awesome tips! I always find the best advice here! I love using the water around the parks to capture reflection shots, too, always makes for such an interesting photo.

  • Start looking down and the photographer counts up to three. Look up an smile at “three!” you will have the best smiles and the most natural faces of your life. Trust me it works!

  • I’m still hoping for a photo tour meet-up!!! One day……

  • Thanks for the great tips! I will try to use them as we celebrate our 25th next month at Disneyland!!

  • Getting a good family photo can be difficult when the kids don’t want to hold still or smile, so I’ve found it best to strike a bargain. Promise them that if they’ll hold still for a “serious” photo, then you’ll take another one where everybody can make a face and goof off. It’s surprising how well this works with adults too!

  • This isn’t actually my tip, but it worked so well I thought I’d share. A Custodial CM suggested shooting up, basically shooting from lower than your subject. He took a couple of shots of my Lovely & Talented Mrs. and I in front of Winnie the Pooh attraction and they look great. Happy clicking!

  • As an astrophotographer, I check the phase of the Moon and look for interesting conjunctions of the Moon and planets when I am in the parks. If the clouds cooperate, a crescent Moon and Venus over one of the castles or Spaceship Earth add some natural pizazz to the shot.

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