“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” — Walt Disney
I recently had the pleasure of joining Disney Vacation Club Members attending the Phone Photography Workshop at Reunion Station. This workshop is one of many Membership Magic experiences offered, available as a paid, add-on option, at this relaxing retreat nestled on the shores of Bay Lake at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
With the holidays in full swing, this seemed like the perfect time to brush up on my phone photography skills and share with you a few tips and tricks, so that you, too, can capture memorable moments with your phone while celebrating with your family and friends this holiday season — or on your next trip “home.” And also a great excuse to share images of some of the amazing holiday decorations throughout Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World this year!
The workshop, led by Disney Fine Art Photography & Video photographer Kevin O’Connell, included “classroom” work, yummy Reunion Station appetizers and drinks and even a field trip. With a strong focus on the amazing pictures we all love to take while on a Disney vacation, Kevin covered everything from capturing the emotions of a visit with a Disney character to grabbing that iconic fireworks-over-the-castle shot — no matter how many times we’ve seen that amazing spectacular!
Tips from Kevin included both the obvious and the fine art of photography. Tip number one — clean your lens. I had to laugh, and yet, how often do we actually do that? Such a great tip! Kevin shared several of these and then moved into the finer points, the true craft of photography, and with a Disney lens, if you will.
As Kevin spoke of the craft of filling the frame or the importance of the point of view of the camera, he shared several examples of Disney character interactions. When it comes to characters, the ones where the frame was filled, meaning there was more of the subject filling the full screen than say the floor or ceiling, the emotions of the Guests shone through, which is what we want so that years from now we can relive that magical moment again and again. Another tip — turn your camera horizontal to fill that frame.
For point of view, Kevin noted how, throughout the park, the Disney PhotoPass Cast Members are always inviting us to join and stand next to them. This is because they have the perfect vantage point with the characters, the perfect lighting set up or even the best possible shot with the castle positioned just right in the background. He also noted how helpful it is to get on the level of your subject, especially with children. The Disney characters often kneel down, so dropping to one knee will also give you a better chance of capturing the faces of the children versus the tops of their heads. Such truth!
When creating that picture-perfect postcard image, there were so many fun tips and tricks! Kevin talked us through everything from how to pose properly to where to not cut off a joint (elbow, knee) of a family member in a picture, avoiding that phantom hand that no one can figure out to whom it belongs! But my favorite tip was the finer rule of thirds. Kevin warned it wasn’t a “do it every time rule,” and yet it can add depth and a beautiful, asymmetrical composition that draws the eyes into the image. We all have grids on our camera (if you haven’t yet, go into camera settings and check to show the grid lines). You can achieve this rule of thirds by using those grid lines, both horizontally and vertically, and placing the subject along one of those lines or “thirds.” The beauty of digital photography is you can try it out and see the difference in real time.
I’ll leave you with one final tip: zoom with your feet. We’ve learned to pinch the frame with our fingers, zoom in and grab that shot, but then we get home and it is a bit grainy. Kevin says, when you can, zoom with your feet, meaning literally walk closer, and you’ll end up with a higher resolution image that will allow you to crop as desired later.
When you’re ready to sign up, please call Member Services at (800) 800-9800. Reservations are required and space is limited. Hope all of your holiday pictures are filled with magic!
As a part of Membership Extras, an incidental benefit, these Member benefits are subject to change, availability or termination and may require a fee. Membership Extras are available with eligible ownership interests. Visit http://disneyvacationclub.com/memextraspolicy for more information.