Graduation Session at Disneyland

Now this Photoshoot was not under the most ideal conditions but nevertheless, it was a lesson in making the most of the situation that is handed to you. I will share how I tackled these issues and gave my clients photos they were in love with.

1: Afternoon means harsh and bright lighting. Theme park sessions mean: no reflectors to deflect that light. I didn’t try to bring one in but I imagine Disneyland won’t allow those in the park. The only thing I can think of in hindsight is an umbrella or picking up one of the parasols they sell.

2: It’s Disneyland and there are always going to be people in the background.

3: If you want photos on rides there are going to be waits no matter what time of year you go.

4: The iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle was under construction!!!!

1) Harsh Lighting

Hey, sometimes the clients can’t be available at the optimal lighting time like golden hour so you roll with it and make magic. One of the things I did was take advantage of the store fronts on Main Street. You still get that iconic Disneyland feel but you’re able to get some nice shade for your subject! Additionally there are a lot of staircases that are perfect places to pose the subject as well.

Toon town buildings are great for shade and a pop of color.

2) People in the Backgrounds

Honestly, people at Disneyland are very nice and will rarely walk in front of you while you’re trying to take a photo. My advice is to work the crowd into the image.

Work people into the photos! After all it is the happiest place on earth and the visitors are what make this place such a magical experience. In my opinion the background people add more vibrancy and life to these images. Plus, people kept congratulating these graduates so it helped put smiles on their faces.

Reflections are a great way to make a photo artistic and the people in the background reflections add to that.

3) Rides

Even with fast passes the waits can be ridiculous for some of the rides. I have two suggestions for a photoshoot with a time limit.

First, take photos in front of favorite rides. You can get artsy with time lapses or slower shutter speeds and it can provide a cool background

Second, if you want to be on a ride, I suggest the carousel because the wait time is usually decent and the photos can be nice. I stood between two horses instead of being on a horse myself. I found this gave me and my camera more stability. The twinkling lights from the ride and vibrant colors make for a beautiful image. You’ll need a wide open aperture and fast shutter speed. I ended up having to bump up my ISO for some of these. It was my first time shooting on the carousel so I will make adjustments for future shoots

4) Castle Under Construction!

Don’t worry there are other magical spots to make the photoshoot complete and iconic. There are two parks full of amazing spots that scream HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH.

Make your way to Toon Town and you will come across the Small World Ride. This was actually my client’s idea to stop here and take some photos! Another suggestion of mine is to have the clients come up with spots too. Let them give some input:)

Toon town is amazing because the clients get to basically have fun and be silly so I highly recommend it especially since the props are interactive and vibrant.

Another spot we went to was Adventureland for some dole whips just outside the enchanted tiki room. It is a beautiful tropical spot to snap a few photos. Incorporating the client’s favorite treat is always a good idea!

Now… on to the other park. My favorite spots are Carsland and Pixar Pier

If you read through all of this, I hope my words of wisdom have helped you plan your next shoot! There’s always a way to make magic and as photographers we do it each time we bend light and create beautiful meaningful images. Take care and good luck!

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