5 Tips for Photography at Crowded Parks
I’m getting ready to attend “One More Disney Day” this coming Wednesday and what has me most excited is the unique photo opportunities the day brings. Unfortunately as the day approaches it”s becoming clear that the parks will be insanely crowded for the event, especially Disneyland. I struggle with photography when crowd levels are high. I usually put the camera away and just try my best to enjoy as much of the park as possible but for “One More Disney Day” I want to make sure I shoot around the crowds as best as possible. I have brainstormed a few tips to get ready for the event, so I’d like to share them here because they can be applied to any crowded day at the parks.
1. Arrive Early
What do we do to get a ride on popular attractions like Soarin’? We get there first thing in the morning at park opening. The same things applies for popular photo locations like the hub and Partners. Your best chance of getting a nice shot without fighting crowds is first thing in the morning. In my experience, “rush hour” is an hour or two after the park opens so that is plenty of time to squeeze in photos before getting overwhelmed by crowds.
2. Shoot Late
Another great time for photography is at the end of the night. If you enjoy night photos without people in them, getting a few shots on your way out is the way to go.
3. Think Tight
Once the crowd has settled in and the pathways are jam packed, start looking for tight compositions. Look for details you might want to capture and use a zoom to go in tight on the subject. Again, I will use Partners as an example. A nice, unobstructed view of partners and the castle wont be possible throughout much of the day. People will be crowding the front of Partners to get their pictures taken, and people like to sit or stand on base of the round flower bed. So instead of trying to capture a wide shot, zoom in close to Walt and Mickey. I personally like tight shots of them with some nice castle bokeh behind them.
4. Pack Light
There is nothing more difficult on a crowded day, especially on a hot day, than lugging around a ton of gear. If you really want to have all your gear available to you throughout the day, I recommend getting a locker. Leave your tripod and lenses (if your comfortable doing that) and take maybe one camera and lens with you at a time. If it’s mid day and you’re thinking tight shots are the way to go, take a medium zoom and leave the wide angle behind.
5. Take the Path Less Traveled
Many of my favorite photography locations are along paths in the parks that are off the main drag. Many of these pathways cut through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the parks. At Epcot, the pathways between Future World and World Showcase are perfect. At Magic Kingdom you have a few paths and bridges that offer some of the most photogenic views of Cinderella Castle.
I hope you found some of these tips useful. I will be sticking to these guidelines throughout “One More Disney Day” so hopefully I come home with good shots despite the anticipation of large crowds.