Compressing Disney

By Cory Disbrow on March 7th, 2012   |    Posted in:  Disney Photo Tips   |    3 Comments

Hey guys! Today, I’ll be writing an article about a technique in photography called compression.

Compression is something that is achieved by using a longer telephoto lens. As per Wikipedia (the greatest source of knowledge on the Internet, shame on you if you think otherwise!), compression is described as:

“Used to give the feeling of compressed distance between distant objects, such as buildings or automobiles in order to convey a feeling of congestion.”

I took a spin through Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom recently with my 300mm lens, and was able to try this technique, and had a lot of fun doing it! The shot I posted earlier in the article was taken at the end of the pathway up to Cinderella Castle from Tomorrowland. At a focal length of 300mm, the sign is in sharp focus, and the background is reasonably blurred out. It isn’t “bokehlicious” like an 85mm f/1.4 lens can give, but it is still diffused. The difference, though, is that the buildings from Pinnochio Village Haus and Mickey’s Philharmagic, which we know are quite a distance away from this sign, feel very close. Hence, they are compressed. Here’s another example:

This one was a perfect chance to convey an image of congestion. The Hub was particularly busy due to the Street Party taking place. That meant lots of people in one place. So, I stood in almost the same location I took the Sir Mickey’s shot in, went to 300mm, and captured. And what happened what awesome. The effect makes the Magic Kingdom Hub look almost the same size as its much smaller counterpart in Disneyland, and it also feels like Casey’s Corner and Main Street USA are within arm’s reach of the Partners statue! Here’s one more:

This shot of the marquee for Peter Pan’s Flight is unique because of the compression. It makes the brown tower at the end of the building look as if it is right next door to Peter and Wendy, and it also makes it look like the long stretch of building leading to that brown tower is shorter than the marquee itself, which we all know is not true.

So there you have it, a cool technique you can use to create some new and unique shots while walking through the parks. If you’ve taken any photos with compression in mind, please feel free to link them in the comments! Thanks for reading, see ya real soon!!


  1. David Villadelgado   |   Mar 7, 2012

    Thanks for the tip! I’m sure this is how people sometimes get the castle to seem so close to Partners in Disneyland.

  2. Dogstardaddy   |   Mar 8, 2012

    Great article Cory!

  3. Kawanda   |   Mar 9, 2012

    I think you just convinced me to take my 300mm lens with us in April. I had originally planned to leave it behind, taking only my 50 mm f/1.4 and my wide angle. I’ve used compression alot shooting nature, but packing becomes and issue when I’ll have my 4 year old daughter. But given the ideas you’ve presented here, along with my desire to get some great shots of the fireworks, I think I’ll bring my 300mm and my tripod!

    I just discovered this blog, via a recent Disney Tourist Blog post. I’m a hobbyist photographer and have been in awe preparing for our trip in April, from a photography stand-point. Love all the ideas and technical info your providing.



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