Disney Photography Blog

Photography Do’s and Don’t's

By Cory Disbrow on July 10th, 2013   |    Posted in:  Photography 101   |    13 Comments

Today on the blog, I’d like to do something a little bit different. I’d like to list some of my current photography Do’s and Don’t's. This may come off as a little bit of a stream of consciousness post, but I will try my best to stay on point. Hopefully this will provide you with some insight into my brain while participating in photography, and hopefully it’ll also help you out with what you’re trying to accomplish. Here we go!

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Do get it right in the camera. The more you get right in camera, the less work and stress you need to deal with on the computer. The less time you spend in front of a computer, the more time you can spend out with a camera in hand.

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Don’t shoot when you aren’t feeling it. There are many times that your creative juices simply are not flowing. That is a nice time to ignore photography and enjoy your other interests in life.

Do shoot what you want to. Especially if you aren’t getting paid for it. I like shallow depth of field. So, I shoot at f/1.4 a lot. People may not like that. That’s their choice. It isn’t going to stop me from shooting the way I like to shoot. This also leads me to…

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Do process the way you want to. Do you like really saturated colors? Go for it. Same thing goes for vignettes, black and white photos, over the top HDR, whatever. If you enjoy it and it makes you happy, that’s what matters most.

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Don’t delete on site. This is one that I fall into a lot and I wish I wouldn’t. Make sure to wait until you see the photo on a big screen before determining that it is good or bad.

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Do shoot more than you need to. We live in a digital age, and that is one of the beauties of it. We have an infinite source of storage for our photos and we aren’t limited to 24 exposures for a day’s worth of shooting. We should take advantage of that. That said…

Don’t turn your brain off. Just because we have lots of storage and aren’t limited to rolls of film, we still need to think while behind the camera. Every photo you take, even if it is the most basic shot of Spaceship Earth or Sleeping Beauty Castle, there are so many things to think of. Light, exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, composition, framing, symmetry, leveling. That’s nine things right there that should travel through your mind while taking a photo. And there are probably many more.

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Do what makes you comfortable while shooting. If you don’t like carrying 15 pounds of gear on your back, bring only one or two lenses with you where you go to shoot. If you like the strap that came with your camera, perfect. If you prefer a Black Rapid, great as well. You need to be comfortable while shooting, or else your mind will be bothered by other things. How do you expect to think of the nine things I listed before while something else is taking you out of your thought process.

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Don’t doubt your ability. Everyone is capable of taking great photographs. If you learn your equipment and do your due diligence, you or anyone else can make one of the most memorable images out there. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you will beat yourself and come away with nothing that makes you happy. But, in order to gain that confidence, there is one important piece to the puzzle.

Do get out and shoot. You can sit here and read our blog or any of your favorite photo sites all day long, but you’ll never get better at taking photos by doing that. No matter how influenced or inspired you get by the internet, it is not a substitute for practice and honing in your craft.

I hope you all enjoyed my random thoughts and musings here, and hopefully this will inspire you all to go out there and get better! All the photos in this article were taken with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM, both of which can be purchased at Amazon. Thanks for looking!

13 Comments

  1. Keith LeLievre   |   Jul 10, 2013

    I guess the last one’s really the big one for me. I always feel like I live in such a boring place, I never take out my camera until I’m at the parks, and then I’m spending too much time being on vacation to be in Photographer mode…

    If I get myself into Photographer mode more often, It’ll make it easier to do in the parks.

  2. Steve Burns   |   Jul 10, 2013

    Lots of good advice! Thanks for the reminder.

  3. mitch   |   Jul 10, 2013

    Taking my first trip to disneyland next week and looking to rent a lens- I currently have a nikon 5100 body and a sigma 30mm 1.4 lens and a tamron 17-50 vc.

    The nikon 105 2.8 would give me some zoom as well as a very sharp, high quality lens. Or I could rent the 70-300mm but it’s a slower f stop. I don’t think I’ll need telephoto a whole lot, but for things like fantasmic or world of color I’m thinking it will help. OR I could get a tokina wide angle 2.8 lens. Decisions decisions…

  4. Crystal   |   Jul 10, 2013

    I love my black rapid strap – I would recommend to people to upgrade from the one that came with the camera…they are awful. The strap upgrade made a huge difference in my comfort and camera safety and wish I would have done it sooner.

    I would also recommend shooting around the house/yard and the area where you live if you do not photograph a lot. That way you can get comfortable with your camera’s setting and in different lighting situations. That way when you get to the parks, you are not fumbling with settings. Practicing sunsets on a tripod in your yard you can re-shoot it several times until you understand what works for you – in a park – you got one shot.

  5. Greg   |   Jul 11, 2013

    This a very liberating post. I agree with getting it right in the camera but I like your thoughts on processing the way we want to. I find myself too often concerned with theory and not what makes pleased with how an image looks. It all comes down to being happy with what you’re doing. Thanks.

  6. do00odikh   |   Jul 11, 2013

    Woooooooo

  7. Dan Gifford   |   Jul 11, 2013

    Great post Cory! One point that made me stop and think was “Don’t shoot when you aren’t feeling it. There are many times that your creative juices simply are not flowing.” That is healthy advice for all of us who take Disney photography seriously. Sometimes, no matter how short the trip, how amazing the light, or how unique the event, things can conspire to remove those creative juices from us. In those situations, I highly suggest a churro (or equivalently delicious sugar snack) break in your favorite area of the park. It’s a great recharger!

  8. Tom Mullaney   |   Jul 11, 2013

    Good stuff here, Cory. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sara S   |   Jul 11, 2013

    Lots of great advice and I agree with all of it except for “Don’t shoot when you aren’t feeling it.” I agree with this in general if I were at home but for those of us who go to Disney infrequently, I kick myself when I don’t photograph much just because I wasn’t feeling it that day. I agree with the other poster who suggested a snack (Dole Whip please!) and try again.

  10. Karen :0)   |   Jul 13, 2013

    ALL great tips!! Thank you! :0)

  11. Tom Bricker   |   Jul 14, 2013

    Don’t tilt…right? RIGHT?!?!? ;)

  12. Lainfla   |   Jul 16, 2013

    As always, good stuff Cory. Last vacation I forgot to enjoy…. My vacation. A pint at the rose and crown could certainly help… and bring a little, freedom in my shots. Speaking of shots, I always get great Mexico pavilion pictures. Hmmmm! Relax, enjoy, and be happy!

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