There are many things that can go wrong with picture taking and not all of them are the problem of the photographer. As a person who has traveled and worked in many theme parks throughout the world, I want to save everyone from the day-to-day embarrassment that thousands of people face every day. Now that you are armed with a solid camera, here are some ways to make that next trip to the parks a more enjoyable one.
Ready, Set, Wait, Oops, Hold on
This is my biggest pet peeve. Tourists come to the theme parks ready to see and experience everything, however once they pass through the gates, they check their common sense even before they get to the lockers. Usually they are so excited to be there that even some of the simple tasks seem complicated. If you have a camera with you at a theme park you should be ready at all times. Don’t leave it in your backpack, because as soon as you do, something incredible will pass you by while you are fiddling with the zipper and throwing around all the bottles of water you have snuck in as to not have to pay the outrageous prices. That being said, if you are in line to see a character or an experience, make sure when you are on deck that the camera is ready to go so that you can optimize your precious time with Goofy or Spongebob. Sometimes the greatest moments are the ones before they freeze to take that standard picture in front of their hero. Also, Read the manual. Not every page, but at least know the basics such as turning it on and off, turning off the flash, and possibly using the video recording feature just to name a few. Many times people waste a ton of time trying to get the picture right when they don’t even know how to turn the camera on. Don’t be that person. Keeping your camera handy and knowing how to use it makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone.
They call it easy mode, because it is just that. Easy. They tried to make this feature simple for the average person. The cameras are set up so that all the features will be automated, trying to take the pain out of figuring out the best lighting and such. Even with easy mode there are still a couple of things to consider. Most cameras have it so that in auto mode you still have to press the button (to snap a shot) half way down to give it time to realize what you are focusing on. You should see the picture become more in focus. The trick is lining up the square (or whatever focus tool your camera has) with the actual subject you are shooting so that the camera knows what to focus on. At that point you can finish pressing the button all the way down. If you are an amateur photographer I would suggest this camera if you are hoping to one day going pro. This is the best and smoothest transition into the SLR world. It is the Canon EOS Rebel T3. This camera has a variety of functions and a strong stable body. The features are plentiful whether in manual or automatic modes and offers an easy focus under even the most fast-paced experiences. For someone who has spent years working in the theme park industry, this lack of focus is one of the most common mistakes I have seen by camera users. Most of the pictures I have seen taken in the parks around the world turn out blurry because people were too hasty to snap the shot off and get moving to the next ride. Take your time.
To Flash Or Not To Flash
Knowing when to use one is a very powerful tool. Some cameras actually make it easier to capture that indoors party scene or the bridal or baby shower by offering a technology that allows the camera to be great in low light situations. The Sony Cybershot DSC-HX5V is a great camera for lowlight situations and indoor shooting as well as being able to fit in a pocket, bag or purse. It takes great pictures and awesome video. To see if yours is, check online and do your research. If you have a habit of shooting indoor activities either in your house or elsewhere, this is an important feature. Also worth mentioning in this section, if you are at a place where they have lights provided, take pics with the flash on and off. Usually leaving the flash off is more beneficial. If a person who works there tells you no flash, it is usually because they have lit it in a way that allows you to shoot without using a flash of your own. Some of these situations may include pictures of Mickey Mouse at Disney, or Spider-man at Universal.
Blinded By The Light
You always want to shoot with the sun(or the lights) behind you. Too many times amateurs try to take a picture of kids, or family members and the subjects have their back to the sun. A good rule of thumb, if you are looking at your display and you have to put your sun glasses on, the picture will probably not turn out the way you want it to. If you have the ability, rearrange your subjects so that they have proper light, but you have some shade or are at least nit facing directly at the sun.
Space, The Headroom Frontier
Many times people like to take pictures of others with about 8 feet of head room. This is wrong on so many levels. First, unless you are trying to capture the height difference, you want to see more of the person. Think about all the pictures you have taken only to look at them later on and see a person who is dwarfed by a mountain or tower or building. Try to get enough of a sample of the location, but make sure that you can clearly make out the person whose picture you are taking.
These are of course some very basic tips that will help you along the way. Before you go, make sure to buy yourself a good camera. If you are a professional photographer you will obviously be beyond these small introductory steps. You would be surprised though at how many people forget some of the most basic things once they are standing face-to-face with some of these fairy tale prince and princesses.