Sunday, September 8, 2013

Disney and Dark Ride Photography

This post is for Jennifer who asked about tips/pointers for photographing rides at Disney.  I am going to start this by saying I am not a photography expert by any means!!  Jennifer, you are not alone in the quest for the perfect photos of rides!  And I really do thank you for asking for some specific tips!! I'm glad to help anyone out in their quest for Disney information.

All I can do is point you all in the right direction for "qualified" help.

I would like to start off with Flickr. There are so many photos of Disney there.  Some are good... some not so good.. but even the not so good ones are memories, yes?   There is a gentleman who is said to be one of the experts on "dark ride" photography with an account.   Here is the link to his photo stream. There is a link to his blog included with the links below. For those of you who may not be familiar with Flickr, there is actually information to be had there!!  If you click here , you will go to a "dark ride" photo taken by Mike Besant.

Scroll down past the photo which appears on black to the information/comment portion of the page. You will see that Mike Besant took his photo with a Nikon D3S. Now scroll down further to the "Additional Info (show more)" section and click on the show more.  The first thing you see are the camera settings used for this photo!
Mike Besant is nice enough to allow the camera settings show on his photos.  This information can prove to be invaluable to those of your trying to improve your dark ride photography. Use that information as a guideline for your camera settings.

Before I go any further.. let's talk about the photography guidelines at Disney.  That is very important.
"Professional photographers with professional cameras or recording equipment, who are visiting the Disneyland Resort with the intent to take photographs or recordings of people, Disneyland Resort Properties, or icons for professional purposes must make prior arrangements with Disneyland Resort Media Relations."  It is noted that you may take a folding tripod stand or monopod stand that can fit inside a standard backpack.   That said... since most of us fall into the amateur category... we can move on! (Note: I did haul a tripod with me once. Found it more of a hinderance due to the crowds, and we were there "off-season")

If you take a backstage tour, you are forbidden to use ANY photography.  They'll take away your camera, phone, or whatever device you are using.  The only place we were allowed photography "backstage" was at the greenhouse.  Seems Disney is VERY proud of their greenhouse and topiaries and photography is allowed!  

Almost all  rides and many events do not allow FLASH photography at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  There is always a notice or announcement.  One reason is because it can annoy your fellow visitors.  There is also risk of causing epileptic seizures among other health hazards.  That aside, there are other reasons.  In "dark rides" if you use a flash, you will expose those behind the scenes things you don't see.  These objects would ruin the magic. Seriously.. I was bad once and did a flash photo in a dark ride.   This is what you get and it's not pretty at all!

Lastly, it can actually effect the performers if they are temporarily distracted or blinded by a flash. So now that you have flash photography out of your heads on "dark rides"... there are some characters you should never use a flash with. Stitch comes to mind. It has to do with the eyes of the character. I had it explained to me once, but I have forgotten that technical jargon. If a character does not allow flash photography, the character will make it very plain with gestures or their handler will make that announcement.

So, if I may, I have found some great sites for information on photography at Disney.  Let's look at those now!  Just click  on the topic you are interested in seeing.

Doctor Disney Explains:  This is why flash photography is not allowed on rides and attractions

Dark Ride Shooting  Michael Besant Photography

The Disney Photography Blog  (specific links below)

Walt Disney World in Focus

Advanced Dark Ride Photography at Walt Disney World  (

Hope you all enjoyed this little break from Scrapping the Magic Kingdom.  We'll get back to those next week. And don't forget.. I do take requests for hints, tips and tutorials!   Until then..... Be Calm and Scrap On!


Jennifer Moore said...

Awesome Laramie! Thanks for finding all this terrific info.

mnJenL said...

thanks so much Laramie! this is a great post. I am definitely going to bookmark this one for our trip next year. :)

Laramie Coyote said...

You are more than welcome, Jennifer!

And thank you, mnJenL.

loribug said...

love all your disney widsom, thanks so much for directing us to such great info

Laurie Q said...

I haven't been to Disney in a while, but it used to be that you were not allowed to take flash photos on the rides. Is that not the case anymore?