Travel Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Really, Scott? Isn’t the title redundant? We all take travel photos at Walt Disney World, don’t we?

Well, yes and no. While photos taken at any Disney property can be considered travel photographs, do they tell a story? Do they give someone looking at the photo a sense of place? Travel photography should do both.

Last fall, Ocean Spray and Disney combined to create the Cranberry Bog Exhibit. My photo below shows the location of the exhibit in Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival. I used a small aperture of f/16 to keep everything in focus from the flowers all the way back to Spaceship Earth including the guests surrounding the exhibit. This is called using hyperfocus.

Ocean Spray's Cranberry Bog Exhibit at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Bog Exhibit at Epcot.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 320, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

To show you this technique works with a telephoto setting, I again used a small aperture photographing a Motor Cruiser on the Seven Seas Lagoon as it was leaving the Magic Kingdom. The Grand Floridian Resort in the background adds to the story.

Mermaid I Motor Cruiser leaving the Magic Kingdom on the Seven Seas Lagoon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Mermaid I Motor Cruiser on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 170mm focal length.

Most good travel photographs include people or imply people. Such is the case of the photo below. The seating area behind the Flame Tree Barbecue restaurant is a quiet, peaceful location. While there are not people in the photo, the empty tables and chairs in the background tell you this is a place for them.

Waterfall in the seating area behind the Flame Tree BBQ in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Waterfall in the seating area behind the Flame Tree BBQ.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/5s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

For this photo, the small aperture of f/22 not only gave me a large depth of field but slowed down my shutter enough to give the smooth look to the waterfalls.

Next time you are out photographing at a Disney park or in your own backyard, look for story telling travel scenes.

Scott's "Photographic Innoventions" blog focuses on intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant for Point and Shoot and Digital SLR cameras.

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2 Replies to “Travel Photography at Walt Disney World”

  1. Thanks for the response, Scott.

    I misread the Flame Tree EXIF data. I thought it said the exposure time was 5 seconds (not 1/5 sec). Hence by tripod questions. Still, 1/5 sec is a long time. You must have a very steady hand. I’ll check out Da-Grip


    Scott replies: No problem, Dan. Hand holding at 1/5s is very doable with today’s image stabilizing lens technologies.

  2. Hi Scott,

    Did you use a tripod on the Flame Tree pic?

    And did you do any color post processing on the first two pics? The sky looks REALLY blue on my monitor.



    Scott replies: Hi, Dan! All of these photos, including Flame Tree BBQ seating area, were taken hand held. Search for “Da Grip” for a great hand holding technique.

    I shoot scenics in Vivid mode on my camera and I tend to add vibrance in post-processing. I like my colors bold and bright. 🙂