Today’s “Disneyland Photo tip of the Day”, is focused on Essence.
What I am referring to is the “Essence” of a character. When you photograph a face character such as the Princesses or TinkerBell, the challenge of taking that picture is to try and capture the essence of who that character is, not just a picture of a person dressed as a character.
To be successful in capturing the true essence of a character, you need to have a few things, patience, timing and space on your memory card.
The “Patience” will come into play because you will usually be standing in a line for some time waiting for the opportunity to take a picture and need to be patient to get the right moment when your turn arrives.
The “Timing” is important because there are certain, very brief moments when the character really shines.
The “Memory Cards” matter because to get one or two really good photos, you will be taking a lot of them.
The photos below will give an example of the difference between Cast Member or Character. They are all nice pictures but those subtle differences can make all the difference.
In this shot of Silver Mist at Pixie Hollow, I was there just to take pictures of her and TinkerBell. When I said that I was only there for pictures of her and she had no children to pose with, she just struck a pose for me. It’s a pretty picture, but it doesn’t quite capture the character and looks like a Cast Member playing Silver Mist.
However, in this photo, she was just finishing taking pictures with a small child and was waving good bye to them. That little moment was the perfect time to capture the true character of Silver Mist.
On the same day, I saw TinkerBell and when I said that I only wanted pictures of her she just struck a quick pose. It’s cute, but doesn’t have any of the sass or character that you associate with TinkerBell.
When she was a little more relaxed, I was able to catch a little mischievous smile that makes me see “Tink”.
In this picture of Princess Tiana, it’s a pretty picture but she almost seems like she is saying “who me?”
But by waiting a moment longer for a child to approach her, the true Princess appeared and it made for a much better picture.
The last time I went to Pixie Hollow, I had a better plan to get the Cast Member to relax and have the Character shine. I had my wife interact and chat with TinkerBell but stay just out of the frame. This way the Cast Member was able to have some fun and Tink got to be “TINK”. At first, she wasn’t sure what was going on, only interacting with my wife while I took pictures as you can see here.
She very quickly relaxed and had some fun with it and it really shows in the following pictures.
When taking pictures of characters performing in a parade or show, there is a simple trick to capturing just the right moment with a clear sharp picture where they aren’t moving real fast or their hands all blurry. “Listen to the music and wait for the crescendo.” Right when the music hits the power note or finale, they characters strike a pose and that is the perfect time to snap like crazy. Here are a few examples from Tiana’s Riverboat Jamboree.
I hope these little tips will help you capture the true “essence” of the characters and make your memories with them all the more special.
© Michael Greening 2010
(On a side note to this discussion, the last time I was at Pixie Hollow, I witnessed a family tradition that I thought was just brilliant and wanted to share. The lady in front of us was with her young daughter on the girls first trip to Disneyland. The young girl was wearing an old pair of Mickey Ears with two names on the back. We asked her which name was hers and the mother told us that they were her ears from her first visit to Disneyland 30 years ago. She saved them for her daughters first visit and had the girls name embroidered above hers. She will also save them for her daughters daughter’s first visit and so on and so on.) I thought it was a wonderful tradition that some of you might want to do as well.