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  1. #1

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    PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Enjoyed a lovely day in the Parks yesterday until my camera battery died. And I desperately needed that picture in front of the Castle and the Small World lights. I decided I'd cough up the 12.95 for one from Photopass, so I let the Disney photographer take my picture. 3 times he clicked at the castle. After that, I wasn't too sure that he knew what he was doing cause he kept having an issue, so later, I found another photographer to take a photo just in case. And by that point I was addicted and took about 5 or so more around the Parks.

    Got home, looked at them and.....they SUCK! I mean honestly maybe there's one in the total lot of 10 from around the Parks. All three at the castle from the first guy have some large portion of the castle cut off each time. In the backup guy's picture I'm so washed out with flash that I look like a ghost. And the one they took of me at the Golden Gate Bridge at DCA--I naturally thought he had framed it on the bridge cause of his positioning--but when I saw the pic, it's me head to toe and lots of ground and the horizontal bar of the bridge. Absolutely nothing interesting--however the ground was spotless.

    And their night shots, are no better--even with the tripod and flash and hold still for two seconds imaging--then my old horrible camera I used to have with the small flash. As an example, the Small World lights are all yellow in the "professional" version. (I did manage to get two beautiful night shots of the Castle and Small World lit with my camera before it died--and my Small World lights are colorful with greens and reds and yellows).

    I think my point here, is this is big money. And it's a great idea. But the people taking the photos I feel like don't have any training. Some are just students and older folks that say "sure I can take a picture". They are definitely not to Disney standards and I'm afraid not even to my desperately-timed satisfaction--but most importantly Disney is asking someone to entrust their memories to them. And people expect things from Disney to be of a certain standard. And then you're crushed when you realize your memories aren't any good.

    This wasn't the first time either. I knew not to depend on them, cause I've seen the pics that these people have taken when I've handed them my camera to photograph me to save the cost. They just aren't skilled any more than the average stranger you ask to take your photo. And they should be. They are Disney Cast Members-who specialize in capturing memories. Maybe Kodak should get involved, afterall they're all over the park, and I take away their name associated with the pictures too.

    Have others had this same experience? Am I being too critical? What do you think? And how do I get them to improve the quality?

  2. #2

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Not being too critical. I too was very disappointed with the quality of shots taken compared to the quantity.

    It would be nice if the photopass people had actual photography experience. Esp. weighed against the cost of prints, dvd, book, etc.,
    Just countin' the days til the next visit!

  3. #3

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Last summer when we were in WDW we decided to give the PhotoPass a try.

    We had many photos taken in Epcot, MK and Studios.

    Not one was worth purchasing, so we didn't. We thought it must have been either us, or just our bad luck. But it seems to me that a "professional" photographer should be able to instruct folks how to pose to get the best possible photo, certianly not ones that just suck!

    But I'm not bitter at all, no, not at all!

    BTW: Better quality will only come from training, too many people are too willing to purchase substandard photos, so I believe the training just isn't going to happen.

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  4. #4

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    I couldn't agree more, and it's not just a Disneyland thing. Most of the WDW Photopass people (with my good buddy Sir Willow being the exception) aren't much better.

    Last year for our first trip we took more than 40 pictures with the photopass people, and NONE of them were worth buying.

    We took some yesterday, and they are kinda okay, but not terrific and certainly not worth $12.95.

    Good thing we got those Dream "Free Picture" things.


  5. #5

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Perfect timing for this subject...

    We take our own photo's. I don't trust our memories to others.

    With that being said, during our week long stay a few weeks ago, we ALSO used the photopass card for a few photo opportunites. We've passed on it in the past. Just weren't interested.

    But I did quickly find out that if you let the photographers know you are interested in a photopass picture, they do a little more than you can in clearing folks out of the way, and getting a better angle/location for the pic. Hint...Hint.

    Anyway, I finally got around to checking out our pics on their site, and though the poses came out nice, the evening pics had the shadow effect (from the flash) on all of our kids. You know, the shadow that makes the pic look either blurred or the kids "larger" than they actually are. No biggie, and if we didn't have our own camera, a few of their pics would be just fine. Just not perfect... (but what is???)

    The same pics taken with my el-cheapo digital camera came out better though.

    So once again, I hold faith in our own picture taking.

  6. #6

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    I was expecting better photos too.

    Some of them could take lessons from some MiceChat photographers.
    1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  7. #7

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Photopass CM's are hired the same as other CM's. There is no audition process or experience criterion that is uniformly enforced. They might hire someone with such qualifications into that LOB if there is an opening but I'd expect that such people would become rather quickly discouraged by what they see.

    And the trainers and training are similarly haphazard as to quality and experience.

    And with most Disney cast roles, there is turnover and large variations as to attitude and quality.

    (Based upon second hand comments from two CM friends who have been there from the beginning)

  8. #8

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Does anyone have any examples they can post? I would like to see what these pictures look like just to get an idea. I believe the comments everyone has, I would just like to see, that's all. Thanks.

  9. #9

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    I don't use photopass, I did however have a photopass CM take our picture during Halloweentime using my camera (Kodak point and shoot something or another). Anyway, I thought he did a pretty good job.



    I have friends that use photopass a lot and love it, but she may have different expectations since she basically uses it as a simplicity thing so she doesnt have to deal with taking the pics herself.

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  10. #10

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    We were at Disneyland in November and took 70 pics with photopass, I have used them before also, being a photographer I often find myself not in the pictures and I wont hand my camera over to anyone. I bought them on CD so I can make my own prints as I see fit, I can also make corrections in photoshop as needed. When I looked over the pics we had taken I had a few that were very poor quality, to dark from flash not gong off, sun in the wrong spot, that sort of thing but for the most part they were good, usable pics. In the past most of the pics we have had taken were ok also. If you have taken pics at the Disney parks you know it can be a bit of a challange, people in the way, conditions not ideal that sort of thing. The job postings for photopass photographers at WDW only mention the ability to carry equipment and stand for long periods, photography experience is a plus but not requited. They shoot everything in jpeg on automatic, this is whats called a snapshot, and thats all its really meant to be. $12.95 really isnt that expensive for a 5X7 print, go for senior portraits and see what you pay a so called professional photographer for prints. When we took my ex wifes kids none of the "photographers" at the studios we went to had the schooling I did in photography but they were considered pros. You also have to look at pay scale, I believe photopass photographers get about $10.50 an hour to start, your just not going to get someone who went to college and sudied photography for that price. I'm sure they are trained on some basics but thats it, then they are turned loose in the parks to capture memories with other guests getting in the way, stationed at a landmark like the castles and have to deal with whatever the weather throws at them, that sort of thing. Plus its all digital so you can snap away and hope for the best. Photographers do need to start with film to really learn the art. All my professors have said shoot a roll of film you "might" get one good print, so now you have someone, an in defence of the photopass photographers, they have maybe 3 or 4 chances to get that one good print. Throw in some people in the way, sun in the wrong spot, overcast, rain, glare and the odds are against you to begin with, then try to get the guests and the kids to all stand still and capture a good shot in a couple of tries can be a real challange.

  11. #11

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Does anyone know if they are required to use the automatic settings? Or are they allowed to use manual camera and flash settings if they know how to use them?

  12. #12

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoMatt View Post
    Does anyone know if they are required to use the automatic settings? Or are they allowed to use manual camera and flash settings if they know how to use them?
    They mess with the settings all the time. Funny this is, they do use flash during the day which I pretty much find useless. I'm not sure if there are certain boundaries that they have to follow but according to Disney Careers they are 'supposed' to have camera experience.
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  13. #13

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoMatt View Post
    Does anyone have any examples they can post? I would like to see what these pictures look like just to get an idea. I believe the comments everyone has, I would just like to see, that's all. Thanks.







    If they did have examples, I think that would mean that they would have had to purchase them first before they could post them, and it doesn't sound like too many folks have done that.

    I know we didn't...

    Good luck!

  14. #14

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMickey View Post
    If they did have examples, I think that would mean that they would have had to purchase them first before they could post them, and it doesn't sound like too many folks have done that.

    I know we didn't...

    Good luck!
    Right. I was thinking that. But can't they look at them for free online? I was thinking someone may have downloaded (or could download) a small version for us all to see.

  15. #15

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    Re: PhotoPass needs Skilled Photographers

    You can't save the pictures from the photopass website. The ONLY way you'd be able to do so would be by doing a screen-print or using a program like SnagIt.

    But that would be wrong.

    When we were in FL last year, we took photopass pictures and pictures that Caspian took the same day. His came out SO much better.


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