I wasn’t much of a photographer back when I started this site: I just held up my phone and snapped a pic. 😀 Running this site inspired me to take better photos of the Tower – and by extension, my vacations in general: Disney or otherwise.
Since my equipment has served me so well (and survived so roller coaster twists and Tower drops), I’d like to dedicate a page to recommending the photography gear I use when I visit a Disney park!
My Disney Park Photography Equipment List
First up is this quirky tripod-thing that works with virtually any point and shoot camera. Disney isn’t fond of larger tripods and (as far as I know) doesn’t allow them in the park. Plus, most people don’t want to carry a large tripod around all day anyway.
This flexible Joby tripod has never drawn ire from Disney staff when I enter the parks, and it’s perfect for stabilizing my camera for long twilight and nighttime shots. It fits nicely in a cinch bag or small backpack, and it’s light enough to just carry around in my hand without it being a bother. It goes on every ride with me and it has survived half a dozen theme park trips since I got it.
With this Joby tripod, I can:
- Take group shots that include me using a timer on the camera
- Take long exposure twilight shots
- Take even longer exposure nighttime shots
- Make videos that are completely stable
- Get photos in awkward locations – wrap it around railings, bench backs, trash cans, etc to get shots from areas where normal tripods wouldn’t fit anyway
It’s pretty much impossible to get a decent photo in the parks after the sun sets. A camera has to be held perfectly still for a couple seconds or more to make a clear shot. A small tripod and a point and shoot camera can do that with ease.
Here’s a shot (taken with my iPhone) of my Canon PowerShot working on a long-exposure photo of the Epcot ball supported by the Joby tripod.
Here’s how that photo turned out:
And here’s another 2-second exposure shot, this one of the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland. All those little details captured at night look so pretty!
These are pretty good by my amateur family vacation standards, and not bad for equipment that cost less than $200 total.
Get Everyone in the Picture
Another perk of bringing a Joby tripod along? I get to be in the picture, too!
I see lots of families at Disney taking photos with one member noticeably absent because that person was busy holding the camera. With a miniature tripod, you can get everyone in the shot together. Yay!
There are lots of Joby models, the Joby GorillaPod is the specific one I use.
Canon has been my favorite “point and shoot” camera for a long time (I’m on my third one in 10 years), and my whole family uses them because they’re rugged, well-priced, and easy to use.
I use a Canon PowerShot ELPH (in red!), but there are so many to pick from and Canon is always updating the line. My dad and sister both have slightly different PowerShots than I do, and they’re all great.
Check out the current selection of Canon PowerShot cameras on Amazon.com.
Shooting Modes for Night
I get a lot of use out of Handheld Night Scene and Long Exposure shooting modes on this camera. Switching to those modes is fast and easy. With the camera attached to my Joby tripod, taking great nighttime and twilight shots is not only possible, it’s pretty easy and fun, too.
This is one of my favorite park photos, and it was taken with the camera and tripod sitting on a trash can near the tower.
That’s all I bring.
I hate being bogged down with camera equipment when I’m having fun in the parks, so I keep it super lightweight and simple.
Note: The links in this article are Amazon.com affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I get a tiny % of the purchase price as a kickback from Amazon.com at no added cost to you. As always, shop around for the best deal!
And HAVE FUN! 🙂