Baby it was COLD outside….and a quick tip for shooting candids on vacation

Well, welcome to 2010!  I’m really excited about this year and all it offers as I expand my business and work on new offerings.  But of course, I had to start the year in Disney World!  After all, how best to set the tone of the year if not by enjoying the magic, right?

Well, sort of…because this trip was COLD!!!  We traveling with friends this time and most of the days we “toured” the parks together.  Normally Marty is golfing all day, but on this trip he took a couple more days than usual and stayed with the group.  This is one of those days.  For some reason, I don’t have Matt in the picture, but he was there too.   This is one of those trips where Disney got a lot of extra $ from us for hats, scarves, and sweats!  I was so cold, I even purchased new flannel pj’s because it was cold in the room too…

Just to show you, this is what our group looked like most of time – when we weren’t really bundled up, LOL…

Cold in Orlando...

Cold in Orlando...

Sorry, no pictures of the flannel pj’s….

Now for the tip.  I don’t really stress about my photos when I’m in Disney any longer.  I just want to enjoy the trip mostly, and it’s pretty rare these days that I travel to Orlando trying to get “good photos”.  My goal is to document my trip candidly, and for my scrapbook.  That said, I still want to keep a few things in mind when shooting.

#1 – when walking behind folks, you are bound to get pictures of the back of their heads unless you ask them to stop.  And if you try to shoot and walk, you will run into someone else or a pole in busy places.  I’ve done all of the above, LOL.

#2 – when shooting in crowded places, you really want to watch your backgrounds.  Distracting backgrounds are a common thing – and one of the elements that can make or break a photo.  Here are two examples – I asked my husband to take the camera and get photos of my son and I on the Dumbo ride.  The first shot is good of Matt and I, but the woman in the background is distracting.  The second shot, only seconds later has the woman out of the distracting zone and although the background is still cluttered (can’t really avoid that in Disney), it’s more “focused” on Matt and I.  Also, notice I put my head closer to his.  Whenever possible, get folks to get closer to each other – it’s the little things that matter..

Disney 012010-1236-SWM

Disney 012010-1241-SWM

It’s hard to remember to look at all these things, and some folks just don’t really care that much.  But sometimes just moving your position with the camera, or waiting a few seconds will change your shot for the better.  Nothing fancy, no settings to keep track of, or color to consider…just a quick tip to making better candids on vacations!

I hope you enjoy the silly Disney shots – and I hope you enjoy the tips.  I’m eager to answer questions you might have, and also to address specific areas as they come up this year.  I’d love to help you make your candid family photos the best they can be – so help me out by emailing me your questions and I’ll post answers or links to answers if I can’t help you right here on my blog.

As always, thanks for reading!

  1. Eileen M. Malloy says:

    Hi, Love the website and the new blog I subscribed.
    Question, how do you know which is your best side and pose to be IN a picture? Thanks for your reply Candy

  2. Patty says:


    Good question – but one that is hard to answer. As a photographer, I work to find the “best side” of someone based on their smile (most folks have a little bit of a lopsided smile) and sometimes hair part to consider. Other facial features (ears that stick out, etc) are taken into account as to how I pose the head and the angle I use when photographing them. Lighting is key – although dramatic lighting is beautiful, and can be artfully done, most of my clients lean towards the look that has their face into the light, but body away from the light. It’s all about finding the light and watching the shadows on the face – your own hair can cause a shadow depending on the angle and source of the light. Sometimes this is a very distracting thing in a portrait, so I work to avoid bad shadows. And then I try to get good shadows that create depth and dimension at the same time.

    To find your “look” it’s best to practice in a mirror – practice head tilts, chin angles (down usually works best) and smiles. Watch your eyes…I look to put “light” into the eyes with my lights and/or the sun…that way they are bright and pretty, not dull and lifeless. You can “see” light in the eyes by a little reflection usually…watch for it. No one will know the “look” you want except you, so having an idea of what you like and don’t like about yourself and clueing your photographer in to those things is good idea. I get to know my clients pretty well, and they respect me for helping them find the right photo in the end with the information they share.

    We’ll practice next time I see you if you want…

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