Getting Around Disney with Camera Gear
Have you ever wondered how to carry your camera gear in a Disney park? This is probably one of the topics that I’m approached about the most.
I truly can’t imagine going to a Disney park without my DSLR!
But, with a DSLR camera, lenses, batteries, memory cards, etc. in tow you are bound to feel a little nervous. The parks are filled with chances to damage your equipment… so how in the world can you take your precious camera?
Let me share my secrets with you.
Become a Minimalist
Always assume that the park will be crowded. Even on off season, the parks are more crowded than a trip around the grocery store. There are lines to wait in, rides to ride, crowded stores, no doubt you’re going to bump into people and things.
As for me, I simply carry my camera with the lens I will use while in the park. That way, I can sling it crossbody, around my neck, or however I want, while having the confidence that my baby is right there. I do have a small bag that I can put the camera in for extra protection when I go on rides. Within the bag though, I carry typical things like chapstick and money. I also have an extra battery and memory card on me. But that’s it!
No extra chargers. No tripod. No back up –"just in case"– lenses.
I have found that most of the time, I don’t need all those extra things for a day in the park.
Wear Your Gear
Like I said above, I always wear my camera crossbody throughout my day. This keep my hands free, which really is so necessary in a place like Disney. I wear my camera like this 100% of the time. I love it this way!
On rides, I swing it to my front, placing it between my legs with one hand firmly on it. It’s then very secure. There are some rides though, like California Screamin’, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster and Indiana Jones that I worry about trusting myself to hold it. If this is the case, I put it safely in my bag while I’m in line, then I either fit it into the bag in front of me on the ride (only if it’s a tight fit) or I keep it in between my legs.
I’ve used an old ratty neoprene strap for the last seven years. It’s comfortable and sits exactly where I want it!
Choose a Lens You Know
Since I’m only carrying one lens I need one that I’m very comfortable with. It’s also a plus if it’s a versatile lens. I want a lens that allows a wide aperture, light, and has a shorter focal distance so the lens isn’t bumping into things. While many photographers out there create some marvelous photos with telephoto zoom lenses, I don’t want the weight or the physical length of the lens to be in my way.
So I generally make my choice between two lenses:
Standard Telephoto 50mm f/1.8 Lens | This is my most go-to lens! It’s compact and lightweight, making it a perfect walk-around lens. Though it’s a fixed zoom, it still gives me many images I love. It allows me to shoot close photos of those with me, or shoot more confidently in low light situations. It’s also a less expensive lens, meaning I go with a peace of mind if something wrong ends up happening.
Standard Zoom 17-85mm f/4-5.6 Lens | This lens is much longer and heavier than my go-to 50mm, and it's more expensive. But it gives a true wide-angle coverage. This is something I love about it! It's versatile, and can be used to zoom into characters during parades or zoom out to get a picture of a building.
Once I make my choice I head out knowing the limitations of both. It’s a fun challenge to work with what I’ve got. Your choices may be different. Whatever you choose think about your comfort and the versatility of the lens.
See With Your Eyes First
As fun and fulfilling as it is to capture your magical day, take time to just soak it all in.
My rule is that I allow myself to see and experience everything first before holding my camera up to get pictures. See everything with your own eyes, and then through the lens.