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Photo Gallery and Contests Discuss I want to take great photos like yours... in the Multimedia - Audio, Video, Photos and more! forums; After seeing what great photos you folks have taken of WDW, I want to be sure to take the best that I can when I return in September. Last trip ...
  1. #1
    GoofyDad's Avatar
    GoofyDad is offline B-Ticket Holder
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    Feb 2011
    Roanoke, Virginia

    I want to take great photos like yours...

    After seeing what great photos you folks have taken of WDW, I want to be sure to take the best that I can when I return in September. Last trip I recorded about four hours of video, and we took about 400 pictures with my wife's camera... and by far I've enjoyed the pictures the most (although they aren't as nice I would like them to be!)

    So, I'm camera shopping. I'd like to spend less than $200 if I can... (so no SLR cameras, obviously) and I'd prefer something as compact as possible for ease of use in the parks. There are many cameras in this range, but its difficult to know how well they will do unless you hear directly from someone that has it.

    That's where you come in! Please share what camera you have, how easy/difficult it is to use, how well it works at night, and please give me an idea of the pricing for that camera. My budget is flexible, so if there are cameras that will also record HD video that are a bit higher I'd like to hear about those as well.

    If you want, post a picture taken with your camera as well since a picture is worth, well.. you know.

    JUN 2010 - Caribbean Beach Resort (Star Wars Weekends)
    SEP 2011 - Animal Kingdom Lodge
    MAY 2012 - Offsite single night and DHS
    DEC 2012 - Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas - Jambo House

  2. #2
    disneymaniac87's Avatar
    disneymaniac87 is offline Counting Down To My Next Trip!
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    Feb 2008
    Bel Air, Maryland

    Re: I want to take great photos like yours...

    Before I got my DSLR, I had a Fuji. With a little bit of editing, I ended up getting some fantastic photos. It takes a bit more time, but they turned out well. I really liked it! I think it was like $125 or something like that!
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  3. #3
    JCrickett is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Sep 2005
    Mason, Michigan

    Re: I want to take great photos like yours...

    I have a Sony Cybershot DSC-H2 12x zoom, it takes great shots. I am still learning things about it, but the settings I have used give me some great results. It is a little bigger than some cameras, but I tend to shake the camera if it is too small. Some of the night time shots are a bit tricky, but I keep trying until I get what I am working toward.

    The camera cost around $150 - $200 if I remember correctly. I researched some when I was looking and found the associates at my local Best Buy were the best resource for comparing brands.

    I opted for something with a higher zoom and have been extremely satisfied.

    We also have a Nikon Coolpix and it takes incredible night time photos and are very light weight. I think we got it for around $99.


  4. #4
    Disney05's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Long Island, NY

    Re: I want to take great photos like yours...

    I have a Kodak M1073 10.2 mega pixal. It's real small but takes great pictures. It's got anti shake, zoom, video, a bunch of settings that I probably don't use enough. I think it was about $130 2 years ago. I'm still learning to take good night pictures but I've found if I put it on either a tripod or solid surface, set it for night pictures and set the timer, the pictures come out real nice.
    When you wish upon a star.....
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    ...That's the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up. WD
    "For those who get it, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation will do."

  5. #5
    WDW4Ever's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Eugene, Oregon

    Re: I want to take great photos like yours...

    I know you said no DSLRs, but that's what I have, and I spent $600 on it a couple Christmas's ago on Black Friday. But I'll share my tips on how to take better (not fantastic) photos. A recommendation that I have while purchasing a new camera is to get one with a viewfinder.

    I'll start off with my equipment:
    1. Canon Rebel T1i w/ 18-55mm lens
    2. iPhoto
    3. 16 GB SD card
    4. Tripod if necessary (fireworks photos mainly)

    The single biggest tip that I can give to someone to take better pictures is to change the perspective of which you take the pictures. Straight-ahead pictures are boring pictures. Look up, look down, look on from the side. In order to correct this horrid problem, learning the basic photography rules are important.

    All my photography knowledge is self-taught as I didn't find it necessary to pay for a class that I can teach myself.

    The first rule that I follow for better pictures is the rule of thirds. When looking through your viewfinder (or screen) imagine that you have these lines to look at (and in most cases there's a setting to actually see these lines)

    The green dots, in most cases, is where you want your subject to be (i.e. a portrait of a person), while the red lines is where you want the main focal point of your picture to be in a landscape shot (pictured).
    As you can see by the way the pictures almost perfectly line up on here that the red line is right over Walt's window in Disneyland.

    With the rule of thirds, you need to be cognizant of the entire composed shot. Meaning that the background must not be distracting from your focal point (person or window).

    Nighttime shots are the most difficult to do as I think everyone can attest to. While it's more difficult to do with a non-DSLR camera, it is not impossible. Learning basics about Manual Mode with your camera will help. So I'll start on a crash course of Manual Mode.

    Most important features in Manual:
    1. Aperture; appears as f/ on the camera
    2. ISO
    3. Shutter speed

    Aperture: Think of this as the pupil of your eye. It's what determines how much light enters the camera. The more light for a longer period of time is going to produce a brighter picture. The numeration is completely backwards of what you would think, too. The bigger the aperture number (eg. f/29 is a very small opening whereas f/5.6 is a very large opening)

    ISO: This more of a nit-pick setting. The smaller the ISO number (eg. 100) the more clear your picture will be. Keeping an ISO below 800 should produce wonderful photos. An ISO number greater than 800 (800-3200 on most cameras) will produce brighter pictures but yield more grainy pictures, or noisy pictures.

    Shutter speed: Kind of obvious from the title, but shutter speed his how fast the shutter closes on the shot. A very fast shutter speed combined with an open aperture will produce a normal-looking picture. But if the shutter speed is slow with a wide open aperture, the picture will be all white. Vice versa applies, fast shutter speed with a narrow aperture will produce a black picture. The longer the shutter speed, about anywhere above 1/2 second, will probably produce a blurry picture because it's difficult to hold the camera still while the shot is captured. That's where a tripod or secure location like a table is necessary.

    The most difficult aspect of Manual Mode for nighttime or fireworks photos is understanding the correlation between the three aspects, Speed, f/, and ISO.

    This is probably my best fireworks photo to date

    Information on it: ISO 400, f/3.5, shutter speed of 1 second. I used a railing to keep the camera steady as I forgot my tripod that evening.

    The longer the shutter speed the more motion is captured in your photo:

    Info: ISO 3200, f/22, Shutter speed 1 second.

    The faster the shutter speed, the more it will appear that time has been frozen.

    Info: ISO 3200, f/5.6, Shutter speed 1/4000 of a second.

    Here's a few links that I have found particularly useful in my learning of photography.
    11 Surefire Landscape Photography Tips
    Improve Your Photos 60 Seconds at a Time
    The Ten Most Common Photographic Mistakes
    Camera basics: shutter-speed, aperture and ISO

    I hope this helps for now. If you have any more questions I'm more than happy to help as best I can
    "If you can dream it you can do it."
    -Tom Fitzgerald
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  6. #6
    Mike Fink is offline C-Ticket Holder
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    May 2010

    Re: I want to take great photos like yours...

    Consider setting some of your budget aside for decent photo editing software. I bet many of the photos you think are good were adjusted on a computer. White balance, saturation, contrast, red eye reduction, cropping, filter effects and much more can be modified long after the shot is taken.

    A new version of Photoshop Elements will cost you about $100, Photoshop and other pro-level programs much more. I'd consider an older version of Photoshop Elements (version 4.0), which can be had on Ebay for around $30. PE 4.0 is a tested and proven program and in many ways is simpler to use than late model versions of PE.

    I have PE 4.0 as well as PE 8.0 and more often than not I use the older software. There are plenty of cheap how-to books for 4.0 out there as well.

    Popular Photography magazine reviews and compares cameras. See: Popular Photography Magazine | Digital Camera Reviews, Photography Tips, Buying Guide

    Finally, if you have a Target credit card you may be able to get 10% off the price if you purchase the camera with the card. They have a decent selection of cameras in your range.

    I hear the new iPhone takes great pics too. I don't have one, so can't say so personally.

  7. #7
    WDW4Ever's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Eugene, Oregon

    Re: I want to take great photos like yours...

    The iPhone 4 takes better pictures than most, but it's no replacement for a real camera.

    As for photo editing software, I just use Panorama Maker 5 (for my panoramas obviously), Photomatix Light for my HDR pictures, and iPhoto for the other 98% of my photos.
    "If you can dream it you can do it."
    -Tom Fitzgerald
    D23 Charter Member

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