I love capturing that perfect shot! Put a camera in my hand and I could spend all day framing anything and everything I see. While I wouldn’t classify myself as an amateur, I know that I’m definitely not a professional when it comes to photography. In light of that wisdom, I like to keep myself up to date on some of the latest tips and tricks. Now that our phones have become our primary memory keepers, I have wanted to expand my knowledge in this area. So, when I found out that the Disney Vacation Club was hosting a class on smartphone photography, I was all over it!
Let’s Talk About Disney Vacation Club
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is a flexible timeshare program that allows families to take advantage of a cost-effective way to enjoy Disney vacations. We became members in 2013 and honestly wish we had done it earlier! Not only does it provide an opportunity to enjoy magical Disney vacations, DVC also provides its members various perks throughout the year. From special member nights at the parks to discounts at restaurants and shops, DVC does a lot to make its Members feel the magic.
What’s New with DVC?
Just recently, DVC opened Reunion Station near the brand new Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Reunion Station is a member gathering place that provides lounge service and various opportunities such as a tasting series, an animation class and the photography class I’m going to share with you. I’m sure more offerings are forthcoming, but this is quite the start!
While learning how to draw Disney characters is a fascination of mine (I was a huge fan of Animation Academy back in the day) and a tasting series does sound quite appealing to this mother of three boys, I was all over that photography class the day it was announced! It didn’t take me long to get on the phone and schedule myself for it. I mean, the class is taught by Disney professionals. I was all about learning how to take better pictures with my smartphone from them!
So, I registered for a class that worked for me. Classes are normally held most Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 PM at Reunion Station and the building is closed off during that time for the private event. It’s such a great way to get out of the Florida heat for awhile, too!
Photography Class in Session!
I arrived early (something I love to do!!) at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and casually found my way to the station. Interestingly enough, I was greeted by a familiar Disney face. I have met Cast Member Millie several times over the course of the last few months at various DVC events. She has such a bright personality and kind heart. It’s so nice to run into her from time to time!
As I entered into the station, I was directed to my “assigned” seat at a table that was prepped so nicely and graced with some delicious snacks. Cast Members had prepared plates with freshly cut cucumbers, some olives and a handful of pita bread slices for us, as well as two types of dips. One dip was a homemade hummus and the other had tons of flavorful herbs. They were BOTH delicious, but that herb dip had the perfect kick to it ~ it quickly became my favorite. I was so afraid of looking like a glutton!
Our class was small – six in total – and we had two instructors, Kevin & Kevin. Both are Cast Members with the Disney Fine Arts Photography & Video and they are responsible for taking photos of special events and formal gatherings. I already knew the quality of our instructors because we had used Disney Fine Arts Photography for our 20th anniversary photos. They did a magnificent job back then, so I knew that we were being taught by true professionals!
Now, the class was intended to teach us how to utilize our smartphones better to capture priceless moments; however, the application of what was taught really translates into any form of photography. There were a few pieces here and there that pertained to smartphones specifically. For instance, we learned that one should never zoom in with a smartphone. It’s better to just crop it later!! (there’s your freebie info, friends – lol). However, the concepts were really universal.
What Did We Learn?
Now, I don’t want to spoil ALL the fun for you. It wouldn’t be fair to tell you EVERYTHING we learned in the class. So, in order to keep you in a little suspense and perhaps inspired, I’ll share some of the basics.
The class is structured well and divided into four sections: Disney Character Photography, Family Portraits, Picture Perfect Postcards and Fireworks. Kevin used a slide show to keep us on track. I love visuals and work better with them. From there, each section was broken down into subcategories. Topics, such as positioning, lighting, framing and angles, were then fleshed out.
For one portion of the class, Kevin took us outside. He wanted to demonstrate the role the sun can play in our photos. Fortunately, the sun cooperated with us that day and we were able to grasp the concept he was trying to teach.
Is It Worth Taking?
The class is $40 and I honestly thought it was worth the price. For me, it more reiterated some of the things I already knew as a moderately experienced photographer. However, it also gave me a few extra tips and tricks to incorporate into my own practice. The learning is never over!
As a bonus, the class even walked away with a little gift to aid in our own photography (nope – that one I’m keeping a secret, but it was pretty neat).
I’m pretty sure our group was fairly knowledgeable before even entering the “classroom.” We easily understood what Kevin and Kevin were sharing with us. Since then I’ve worked more on framing and exposure and hope to continue incorporating more tips as I grow my own photography portfolio.
Is this class for you? If you like taking pictures at all, I’d like to think so! The instructors impressed me with how they answered our questions and made themselves available throughout the class. In the end, they made certain that we walked away more confident in our own memory-capturing skills.
Few Quick Endnotes
This class is currently only open to DVC members. As noted above, it takes place on most Tuesdays at Reunion Station at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Some portions of the class will be weather dependent. The cost of the class is $40 and covers at least 90 minutes of material.
If you need more information about the class itself, here’s the link to the basic information page on the DVC website. And remember – don’t forget to take the shot! If you don’t, you may lose it forever.
“He (Walt Disney) then told me that at the Studio we treat film like paper clips. You shoot, shoot, shoot all the film you need because if it’s not in the can, you will never have it.”
~ enie Bardeau ~ Disneyland Chief Photographer
“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, picutres still speak the most universally undesrstood language.”
~ Walt Disney
PS – I know the irony of this post is that there are not as many photos as you would expect. The majority of the class was spent learning and we saved the application for our personal time.