Disney World Photo Tips: How to Fix a Rotten Picture

One of my better attempts at night-time photography.

Every Photo has a story.

Last month for The Disney Moms, I talked about how my number one suggestion for good photography would be to check your camera batteries.  I know this seemed like such a simple idea. Two weeks after I wrote that article, while on vacation at Walt Disney World, I walked from Bay Lake Tower over to the Magic Kingdom early one morning while my family was still asleep. I thought I could pop over, take some shots, and monorail-myself back before anyone realized they had been left out.  It’s a 15 minute walk at a brisk pace, and I didn’t carry my backpack (containing, duh,  extra batteries) so I wouldn’t have to stand in the long holiday bag-check line.  I took exactly six pictures before my camera went completely dead.  And with a big smirk on my face, I walked right back out of the entrance.  The monorail ride of photographic shame was humbling.  Imagine if my child had waited in a 30 minute line to see Pooh and Tigger before my batteries went kaput?  Let me re-state from personal experience…check your batteries.

As January crawls to a close, I’d like to focus on an idea that hit me after I started using photo editing software with my photos; don’t delete your questionable pictures directly from your camera.  Get yourself to some editing software and try to save your wayward photos.

I currently use Picasa photo editing software, which was free and easy to download. Click here for picasa.google.com to try it out for yourself. With Picasa, you can organize, edit, and share your photos.  The Picasa 3.9 upgrade now works with Google+ for photo sharing and tagging.  Picasa is not Photoshop, and it’s probably beneath the professional level photographers, but how many of us Disney moms are photo pros? Some days I’m just praying for the majority of my photos to be in focus. Again, Picasa is free, and it gets the job done. My 13-year-old-daughter really liked Picnik photo editing. Much to her dismay, and a lot of other people too, Google recently decided to discontinue Picnik, although rumor has it that Picnik may be moving to Google +. Unlike Picnik, where you could edit photos from any computer with internet access, Picasa software is installed on your computer, so it’s not as portable unless you install it on your lap top. But with Picnik’s future questionable, Picasa may be a good alternative, and way less expensive than Photoshop.

Again, not a bad photographic job at night.

What did editing with Picasa teach me? It taught me not to be so quick to hit the delete button on my camera. I love going anywhere on the Walt Disney World property after the sun goes down.  The crowds are less dense, and the temps. are definitely lower in the summer, like in the 70’s at 2 a.m. in June. The colors are soft; neon lights are on in Tomorrowland. Yet on my iPhone, small camera, or my Nikon, despite heroic attempts, almost all of my night-time pictures appear dark and shadowy.  Some of them look downright awful when I glance through them on the camera standing on the spot. It’s discouraging and depressing.  Picasa taught me not to hit delete right away, unless the photo is just outrageously blurry, but to save it until I get home.

Here’s an original shot of the Contemporary Resort about 2 a.m.

It's not good, not entirely bad, but rather hovering just above ugly.

Now here’s the photo edited version, compliments of Picasa.

No photo awards, but I'm no longer standing in the dark of night.

There’s a marked difference. Would this be fit for publication or a photo you would run out and frame?  Probably not, but you’re mainly taking family photos anyway.  Most of your shots are usually for your scrapbook and not necessarily destined for an 11x 14 frame in the family room.  There are some images worth rescuing with editing software, even if you are the only one to ever see them.

So resist the urge to delete your photos until you can get to some editing software and see what you can salvage. I look back at years of deleting dark photos on the spot and wish I had waited until technology caught up with my sub-par night-time photography skills. I have more photos to sift through when I get home, but I force myself to wait now, and I’m glad that I do. Picasa can work some magic with your daytime shots as well.

I’ll see you on the 28thof February, when I’ll talk about photos with Disney Characters.

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride!


Do you have any fabulous Disney vacation pictures you’d like to share? Drop by and share your photos with Mouze Kateerz on Facebook.  Take a virtual Disney vacation each day in photographs.  You can see even more great pictures by visiting Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.  Shoot me an email of your favorite Disney location or architectural wonder at mouzekateerz@chipandco.com.  See ya soon!

2 comments for “Disney World Photo Tips: How to Fix a Rotten Picture

  1. 28 January, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Good point Amanda! Picasa and Picnik are brilliant editing tools!

Leave a Reply