Theme Park Photography Tips
No vacation is complete without a visit to a theme park, adrenaline junkies love them and for photography it’s a target rich environment.
Here are a few ideas to help create some great shots in theme parks.
Reading The Crowd
Theme parks are super busy places and a nightmare for the older folk who are dragged on rides to appease their grandchildren. Once you can spot this dynamic it’s great fun to capture the ying and yang of their expressions as they are thrown around from left to right in the cab of their coaster.
Some of my favorite shots from theme parks have been from looking for this family dynamic in full effect. Keep your eyes open, it’s comedy gold.
Long & Short Exposures
Waiting for night fall presents some great opportunities to make some light trails, nearly every ride creates very smooth lines which make for great images.
If it’s not quite dark enough add a low stop ND filter on your lens, very handy if you want to shoot at dusk and get the late evening sky (think just after golden hour) and the theme park rides in shot.
In the shot below I used a 4 way mirror effect to create a symmetrical feel with the ride, I kept the shutter speed pretty fast so that the trails were short but long enough to show speed.
Don't Forget The Dodgems
You say bumper cars, I say dodgems, either way it’s a brilliant source of human dynamics at play. Right there in full force.
Keep your ISO keen, shutter speed around 1/500th and continuous focus for this too work well, those dodgems move fast. Use the fastest glass you have as the light maybe limited. You can always drag the shutter with rear sync if you wanted to make some trails.
Look out for the first daters, show offs and those who just want to cause carnage. Bonus points for the young at heart. Great fun !
Dan has been working in the photography industry for over 20 years mostly in the commercial space. He re-focused in travel and travel content 5 years ago after a long career in commercial studio, interior and advertising content for industry leaders in many genres.
Published many times in print with Professional Photographer, Sony, Culture Trip, Countryside Magazine, NY Tourism Guide, New York Times, many real estate marketing magazines throughout the USA and many online publications. Dan has also co-authored “Creative Photography : The Professional Edge”.
Dan also runs yearly photography tours in Alaska at alaskabearcruise.com where he is the guide and company co-owner. He also runs a successful nationwide photography business.
Current principal sponsors include Think Tank Photo and Lumix, also a previous British Photography Awards Ambassador.