Disney Dining and Food Photo Tips – CM098

Disney Food and Dining Photo Tips


Steph (Capturingmagic_ on Twitter and Instagram) and ModernPhotoSolutions on Instagram and Facebook
Heather (I Love Characters. heatherw25 on Twitter and Instagram. ilovecharacters on FB)
Tanya (everymagicmoment.com. Tanyah666 on Twitter and Instagram)

Dining and food at Disney is a huge part of our memories and our vacations. We are sharing our tips for getting great food and dining photos in this episode. We also talk about:


Steph: Hey everyone. Welcome to Capturing Magic. I am Steph Clay and I'm here today with Tanya Hickman, who can be found at everymagicmoment.com. Hey, Tanya.


Tanya: Hello.


Steph: And Heather Winfield, who can be found at heatherw.com/character. Hi, Heather.


Heather: Hi.


Steph: Okay, today we are talking about food photo tips and dining photo tips, because I don't know [inaudible [00:32] aware. Food wasn't a big part of my memories.


Tanya: You have other memories besides food?


Steph: Can I hear an amen? That's what we are going to be talking today, and we each have brought a few tips, and they're all in different categories a little bit, so that will be good. We'll have everything covered from taking photos of your food to getting great photos when you're in dining locations. These are going to be general, not location specific kind of tips. Then, we will be following up with a couple of shows that are more location specific. All right, Tanya, let's here your tips.


Tanya: I know Heather and I share some of these tips, so we'll elaborate on both of them, but lighting. Lighting is always very important.


Steph: Yeah.


Tanya: It's probably one of the only reason I will volunteer to sit outside is to get good photos of my food, because there's some restaurants like … I'm going to use Carthay Circle, for example, one of our favorite restaurants, but it is pitch black inside that restaurant at nighttime, and it's really hard to get photos. You don't really want to use flash on your photos, because, first of all it's dark and you're going to blind everybody.


Heather: Well, also it looks bad.


Tanya: Yeah, they just don't turn out.


Heather: It'll look awful.


Steph: Flash photos rarely turn out.


Tanya: Yeah, so if you don't have good lighting and you have a buddy there with you, or you're using a normal camera, I always try to use the flashlight from my phone as a lighting. I mean, don't get me wrong, that's bright and annoying to the people sitting around you, too, but …


Heather: Make it fast, just make it fast.


Tanya: It's either annoy the people or don't get the photo of the food, and I'd rather annoy the people.


Steph: In that restaurant, have you ever been able to sit outside?


Tanya: Yeah, we did one time. Me and Heather took my mom and my aunt, because her mom wasn't there, for Mother's Day. We went and we sat outside and yeah, we got good photos that time, because it was Mother's Day, so it was still light outside when we went to eat.


Steph: That's great.


Tanya: Yeah, so one time we've gotten to sit out there.


Steph: Okay. I …


Heather: Natural lighting is always best.


Tanya: Yeah, natural lighting is always best.


Steph: Yeah and I put that in mine as well, and so one of my tips is that if you can, if there is natural lighting in the location, ask to be seated by a window. Then, put your back to the window, and then everyone else's faces toward the window, if you can. Or at least, if you're there with …


Heather: If you're taking pictures of people [inaudible [03:19] the food.


Steph: I was going to say, Heather will want to put her mom's back to the window and she'll want to have her face to the window so that it's well-lit for all of her pictures that her mom will take.


Tanya: Yeah, now that I think about it, we don't do that many pictures of us actually holding the food or anything.


Heather: Yeah.


Steph: No. I'm thinking more of character meals.


Tanya: No, character meals … We'll get into that, but yeah. That one's like … Especially Goofy's Kitchen at Disneyland. If you can get in there when it's light outside and get a seat by the window, that's ideal, because seats not by the window, the lighting's a little wonky in there.


Steph: Yeah. I haven't ever been there. Okay, go ahead.


Tanya: Wait, what?


Steph: I know, I haven't ever been to Goofy's Kitchen. Isn't that crazy?


Tanya: Gal. How is that even possible?


Heather: We have to take her next time.


Steph: Yeah. We'll do that.


Tanya: The food's really good there.


Steph: Is it?


Tanya: Yeah. No, that's one of my favorite restaurants, food-wise. I love the food at Goofy's Kitchen.


Steph: Okay, I'll have to do it on one my next trips, then. I just have not been a big fan of character dining at Disneyland.


Tanya: Oh, that's the only one I like doing.


Steph: Okay.


Heather: I like The Plaza Inn for breakfast.


Tanya: Yeah, but that's breakfast. I have hard time-


Heather: Yeah, but most of the character meals out there are breakfast.


Tanya: Yeah, no that's very true.


Steph: That's true. Just, it hasn't been … Even when I went this last time, we did Ariel's …


Tanya: The food sucks at Ariel's Grotto. Sorry. [crosstalk [04:50]


Steph: The food actually I didn't think was bad. I didn't think it was bad, but my experience with the characters, it was the most rushed thing I have ever … They hardly even said, “Hello.” It was awful.


Tanya: Oooh.


Heather: That's surprising because we had great interaction when we went there.


Steph: Really?


Tanya: Yeah.


Steph: I've only done character meals twice at Disneyland. and that's been my experience both times, and so it makes me think that it's a thing.


Tanya: Oh no. I've never had a problem. Just last time we went to Goofy's Kitchen they spent plenty of time with us.


Heather: Yeah, normally, the character part of it is much better at Disneyland than Disney World. Disney World is very go, go, go.


Steph: Really?


Heather: Yeah, except with these Minnie's Dine-in seasonal ones they've had. I've had really good luck with that one, but most of the other ones, it's just like, “Okay, go,” and “Move.”


Tanya: I feel like I rush the characters more than they rush me. I'm like, “Go, go, go. I'm still eating. Go.” I feel like I rush them to get a photo taken fast, so I sit back down and continue eating.


Heather: That's because you care about the food. I'm there for the characters. I'm like, “I'm not eating.”


Tanya: Heather doesn't let you eat. Heather eats just like four bites of food and that's it the whole time she's there.


Steph: Yeah, so when we did Cinderella's Table at Disney World, I did that with my daughters, and that's all princesses, and I would say that the princesses there spent two to three times the amount of time as the ones in Disneyland when we did Ariel's.


Tanya: I feel like, and this is another reason, meeting actual face characters like the princesses is uncomfortable for me. I don't know why. I feel like I don't have anything to talk about. I know I can come up with something, and so that for me makes it feel like they're rushing because they can see how awkward I am. I'm just like, “Hey, girl. How's it going?” I am much better with like …


Steph: The non-face characters.


Tanya: The non-face characters.


Steph: Yeah.


Tanya: You got to figure stuff out. You can play around with them. The princesses, I feel like they're judging me, so I don't like …


Heather: She was so happy that I didn't drag her to a princess room this time.


Tanya: Oh, my God.


Steph: Funny, funny. We should do another whole show on character dining probably. Okay, go ahead with your tips, please.


Tanya: I'd call it food placement.


Heather: She's stealing all my tips.


Tanya: I know, but it's hard to come up with separate tips, but it depends on what your food placement is. I'm talking about the food on the plate.


Steph: Okay.


Tanya: Sometimes, let's say my fried chicken from Plaza Inn, which I've taken quite a few photos of the last couple trips, because I've had it like five times … If my chicken is covering my mashed potatoes and gravy, I'm going to move it to make the photo look better, so you can see my mashed potatoes and gravy. I want to see everything that's on the plate, because trust me, I'm looking at your guyses' food photos. I love food photos and I want to see what's on that plate, so if I can't see how good those mashed potatoes and gravy look, then you didn't do the photo right. Food placement, that way, or if you have multiple items, do you want to take a picture of each item separately, like my fried chicken here, and then I got a salad, or do you want them in one photo together and you have to try to figure out how to work them into a photo together. Stuff like that.


Steph: Okay. Good tip. I bet you lick the mashed potatoes and gravy off your chicken, too, if it's … Like, you move it and there's a little bit left on there, do you move it?


Tanya: I will not admit to that. I will also not admit to licking my plate clean.


Steph: That fried chicken, I don't even like chicken at all.


Tanya: I don't either. I actually despise fried chicken. Besides chicken tenders, bone-in fried chicken, I never eat it, ever.


Steph: I know. I don't eat chicken ever, period. Not even … even with the bone out of it and skin off of it, but that fried chicken is so good.


Tanya: Amazing.


Steph: Yeah.


Tanya: I feel bad because if I go to … What's up here? Popeyes. I'll go to Popeyes for fried chicken, and I won't actually get fried chicken there because I don't want it to taste not as good as the Disneyland one, and then ruin the Disneyland one for me. I won't even eat fried chicken anywhere else. I will only eat it at Disneyland.


Steph: Funny. Okay, moving on down the list.


Tanya: Heather, you go. I only had those two.


Steph: Thanks, Tanya. They were such good tips.


Tanya: Place your food right and make sure it's lit.


Heather: When I'm talking about food placement, I'm thinking about what's behind it, so setting the scene. You want to make sure there's no wrappers or other utensils or other food or people that you don't want in the picture.


Tanya: Oh my gosh. I have so many food photos of Heather in the background taking photos of her food. It's so funny.


Heather: You want to make sure the background looks good. You can … One thing I like to do is put the menu behind it, so it works that it's blocking other stuff, but it's also then you have the menu there. Depending on where you are, like in Disneyland, it seems to be you're outside more often, like I've had at the Hungry Bear, you can eat and then you have the different ships going by, so you could have that in your background, or even just the water background. Just make sure it looks pleasing, rather than just okay, like, “Here's my picture of my food,” and it could be anywhere, versus, “This is my picture of my food in the Magic Kingdom.”


Tanya: Yeah. “Here's a castle in the background of my food.”


Heather: I also did a post about it on the blog, so we'll put a link to that, because I have a billion food pictures [crosstalk [10:52], but I have Jolly Holiday Bakery, so you have the penguin windows or just really anything there. Any other thing that you could have in the background when you're at the World Showcase and you could have the lagoon, or you could have the country or when you go to Food and Wine and you have the booth. Any of that kind of stuff, to just make sure use something interesting in the background.


Steph: Set the scene.


Heather: Yes.


Steph: Perfect. Is that your only tip? You could have [inaudible [11:26] too, like we were saying. “Here I am holding my fried chicken.”


Heather: Yeah, my other tips were about the lighting and [inaudible [11:36].


Steph: A couple of my tips that were similar to yours, but a little bit different on the background, because I'm a mom and I've got little kids, and so oftentimes I'm trying to get good photos of them when we're at these places, and …


Tanya: [inaudible [11:54]?


Steph: Right? Isn't that crazy on a Disney trip? Who would have thought? My tip is to check the background behind your people, because you can often maneuver in such a way that you don't have dirty dishes behind you, and you also don't have strangers behind you. I will oftentimes make my kids step out and I'll move the character around, and the characters will often say, “Oh, we're going this direction, huh?” I'm like, “Yes. We are.”


Heather: That's always my biggest problem is that I am, “No,” one way, but then I hate to say, “Can you move over here?” A lot of times I do that and then, of course, afterwards I'm like, “Why didn't I just have them against this?” I wish I could kind of request … Like sometimes I'll sit somewhere and I'll say, “Oooh this is perfect because there's a blank wall here.”


Steph: Yes.


Heather: It's very rare to have that kind of thing. It's always somebody's arm, or …


Steph: Yeah. I don't have a problem moving at all, because I don't want Jim Bob in my background of every single picture with my kids, so it's really, really okay for me, in my mind, to move them a little bit. Sometimes, it's hard, though, in some of the places, because it's just crowded and it's really hard to get something, but a lot of times I've found that if I can at least maneuver myself so that I'm at a lower angle or something like that, then it's easier to not have people back there.


Tanya: Two times, Heather and I have gone to Goofy's Kitchen and gotten the exact same table and it's like a zero-lighted table.


Steph: Oh.


Tanya: In a corner. Not even a good corner. In a corner where there's another table on the other side of you, and the actual buffet's on the other side of that, so there's no blank wall, or … You're shoved in a corner. It's the weirdest little table, but both times … When we take our photos with characters when they come up to us, we have to stand in the middle of the aisle.


Heather: Yes, there's always people behind you walking with the food, the server.


Tanya: Yeah.


Heather: You try to wait, and it's like, “Okay,” and wait until that person … Then, by the time you take the picture, someone else walks by.


Tanya: Yeah, that one is definitely a little difficult, but if you can request a window seat, that's probably … Well, even that, at Goofy's Kitchen, isn't your best bet, depending on the time of year, because it can already be dark outside, by the time you go, so maybe do Goofy's Kitchen breakfast, because then it will be light outside.


Steph: Right. I have requested at different character meals, to have tables by windows. When we did Cinderella's Royal Table, what I asked for was a table where we could get some good natural lighting, and they did that. We were actually across from the windows. We weren't sitting next to the windows, because it's really hard to get a window seat in there, but we were across, in an area that did have some really good natural light.


Tanya: That's good.


Steph: It turned out great. Yeah, because there's some dark spots in that restaurant, too. There's some really light and bright ones and then some really dark ones as well.


Heather: I need to eat there again. I haven't eaten there since 2009.


Steph: You do need to eat there again. It was fun. It was a lot of fun. Let's see. One of my other tips is taking photos in the waiting area. Usually those are good places, especially at Disney World, not necessarily as much at Disneyland, to pause for a minute and do some photos wherever you're waiting for them to call your name.


Tanya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Steph: Then …


Tanya: Oh, wait. I have another one.


Steph: Yeah, let's hear it.


Tanya: Menu photos. Take a picture of the menu, because when you post your food photo later and you don't remember what the food is, you'll have your menu.


Steph: That's a really good idea. Actually, and that's one that even for documenting the trip, I love to be able to go back and look and see how prices have changed over the years.


Tanya: Yeah and what was on it … Again, I always refer back to Carthay Circle, because I love it so much. They have a seasonal menu, so it changes throughout the year.


Steph: What do you do with all your food photos? Do you guys do anything with them?


Tanya: Most of them go to social media. I've scrapped pages about food.


Heather: I've noticed, I haven't been posting, because I was actually going through my pictures on Instagram to get ideas before the show, and I noticed I haven't been posting a lot of food pictures, even though I take them all. I need to go back and [inaudible [16:39], because most of the ones I've been posting are at the French ice cream at Epcot they have this ice cream macaroon sandwich, which is … the flavor changes with the season, but it's like the best thing ever. That's mostly what I've been posting food-wise, that and Trader Sam's, that's it. I need it to be my New Year's Resolution. I have to post more of my food pictures.


Tanya: Yeah. I usually make little collages with the food, because I don't think somebody wants to see my entrée, then my drink, then my salad, so I do collages and post those. I'm trying to think of what else I would do with them. Save them for posterity? I don't know.


Steph: I was just thinking, wouldn't it be fun to do a scrapbook filled with all of your food photos?


Tanya: I did actually think about that recently. I'm like, “I could probably do a whole photo book on just the food, but it would be like five straight pages of fried chicken, so I don't know.”


Heather: She's not kidding. When we went … What was that? September, right?


Tanya: Yeah.


Heather: It was the first time you'd gotten it in a while …


Tanya: No, it was the first time I'd ever had it.


Heather: Oh.


Steph: Oh, really?


Tanya: Yeah. First time I'd every had it. I don't even know what made me get it. Oh, they were making fun of me because I never eat chicken.


Heather: That's like both of you. I don't like chicken. That's always like a thing, too, with my mom. Like, “I'm not eating chicken,” and I like that chicken, so even I had had that chicken. Then, we went like three times. That was like, in the middle of the trip.


Tanya: Yeah. We went one day, we went the next day, I went back with my family after having left. I ate there like three times in a week.


Steph: That's funny. I thought you had had it, because when we were there that one time for my birthday, and you and Chris came and met us, my husband and I, for a few minutes, I had said something about the fried chicken, and Chris was like, “What? There's fried chicken here? How come you've never told me there's fried chicken?”


Tanya: Yeah, that's why he didn't know there was fried chicken, because I wouldn't eat the fried chicken, because I wouldn't eat the fried chicken, so I didn't want him to even know that there was fried chicken, because he loves fried chicken. Now that I'm eating it, he's super irritated that I never let him eat it, because now I eat it.


Steph: That's funny. Okay, I think that's all of my tips. Oh, I remember what I was going to say. I saw Katie, a scrapbook lady, who is a writer for Capturing Magic. She did a collage page for … I think it was a trip, maybe, that she had gone on, and she just did a collage of all of the food photos on one, big page. I thought it looked really good and I thought that was a really good idea. Just twenty little photos of all of your food. I liked that idea, too.


Tanya: Yeah, I like that. I like food.


Steph: Yeah, okay, so now we're all hungry, and that's a wrap for the show. We'll follow-up with specific ideas on specific locations within Disney World and Disneyland on the next two episodes, so be sure to tune in for those. Tanya, remind everyone where they can find you.


Tanya: You can find me at everymagicmoment.com and TanyaH666 on all social media.


Steph: And Heather?


Heather: My character site is heatherw.com/character and I'm heatherw25 on most social media and on Facebook I'm ilovecharacters.


Steph: Okay, and I think I need to mention really quick … Let me look at the calendar. Yes, we'll be taking a little bit of a break for Christmas and New Year's. There will be a new show up on New Year's Eve, but we'll take the week of Christmas Eve and then the following week off. Look for a new show on the 31st. You can find us at Capturing Magic, capturingmagic underscore on social media, or at least on Instagram, I guess. You can also find me at Modern Photo Solutions. There's another podcast over there and a free class all about Google Photos that, I think, everybody should take, so check that out over there as well. Thank you and we will see you next time on Capturing Magic.