Photographing Disney Souvenirs – At Home

In yesterday's post I detailed ways to photograph your souvenirs while you are on vacation. But let's say that now you are home from a Disney destination, and you are ready to sort through your hundreds (and hundreds) of photos. Maybe you were able to puposely photograph the souvenirs you bought while you were still there, or maybe you only caught a few on camera. Or maybe the last trip had your camera focused on the food, or the characters, but you know you came home with several bags of goodies. The sad news: you aren't on a Disney vacation anymore. But the good news: you can still capture great photos of your souvenirs in and around your own home!

When you are at home, consider these tips for getting good photographs of your souvenirs:

  • This first tip is by far the easiest and most obvious way to capture your souvenirs when you are back home – just take a photo of you or your subject wearing/using/playing with the souvenir in everyday life. Just like the first tip in my post about photographing your souvenirs while you are still on the vacation, there is a good chance you already have photos like these on hand, particularly if you photograph everyday moments. You might be surprised at what you discover as you scroll through non-vacation photos taken after the vacation and away from Orlando and Anaheim. In my examples below, you can see how unintentionally our vacation treasures are woven into our regular everyday. Pictured: my youngest in his Pluto hat as he waits for big brother after school; my son in his Cali Life t-shirt while friends sing happy birthday to him; a photo of me in my sparkly Disneyland hoodie, the day after returning from our vacation in October. Also refer to Katie's article “The Fun of Wearing Your Disney Souvenirs” for more inspiration.





































  • If you don't have an everyday shot that incorporates your souvenir, stage the shot instead. You might do this if you need a quick photo inventory of your souvenirs, or if you decide you want to feature all of your souvenirs on a scrapbook or photobook page. It might help to collect all of your souvenirs needing photographing in one place, and if possible recruit an extra set of hands and/or models. Blank walls work well for a backdrop for headwear; capture kids in action with toys or cuddled on their bed or the couch with their plush souvenir; turn the camera around on yourself and take a “selfie” – if you are worried about how you look, take one from the neck down (like I did in the photo above of my hoodie). These types of photos may feel forced or silly to do, but once you have them on file you will be glad you did!













  • Use white posterboard or canvas, or a white sheet, to provide a simple gallery-style backdrop for photographing souvenir pieces. The use of natural light and taking plenty of shots from different angles will usually give you the best results. Remember that you can always crop your photo to get rid of unwanted background noise or edges. Sometimes the shot I like best isn't from the angle I originally envisioned, or it comes from cropping in to highlight a detail of the souvenir. I watched this short video from Etsy's blog before my first attempt at this process, since the look I was going for was inspired by some of the high quality images I have seen from Etsy sellers.


  • Some of the most popular souvenirs from the Disney Parks are the things that people collect and/or trade: trading pins, pressed pennies, and Vinylmation figures. Other items you may find yourself collecting include charms for bracelets, t-shirts and other items that display the year of your visit, resort refillable drink mugs, mouse ears/head gear, holiday ornaments, figurines, and reusable tote bags – just to name a few! While it may not seem like a big deal at the moment, years from now you may appreciate a record of which pieces of your collection you bought on a specific trip. You just never know what might turn out to be your souvenir must-have down the road. Below is a close-up of my eleven-year-old's pins he bought on our last Disney vacation. After starting this pin collection a few years ago, we have noticed that his most desired pins are the attraction pins with moving parts. For this photo, I used the canvas for my backdrop and allowed them to lay casually while still pinned to the lanyard. You can also photograph each piece individually, or neatly arranged on your backdrop as a grouping. Katie has a great article, Documenting Your Disney Collections,” with more tips on how to document a trading pin collection.













  • Maybe you have special souvenirs that are only out during the holidays. Of course, you could go digging through all of your Halloween containers in the attic, but if that doesn't sound like fun, then make a mental note to yourself to photograph those holiday souvenirs when you do have them on display. I bought a ceramic Mickey pumpkin when we were on a Disney World vacation in the fall of 2011 and attended Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. This pumpkin is a fun reminder of that trip and event, so I was inspired to take a picture of it to post on Instagram this year. I did use filters on my phone to enhance the mood of the pumpkin glowing in my living room at night. I will probably use this same photo when I finally get around to documenting that trip from 2011. So remember to take photos of your holiday souvenirs when they finally make it out of storage – then you can enjoy them year round through photos!

























  • If you are having trouble getting a suitable photograph of your souvenir, you might have some luck going online and finding images on store websites. (Be mindful of copyright laws and only use the image for your personal needs.) I bought a charm when I was at Disney World in 2010 to go on a bracelet I already owned, but the charm is really small and hard to photograph. But I found a nice image of the charm online from a Google search – see below.













  • Don't forget about those free souvenirs! They may be few and far between, but oftentimes they trigger some of the best memories. From the Mickey stickers cast members hand out to the kids, to the various celebration buttons you can request in the parks, make sure you include these in your souvenir record. This is especially helpful to do if they are oversized or won't lay flat in a scrapbook. 


  • One last tip is to actually note somewhere on your souvenir when you purchased it. I gave an example of this in a previous post about Disney jigsaw puzzles. If your souvenir is a game, puzzle, book, DVD or music CD, framed artwork, etc., then print out a 4 x 6 or wallet size photo from your trip and include the date and location. Attach to the inside cover, on the back, or in the box lid. I usually place the receipt from my tree ornament purchase in the box it is stored in – date and location is duly noted. 














Once you have photos representing all of the souvenirs from your trip, you could:

  1. have a file folder on your computer labeled souvenirs under that specific trip with those photos
  2. print the souvenir photos for use in an album or scrapbook
  3. have each member of your group choose their favorite souvenir and document its significance for them – you will then have words + photo to tell that story
  4. take a pocket-style page protector and use it to hold all the souvenir pictures, or create a digital page or layout with a pocket-style design
  5. plan for a page or two-page spread in your vacation photobook – I did this for our Disneyland vacation and placed it at the very end (I will be adding journaling to the facing page soon!)













Incorporate the souvenirs from your vacation into your memory-keeping strategy. Thanks to digital cameras and phone cameras, you don't have to fear that you are wasting precious film in taking pictures of “stuff.” Years from now, you will likely appreciate the reminders of the kids' first mouse ears, the balloon that lasted for weeks, the special necklace that your significant other surprised you with, and the t-shirt with Grumpy on the front that matched the grump who was with you on vacation. Share in the comments below how you document the “stuff” from your vacation, we would love to hear from you!