We have some great amusement parks in North American, and odds are that you’re planning (or will be planning) a trip to one here, or overseas. If you are, you might want to brush up on your photography skills in order to take great photos on your next trip to the amusement park.
Before you pack your bag, check with the park’s regulations. It’s possible that they might restrict photography, not permit large lenses or tripods, etc. Know before you go – if you have questions talk to the park operators.
Ideally, you’ll have a decent DSLR or mirrorless camera, a lens or two, and perhaps a polarizing filter (to cut down on brightness). The reason why a more professional-level camera works best is you can focus more quickly and take more photos in succession, as well as more options for shutter speed, aperture, white balance, etc.
For action shots, you’ll want to use a fast shutter speed to freeze action, and catch those fun smiles. You’ll probably have to start out reasonably fast, so start around 1/2000th and go up/down from there. Remember that the shutter speed will have to be faster if the action is going across the frame, rather than towards the camera.
Tip: If your family is waiting in line for a ride, take the time to set up and get your camera settings in the perfect order before they’re on board.
While you’re waiting for your family to make it on the ride, look around for other photography opportunities. While photographing people is probably not advised, you can photograph rides, characters and interesting features of the park. Look for opportunities to take macro photos too – usually, there are a ton of gorgeous flowers in amusement parks.
It’s not all about the “big” rides – so be on the lookout for the little moments too. Eating some delicious park food, having a quiet moment in the shade, walking down Main Street holding hands with a sibling. All of these little memories will be appreciated when they look back on the trip later.
If your park trip includes fireworks, find a good location ahead of time. If you’re not able to pack a tripod, find a garbage can and bring a beanbag for support. Remember that you’ll need a stable surface and a longer exposure.
On multi-day trips try to take a few minutes at the end of the day to review your photos, preferably on a computer. You’ll want to make sure that your focus is good and shutter speed is quick enough to capture the action. Not perfect? That’s fine – you can try again next day.
Have a great time!