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Old Nov 5, 2012, 02:45 AM   #26
JudgeKenny
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You have such a cool job right now. So many people would like to work at Disney World and play the characters but you want to quit doing it? Is the pay not so good? I agree with what others have said. Try taking some basic classes and watch alot of the online tutorials. In addition to the hardware you will also need to learn the software which is actually just as important. By the way those pictures are awesome. As an employee do you get to walk around Disney when it is closed and there are no tourists around? That would be such a great way to get great shots. Its definitely an advantage you should capitalize on while you are still working there.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 03:34 AM   #27
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You have such a cool job right now. So many people would like to work at Disney World and play the characters but you want to quit doing it? Is the pay not so good? I agree with what others have said. Try taking some basic classes and watch alot of the online tutorials. In addition to the hardware you will also need to learn the software which is actually just as important. By the way those pictures are awesome. As an employee do you get to walk around Disney when it is closed and there are no tourists around? That would be such a great way to get great shots. Its definitely an advantage you should capitalize on while you are still working there.
I agree with you... it is a cool job and I've had a lot of fun doing what I do. However, I know that I'm not going to be able to do it forever. The work is extremely demanding and, well, when I reach my 40s I know I won't be dancing to the ability I am able to right now. For that matter, there's a lot of things I can't do now that I was able to do when I was 18, so I see where this is going. Then what? I'll just stand in some corner, wearing a heavy costume, hugging kids all day long and signing their autograph books. I've been working there for 15 years so I know firsthand what all these performers end up doing when they get old. That's not what I want to do, so I would like to have a different skill or talent to fall back on, so I figure I might as well start now.

To answer your question, the pay is decent but I've been working there for a long time, so I've worked my way up the ladder, little by little. At the end of the day, Disney is just a big corporation and they run their resorts like sweatshops. Those of us in Entertainment definitely aren't getting paid what our Disney Broadway counterparts are getting paid. That's for sure! -- And, yes, I actually do get to go to the parks when they're closed. Although, strictly for work. That's when we do all of our technical and dress rehearsals but we are prohibited from bringing even our cellphones. Disney is crazy strict about preserving the "magical guest experience" as Apple is about guarding their unreleased products (although, that's become a joke for the latter, with all the manufacturer leaks). Otherwise, the internet would be filled with pictures of Cinderella smoking a cigarette or Minnie Mouse with her head removed. Those pictures you see of the empty theme parks are actually taken during special events that allow certain guests to arrive early or leave late, but never during rehearsal times, or when the graveyard shift cleaning and maintenance crews do their magic.

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Old Nov 5, 2012, 05:42 AM   #28
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If night photography is your thing then you will first need a good solid tripod. Don't scrimp on one that is only waist high and wobbles when you touch it. Later you can look at wide aperture lenses and high ISO camera bodies.

I still would have gone for a used D200 rather than the D3200 but that's your choice. The D3200 is full of 'training wheels' that will build your confidence but try to use manual control or you will never really learn.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 06:00 AM   #29
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Your experience will not apply to most people. You are an experienced "designer". So you come into photography with the single most important skill - graphic design. Other peole will first have to llearn about art. And they may or may not have your talent for it.

What you think of as "common sense" is not for most people

Also design clients are not unlike photography clients, you already knew how to work with and sell to them.

I'd even say that photo to just a specialized area of design. You use a camera but the result is the same.
Very true. I also had an understanding of the industry, business, marketing and an address book full of contacts. I just wanted to express that although making a career in photography is tough, it can be done and there is still money to be made.

It is very important to make the most of your opportunities and look for ways into the business. As pointed out, this guy has daily access and intimate knowledge of a place most people only see for a few midday hours while it is packed full of tourists. He has contacts within the business too so this seems a potential opportunity for the future.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 12:05 PM   #30
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These are some pictures I would like to recreate eventually (or at least try to) so I would like to know what type of lenses would best suit me. As you can see, dusk and nighttime are my preference.
....
Take pictures. Take lots and lots of pictures. Take pictures with the equipment you already have. The only way to improve as a photographer is to take pictures... lots and lots of pictures. I'm not saying that classes aren't important - they are - but until you actually go out and take lots and lots of pictures using the new skills, you will not improve.

Work with the equipment you already have. It will, no question, limit some of things you would like to do... but figuring out how to work around those limits will make you better photographer. The equipment does not make a good photograph, the photographer makes a good photograph. However, good equipment makes a good photographer better.

So.... become the best photographer you can without going crazy on the equipment. Upgrade when you need to, for sure. But don't go crazy. The most expensive part of a good kit are the lenses. And a good tripod.

You have a tremendous opportunity with your access to Disney. However, very quietly do some research. It is possible that you may not be able to do much with the images you take on Disney property. Your case is a bit different because you are a Disney employee, and your contract may have some clauses that Disney will claim restrict what you can do with photos - even on your days off.

So first, read your contract. Second, if you see a clause that seems to restrict what you can do with photos taken on Disney property, check with a lawyer to see if the clause is legal. Third.... even if the clause isn't legal, decide if it's worth risking your job to fight it.

But first.... take photos... lots and lots of photos. Edit them down to your absolute best and show them around.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 12:21 PM   #31
lizardofwoz
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Hi Calibre.

Without wishing to dampen enthusiasms you may need to capitalise on your skills. Be realistic.

At 31 you have not had a career. Swanning around dressed in funny costumes is not even theatre. Your only work skills are in handling people.

You might be better off working in some other field of hospitality where people skills are important.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 12:49 PM   #32
Caliber26
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Take pictures. Take lots and lots of pictures...

...Second, if you see a clause that seems to restrict what you can do with photos taken on Disney property, check with a lawyer to see if the clause is legal. Third.... even if the clause isn't legal, decide if it's worth risking your job to fight it.
Thanks. I definitely intend on taking more pictures than I am able to count. As for any pictures taken at Disney, I don't plan on profiting from them. That would only be a practice place for me. Plus it would be a personal project and not much else. As a cast member, I think my POV would tell a very different story.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 01:05 PM   #33
snberk103
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Hi Calibre.

Without wishing to dampen enthusiasms you may need to capitalise on your skills. Be realistic.

At 31 you have not had a career. Swanning around dressed in funny costumes is not even theatre. Your only work skills are in handling people.

You might be better off working in some other field of hospitality where people skills are important.
With respect... I disagree. Being able to handle people is one of those skill sets that you can't "learn", and skill that many photographers don't have... even the ones who should. In my experience, a moderately experienced photographer with great people skills is going to produce better portraits than a highly skilled photographer who handles people poorly.

@Calibre26: Actually, lizardofwoz does sort of make a good point. If your existing strength includes being really good with people, then you may want to consider an area of photography that includes working with people instead of night-time architectural work. Although you may not think when you are deep into the photo courses, but it is actually easier (in my experience) to teach someone how to use a camera competently than it is to teach them how make people feel relaxed and comfortable, and to open up to the camera.

If your clients have a really good time during the photoshoot, feel relaxed and comfortable, and if you are able to capture some good images, you will have clients who return to you over and again, and will recommend you to their friends.

Night-time and architectural photography can be very technical, and of course a little impersonal. It will take a lot of work to break into this field, and require a heavier investment in equipment. And while these photos may be what you like looking at, it may not be a good fit with your existing strengths. Doing candid style portraiture or event photography requires far less technical skill (though lots more people skills!) and far less investment in equipment and training.

----------

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Thanks. I definitely intend on taking more pictures than I am able to count. As for any pictures taken at Disney, I don't plan on profiting from them. That would only be a practice place for me. Plus it would be a personal project and not much else. As a cast member, I think my POV would tell a very different story.
Fair enough. However, as you move into this new field... just be aware that you will also need to be comfortable with what you can and can not do with any of the photos you take. It is just one more thing that a professional needs to know, along with the photo skills. Sigh.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 01:07 PM   #34
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Hi Calibre.

Without wishing to dampen enthusiasms you may need to capitalise on your skills. Be realistic.

At 31 you have not had a career. Swanning around dressed in funny costumes is not even theatre. Your only work skills are in handling people.

You might be better off working in some other field of hospitality where people skills are important.
I don't think I would be enthused unless it was challenging.
I am very realistic, and like I said a few posts ago, I don't expect to go out there and become the next big thing. I'm only 31 and have no problem starting at the very bottom.

As for the lack of career thing, your words mimic those of my own father. That's entirely subjective. I'm definitely not an actor, nor do I have a theater major, but I am a trained dancer and I'm very good at what I do. What I do at work is a little more than "swanning around dressed in funny costumes". As a stage performer, I actually have no interaction with park guests. Anyone without skill or talent can dress up in a costume and prance around -- that's not what I do, and that's exactly the thing I am wanting to avoid in my old age.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 01:41 PM   #35
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@Calibre26: I'm going to alter my advice somewhat, but on the same theory as before. As a trained dancer you already have skill set. You may not, in the future, be able to physically use that skill set... but there is another side of it. You know what good dance looks like, you know how to communicate with dancers, you should be able to get dancers to do what they need to do in order to be photographed well. So... practice your nighttime architectural photos because any kind of photography is good. But also consider taking photos of dancers.

Here is a link to David Cooper's site. He does all kinds of theatrical work, but what makes his stuff really stand out is that he understands the actors and the dancers. (He also does workshops, btw). You may find that once you get some technical skills under your belt, you have a huge advantage working with performers. An advantage that a photographer who hasn't worked in the field doesn't have.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 02:10 PM   #36
lizardofwoz
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I don't think I would be enthused unless it was challenging.
I am very realistic, and like I said a few posts ago, I don't expect to go out there and become the next big thing. I'm only 31 and have no problem starting at the very bottom.

As for the lack of career thing, your words mimic those of my own father. That's entirely subjective. I'm definitely not an actor, nor do I have a theater major, but I am a trained dancer and I'm very good at what I do. What I do at work is a little more than "swanning around dressed in funny costumes". As a stage performer, I actually have no interaction with park guests. Anyone without skill or talent can dress up in a costume and prance around -- that's not what I do, and that's exactly the thing I am wanting to avoid in my old age.
Fair enough. I withdraw my unkind slur. Good luck with whatever career you choose
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 07:33 PM   #37
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OP: If you do pursue this idea, you will need as much info you can get about running a business. I'm in a fairly similar situation, except my current industry doesn't allow for much of anytime to build a business on the side.

One of the tasks I've taken on is interviewing everyone I know who has a run a business to gather as much advice and info about the crazy self-employed world as I can. So far it has been absolutely fascinating and I have learned a ton. I'd highly suggest you do the same.
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