Disney Popcorn

Disney photos are important. Especially if you are an instagram addict like me. But more importantly, you want to be able to document your day there and have some great memories to keep and share. Today I’m sharing some tips, apps, and equipment that I use when I am taking photos with my cell phone in the Disney parks. Lets start with a few basic tips.

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Make Sure the Lens is Clean

Seems really simple but it’s something that is worth mentioning. I keep a soft cloth with me so I can clean off my camera lens at the parks. I also use lens cleaner a few times during my trip. It’s a terrible feeling to finally get a great shot only to realize it’s blurry because there was a smudge on your phone’s lens.

Don’t Zoom

Don’t use the zoom feature on your phone. Your shots will always turn out grainy. Instead get closer to your subject or use an app later to edit the photo.

Put the Flash Away

This is just a good rule whether you are using your phone or a pop up on your camera. Stop flashing people. It never, ever, ever looks good. Ever. Learn to use the light you have. Take the time to really learn how to use the equipment you have and you’ll be able to take good shots in all kinds of lighting.

Disney Cell Phone Photography Tips

Take Several Shots

Less is not always best. I try to take several shots because sometimes what looks good on my phone in the moment looks horrible when I get inside.

Use the Basic Rules of Photography

The basic rules still apply even if you are just using your phone. It’s amazing how much better your photos will look if you learn a few basics and then practice. The Rule of Thirds is a good place to start. You can use the grid on your phones camera or in a camera app to help. This article from techradar is a good place to start with the basics. Once I started paying attention to things like lighting and composition my photos improved. Also it helps that Drew (my husband) is a photography nerd and I’ve learned a lot from him.

Disney Cell Phone Photography Tips


I have two things that I always bring with me on Disney trips, my olloclip and a small tripod. The olloclip is a 4 in 1 lens that includes a wide-angle, fisheye, 10x macro, and 15x macro lens that just clips onto the top of your phone.

I haven’t used the macro lenses much yet but I love using the wide-angle and fisheye on Disney trips. I’m able to get creative and capture so much more. The only thing I don’t like is that I have to take my phone’s case off to use it. I’m thinking about investing in their quick-flip case since I use the lens so often.

Disney Cell Phone Photography Tips

I don’t use the tripod as often but it’s small and fits into Drew’s camera bag so I have it if I want it. It really is a must if you want to take fireworks photos. I also tried out the Camera+ apps AirSnap feature on our last trip. It allows to to sync and use your iPad as a remote for your iPhone. This made taking fireworks shots easier since the phone stayed steady on the tripod. It’s not something I would probably do in the parks but I got some nice shots from our balcony at Bay Lake Tower.

Disney Cell Phone Photography Tips


When it comes to apps for editing your photos what you choose to use to depends on the type of editing you want to do. Some people only want to make simple ones, others like to use filters, add flares and bokeh. I fall somewhere in the middle. Sometimes I try to let my photos speak for themselves and I don’t do anything more than cropping or maybe a slight color and lighting adjustment. But sometimes I like to add filters and flares to see what I can come up with. The best rule is to just have fun and create photos that you love. Below are some of the apps that I use. I use an iPhone but most are also available for Android phones.

instagram | iTunes & Google Play

If you use instagram and don’t want to download any other apps the edit function in the app is great. You can adjust the brightness, color saturation, and more.

Characters in Flight Disney Springs

Snapseed | iTunes & Google play

If you only download one app make it Snapseed. It’s great for everything cropping, straightening, and minor adjustments. You can also add a little HDR if you want.

Disney Cell Phone Photography Tips

Color Story | iTunes & Google Play

This is my new favorite app. I love all of the filters and bright colors. It’s also nice that you can apply multiple filters to get the look you want.

Main Street, U.S.A

Afterlight | iTunes & Google play

Afterlight has a lot of fun filters and some don’t really change your photo too much. You can also make adjustments, crop, and add frames to your photo.

Disney Cell Phone Photography Tips

Vintique | iTunes & Google play

Vintique was one of the first apps I started using on instagram. I really like the filter options and that you can crop your photo before you start editing.

Disney Cell Phone Photography Tips

I’d love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite apps? Tips you want to share? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

Disney Cell Phone Photography Tips - Rolling with the Magic

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Rolling with the Magic – Cell Phone Photography Tips & Apps – You are here!
2nd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog – Memory Maker 101
3rd Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse Is – DOs and DON’TS of Theme Park Photography
4th Stop ~ Dad for Disney – Getting The Most Out of Your Kilimanjaro Safari Photos
Final Stop ~ For the Love of Disney – Recommended Gear to Take Good Photos and Still Enjoy your Vacation


  1. Karlie Vida on August 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    I love this! I’m going to Disneyland Tokyo in a few weeks, and I’m excited to get to take pictures. I like to use Polarr on my computer because of some amazing lighting features, but it doesn’t work as well with phone-taken pictures. On my phone, I use Snapseed and Instagram.

    • Melissa on September 28, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Thanks! I hope you have an awesome trip 🙂

  2. Runway Hairstyles on February 9, 2015 at 3:03 am

    […] That’s right, you can use the camera on your phone in more ways than you thought! You don’t always need a high quality, super expensive digital camera to get the job done when cellphone cameras are just as valuable.. with a few modifications. […].

  3. CapMagicalMem on August 31, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I am filing this one away.  I use no apps for my cell phone photography which is probably why I don’t do much of it.

  4. adisneymom on August 24, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    This is an excellent post Melissa!  I love your tips, equipment and app suggestions!  I need to look into the ollo clip!  Will it work on the new iphone 6?? I’m hoping to upgrade from my 4 in a few weeks! 🙂

  5. LeeBeatens on August 23, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Excellent tips! I use many of them and you are right that they make such a difference. Sometimes just a little extra time is all it takes!

  6. Jenn Lissak on August 21, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Those are great apps and tips – I would have never thought to add a special lens for my phone camera, but you took some great pictures!  I wonder if they make those tools for windows phone…

  7. kreatedbykristi on August 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    This is a really great post!!  I am going to WDW in December and will have to read this again later and look into some of the apps you’ve mentioned.

  8. disneyonwheels on August 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    HomeisWheretheMouseis It’s not heavy at all and while it stays in place well it is still easy to take on and off so you can use your phone for other things. And it’s easy to flip between the wide angle and fisheye and to use either macro lens you just twist off the lens on top. They are also labeled so it’s easy to figure out which one you are using too.

  9. RoeMo326 on August 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    disneyonwheels That seems reasonable. I buy everything on Amazon and totally understand the need for matching 🙂

  10. disneyonwheels on August 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    cindyhowell724 I do! It’s fun to experiment with it.

  11. disneyonwheels on August 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    JenniferKaufman Thanks! I do use it a lot. It’s so small it’s easy to keep with you all the time.

  12. disneyonwheels on August 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    RoeMo326 It’s between $65 and $70. I bought mine on Amazon and spent a little more so it would match my phone. 🙂

  13. disneyonwheels on August 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    DadForDisney Thanks! I would just play with your phone’s camera settings or the setting on an app like Camera+. It’s taken some practice but I’ve gotten some okay shots on dark rides and much better shots of the castle at night.

  14. disneyonwheels on August 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    HeidiPortzlineStrawser Yay! I think you’ll enjoy having one.

  15. HomeisWheretheMouseis on August 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Great ideas and suggestions for getting the most out of your phone’s camera!! My favorite tip out of everything you listed was zooming with your feet! 

    I am intrigued by the add-on lens.  Does it add a lot of weight to the phone? Does it impede your ability to use the phone for other things, like making a phone call?  Is it easy to put on/remove and switch between lens modes?

  16. cindyhowell724 on August 21, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I had no idea that they made lenses for your cell phone! Do you use your Olloclip a lot?

  17. JenniferKaufman on August 21, 2014 at 10:05 am

    I love these tips! I just bought a reputable ebook on improving iPhone photography…. because it’s true, the best camera is the one you have with you! 🙂 Do you use your Olloclip every day (away from vacation)? I think that’s something I need to invest in just for our day-to-day!

  18. RoeMo326 on August 21, 2014 at 8:32 am

    These are awesome tips! My husband carries around his DSLR but sometimes the device in my pocket is more convenient. I really like your Olloclip. Is it expensive?

  19. DadForDisney on August 21, 2014 at 8:13 am

    This is a great article.  I thought I took good pictures with my cell phone until I saw yours.  I totally agree about never using the flash.  It completely washes out the picture.  What do you suggest for low-light situations?

  20. HeidiPortzlineStrawser on August 21, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your cell phone photography tips and your favorite apps.  As you know, we’re not smart phone users here (YET!) but Ashley is trying a smart phone (android) from Republic Wireless this month and if she likes it, I’ll be switching too.  Which means we’ll be smart phone users for our next Disney trip!  Yay!

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