Disney Cast Member Shares Photography Tips from National Geographic Expedition

Disney Cast Member Shares Photography Tips from National Geographic Expedition blog header

Kyle Raser always had a personal love for travel. As a Senior Manager for the Trip Operations Land and Cruise team for both Adventures by Disney and National Geographic Expeditions, he and his team turn their wanderlust into unforgettable vacations for our guests. 

Sometimes, his role allows him to test the trip experience, where he follows the guest itinerary and information packets to make sure the experience is seamless. The team knows that small details can have a big impact.  

Kyle recently experienced the India by Rail Photography Expedition learning first-hand from National Geographic photography expert, Jonathan Kingston. Photography expeditions feature a limited group size who attend mini lectures each day for tips and settings to capture the best images along their journey. Whether traveling with multiple lenses and expensive equipment or armed with only a mobile device, the trip focuses on all levels of photography.

Kyle took more than 1,400 photos on this trip and compiled a few of the tips and key takeaways he learned along the way. 

Tip #1: Storytelling – Try to think about the story you are telling and how you will want someone to experience your photos.  

“Just as you watch your favorite film and different camera angles help set the scene, you can do that with your photos as well,” Kyle said. “Consider giving your photo collection a sense of time, place and culture to help tell the story.”

Tip #2: Capture what’s interesting. 

“This may sound simple, but if it’s interesting to you, it will likely be interesting to those viewing your photos,” Kyle said. “At the same time, if it’s not interesting to you, that will definitely impact the photo and how it’s received. Consider taking a subject from multiple angles, lighting and depths.”

Tip #3: Learn your equipment. 

While many professional photographers may have equipment and lenses to help get the perfect shot, a large number of everyday photographers have turned to smartphones as their main tool. Look at your device’s camera settings and try different ways to capture the perfect photo. Using mobile tools like exposure, portrait mode and burst can help get the frame you’re looking for — and with most smartphone cameras, these same tools can be used during the editing process to help enhance what you’ve already taken! 

Tip #4: Have fun!  

“Cameras are a great way to capture the amazing places and wonders around the world – whether it’s the Taj Mahal or your kids playing in the backyard. The key is just making sure that you get yourself out there to experience it,” Kyle explained. 

Kyle’s taken trips with Disney to Egypt, Italy and Switzerland, but the trip to India opened his eyes to the theory behind the lens. Understanding the culture is the key to taking the best photo. 

“There were some technical tips, but a lot of it is about the philosophy behind why you’re taking the photo, and if it effectively tells the story of where you are,” Kyle added.

Kyle is passionate about the effect of travel on personal wellbeing and while traveling with Disney definitely takes you to iconic destinations, it factors in an understanding of local tradition and culture. 

“No matter where you travel or how you travel, it changes you,” Kyle said. “Traveling as a tourist is great, but traveling as a local is so important. It gives an appreciation of the culture and the location, but it also makes me appreciate what I have and my own experiences. Ultimately, it gives me an appreciation for the company where I work.”

Kyle knew he wanted to work for Disney from the very first Disney Parks trip he can remember, starting in college at the Disney Store and continuing to learn about the guest experience through roles with attractions, guest relations, resorts and Disney Vacation Club.

A Disney fan and travel enthusiast through and through, he’s visited Disney destinations around the globe. He often considers himself just as much a Disney guest as a cast member, which gives him a special lens on these trips. 

“I’ve often said I feel lucky to have loved something that has so many professional opportunities. You can’t necessarily make a career out of the things you love, but I just happened to fall in love with a company that offers experiences and joy to people around the world.”