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How to Prepare for a Family Photoshoot at Disneyland Paris | Disney Vacation Photographer

March 9, 2020

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I'm Helena!

A sunny gal from Cali living in the south of France. I adore slow living, magic, and celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I’m a self-proclaimed Disney nerd (as is my husband!), obsessed with cats and cocoa, and you can often find me swimming with the fishies in the salty sea. Come along and enjoy the magic, the simple joys of life with me...



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family photographed at Disneyland Paris photoshoot with France photographer helena woods

Disneyland Paris Vacation Photographer

As a lifestyle family photographer in France, I love to photograph families and couples at Disneyland Paris. You may not know this fun fact about me personally, but I am a Disney nerd. That’s right – I’m obsessed with Disneyland! Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland park in Anaheim was my favorite place to vacation as a teen. While I’ve moved away and ventured out into the world to make France my home, I still frequently catch up on Disney park news, watch Disneyland Paris YouTubers (I have a Disneyland Paris channel here!) and visit the park often with my husband who also happens to be a Disney park enthusiast. Of all the places in Europe he could have chosen to celebrate his 30th birthday, he chose to spend his birthday vacation at Disneyland Paris! Yes, we are that couple. 

I am an American expat living in France and so I’m quite lucky that i live very close to Paris, making it easy for me to frequently visit the Disneyland Paris park! I’ve been fortunate to photograph families as a Disneyland Paris vacation photographer. As well as photography, I also create Family Films (scroll down to take a peek at my family vacation films)!

Here are my top tips for how to prepare for your Disneyland Paris vacation photoshoot!

Schedule the best time for a photo shoot at Disneyland Paris ( Make it early!)

Disneyland Paris, especially during the summer months and the holiday season, is a very busy place to have a family photo shoot. But as a Disneyland Paris expert, I know all the best spots to document your families vacation story. However, the time of the shoot is just as important, if not more important than which land to photograph in. We don’t want loads of people walking through your photos, right?

Make sure to schedule your family photo shoot at Disneyland Paris early, right when the park initially opens. It’s an even better option to stay at a Disneyland Paris hotel, like this one we stayed at, so you can have early access to the parks for Early Magic Hour. Not only will the light be more flattering in the photographs, but the natural light will have a more magical, ethereal quality in the early morning. Another option is at “golden hour”, an hour before sunset, but that tends to be the busiest time at Disneyland Paris. 

mother and son on Main Street photographed at Disneyland Paris with France photographer helena woods

Brainstorm you and your families favorite Disney stories 

As a family, you probably already know your child’s / partner’s favorite Disney classic stories and characters that you enjoy. So why not add more magic to your photographs by incorporating those stories in your photos! If you have a favorite land or attraction that is particularly special for you, be sure to let me know in advance so I can prepare a plan for our time together.

Whether it’s a classic Haunted Mansion (Phantom Manor) set-up or maybe a romantic cruise on the Mark Twain Riverboat – a great place to pop the question if you’re planning to propose to your partner! – let me know in your booking email. Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland near the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock, as well as Sleeping Beauty’s castle, are my favorite places to work as a Disneyland Paris vacation photographer. 

Disneyland Paris vacation family photographer photographs boy at Skull Rock and Main Street

Schedule in character-greeting time

While my photography style is a more natural, candid and documentary lifestyle, rather than a posed style, meeting up with a Disney character could also be super fun for your little one(s)! If there is a particular character you would love to have a photo with, make sure to mention that to me prior to our session. As a vacation photographer, I photograph outdoors using natural light so photos with Disneyland Paris characters will need to be outdoor greetings as opposed to indoor ones (such as Darth Vadar, Chewbacca, etc).

Book your (and your photographer’s) Disneyland Paris park tickets prior

This seems like an obvious point, but be sure to book your park tickets for your family and your photographer in advance! The easiest way for me to meet you at the parks is for you to send my Disneyland Paris park ticket to my email after booking a session with me and that way I can print the ticket and can save time. Make sure to print your park tickets prior to your trip, so you don’t have to wait in the long Disneyland Paris entrance line!

Tip: If you want to save on the park ticket fees, try to find other families/mamas in your circle, that you are planning your trip with, that may be interested in a session as well, and you can split the travel fees to save money! This recent photo shoot I had at Disneyland Paris was with two moms that were traveling together with their kids, and they were able to split the cost.

boy and mom photographed at Disneyland Paris with vacation photographer

Pack a bag with all the essentials

Make sure you have your bags packed the night before your photo shoot at Disneyland Paris. It’ll be one less thing to worry about when you’re scrambling you and your family to get ou the door in the morning. Pack a bag with snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops).

Bag Checklist:

– Second outfit (if you’re doing two)

– Touch-up makeup

– Water bottle

– Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)

– Snacks for the little ones

– If you have a toddler or younger, small eye-catching toys (or lollipops) to hold their attention

Prep your kids for what’s to come before the session starts

Explain how much the photos mean to you so they know to be on their best behavior. A lot of families discuss and pick something fun in advance as a treat after the session if they’re good listeners, like an ice cream cone! You can find more tips on how to get your little ones happy and excited for their session here.

child with bubbles on Main Street Disneyland Paris with Disney vacation family photographer | Helena Woods Photography

Choose your outfits with care

Outfits can make or break a beautiful photograph. It’s so important to dress in a way that is both comfortable for you and flattering for the camera. I have an entire blog post as well as PDF guide that I will send you upon your booking confirmation on how to dress for the camera, but try to stay away from bold colors, busy patterns and logos. Rather, stick to neutrals and pastels so the attention can be on you! If you have some timeless Disney outfits, please bring it along as a second outfit (the boy in this Disneyland Paris photo session looked so darling in his Mickey Mouse onesie!)

Tip: Be sure to take a peek at my family photography Pinterest boards to get some ideas and inspiration for your outfit coordination! 

Grab some classic Disneyland “Mickey” balloons!

Classic Mickey Mouse balloons, especially the light-up Mickey head inside the clear balloon like these ones here, are so fun and bring a lot of extra color, vibrancy and magic to the photos! There is nothing more timeless and classic Disneyland than Mickey balloons, am I right? Bubbles are also super fun!

Disneyland Paris family vacation photographer photographs mother and child

Relax and enjoy your family vacation

Most importantly, do not feel stressed during your family vacation to Disneyland Paris. Planning a Disney trip is expensive! The worst thing you could do during your Disney park vacation is not fully enjoying every single moment of it.

If you’re worried, anxious or at all stressed during your photoshoot, you’ll be able to see it in your photographs. Kids are especially intuitive and sensitive to the emotions of their parents, and it’s why I always urge my clients to relax, enjoy and have fun at the happiest places on Earth!

I include more tips for allowing kids to relax here and tips for a stress-free family photo session with toddlers here!

Time is our most precious resource

There is nothing more important than our cherished life experiences and the love we feel for our family.

It’s my job as an expert family photographer to put you at ease during our time together. It’s my job as an artist to naturally and easefully pull out the joy and excitement and love that you already have for your loved ones and then document those moments for you to cherish later on. It’s my talent, my purpose, my gift to place beautiful, timeless works of art, of real and honest documented moments in your hands, so that you can look back on for years and years to come. I’m so excited to help tell your story! 

Family Vacation Photos at Disneyland Paris

If you are ready to book a lifestyle photo session at Disneyland Paris with me, please send me an email at or fill out the contact form here!

Are you looking for a Disneyland Paris Family Vacation Photographer?

Are you planning a family vacation to Paris and looking for a lifestyle photographer to document your adventures together? If you love my bright and airy style and value candid, real and emotive family portraiture, then I’m your girl! I travel all over France for my amazing clients. Please inquire here for session details and to see if I’m available for your vacation dates!

Family Films – Disneyland Paris Vacation Photographer

Planning a Family Vacation at Disneyland Paris?

Check out my Youtube review videos on Disneyland Paris. I told ya I was a mega Disney nerd!

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I'm Helena, your new kindred spirit.

Sunny free-spirit, writer and creator in love with documenting the simple joys of life. I am passionate about noticing light and truth around me and reflecting it back to others.

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