Standing in front of Cinderella Castle in the evening is a real magical experience, especially after the crowds clears out. For photographers, this is the perfect setting to take long exposures and “have our way” with the shot. Over the past few years I have caught the photography bug. To make matters worse, I’ve combined one hobby with my other obsession, Disney. I’ve heard many say that Disney Photography is a match made in heaven. A Disney theme park provides a great photo opportunity at every corner, thanks to the hard work and creativity of the Imagineers. There are lots of photographers that specialize in Walt Disney World photography. Each photographer has their unique way of “capturing the magic” in the shot through editing and post processing. I am going to share my editing process on this shot of Cinderella Castle.
Straight out of the camera, this shot doesn’t look spectacular. The whites in the castle are a little blown out, the skies and foreground are underexposed, and the stage has this odd yellow glow to it. There is a bit of work to be done through post processing to get this shot the way I want it to look. First off, I shoot in a RAW format instead of Jpg. This allows the camera to store all the details in the RAW file which can then be pulled out using a photo editing software. I load this image into Adobe Lightroom and start to play with the sliders to see what the camera really captured.
The first slider I start to adjust is the exposure. Adjusting my exposure up will make my bright areas brighter, but will allow me to see what the camera captured in the darker areas. Adjusting the exposure down will do the complete opposite. For this shot I bumped up the exposure 1/2 EV because even though the Castle is overexposed, there are still a lot of details I want in the underexposed areas. Next I go into my shadows and highlights. I always adjust my shadows up and my highlights down. After making these adjustments, I add some clarity and saturation to bring out some of the reds and blues. This is looking a lot better than what I have but the image is still a bit on the warm side. I adjust the white balance to 4500k to tame down the yellows.
After fine tuning these values, I go into the Graduated Filters in Lightroom. I will then increase the exposure in the bottom of the shot, and then use graduated filters to adjust the white balance for the stage to reduce the yellowish cast that is still present even after my main white balance adjustment. I have gotten to a point where I am satisfied with the shot but there are still some things to spot correct.
Tinkerbelle wires will be removed along with what looks like lights from the wings of an airplane on approach for MCO. This is one small detail that I see a lot of photographers overlook with their Cinderella Castle shots. Removing the wires is usually a quick and painless process, and it makes the image look so much better (in my opinion). Before I am ready to export, I will usually go back and fine tune some settings like highlights, clarity, shadows, sharpening, and leveling the shot.
I really hope you enjoyed taking a peek at how I edited this shot. Thank you Aunesty for giving me the opportunity to share this write up. While this may have been a long read, the whole editing process for this shot took about 10 minutes from start to export.
I am Cliff Wang. I am a self taught amateur photographer that focuses on Disney Photography. I love being able to capture and share the magic of Disney with the community. To see more of my work, please visit Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/whoiscliffwang/) or my Facebook Page, Daily Disney Snapshots (https://www.facebook.com/DailyDisneySnapshots.