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It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To

2020 has left my life party-less and I’m sick of it. I love parties. I love the decorations, the lights, and the outfits. So, when I laid eyes on a beautiful pack of streamers at Target one night, I knew it was time to execute the closest thing to a party I could think of: a party-themed photoshoot. I spent the next few minutes searching the aisles to find other items I could use for the concept. After a few unnecessary purchases and a brainstorm session in the center of the store, I was ready for the challenge.


Back in my apartment, I worked out the logistics, collected a few more props and contacted my friend, Faith, who I had talked to previously about doing a shoot. Once everything fell into place, I got to work constructing the set.


The Set

For the background, I broke out my new Olive Green Seamless Background Paper from Savage and attached a strip of holographic fringe to it. The fringe picked up the green from the paper and some of the other colors in the room to create a very fun, water like background.



A detail I failed to take into account was the method in which I would stick the fringe to the paper. Tape was not an option as I didn’t want to rip the paper backdrop which also ruled out the adhesive that came on the fringe. I thought maybe I could clip it to the backdrop but it wasn’t nearly long enough. After many attempts and bad ideas, 10 sticky notes ended up being the best option. Even so, it still fell every few minutes and I had to constantly adjust it.


Next was lighting. I experimented for a while before I landed on a set-up that I loved. On the left side of the set, I had a softbox at about half brightness directly facing the subject and backdrop. On the right, I had an LED light with a blue color gel coming in at a 90 degree angle so it was only directly shining on the subject, not the backdrop. This ended up casting interesting blue shadows on about half of Faith’s face.



I’ve been shooting a lot of studio sessions lately and have gotten a little bored with just posing a person so I decided to try out some props. At Target, I purchased a helium tank and a pack of metallic blue, green and clear balloons to match the color palette I was curating.


Execution

Once I had a complete set, I invited Faith over to take some pictures. She brought several outfit options, including a black dress with puffy sleeves which ended up being my favorite on camera. Faith is a natural so posing was easy and the whole shoot flowed nicely. We shot for about 90 minutes and I took over 500 photos.


Editing

Then came editing. I weeded through the hundreds of pictures and chose ten to start editing. I first had to spend some time in Adobe Lightroom evening out the lighting. I used the brush and linear gradient tool to adjust settings such as exposure and highlights to get the lighting on Faith’s face exactly right. I own about 100 presets in Lightroom that I’ve found for free or purchased so next, I tried out a few before landing on one that brought out the blue tones well but didn’t look over processed. I applied those settings to all ten pictures and exported them.



Sharing

As soon as the pictures finished exporting, I immediately shared them with Faith and we both posted a few on Instagram. The response was amazing! I had multiple people reach out to compliment my work or ask to collaborate on future projects.


I am so proud of how they turned out and can’t wait to share more. To see all the edited photos, check out the full album!



2 Comments


Jennifer Burton
Jennifer Burton
Mar 03, 2021

Wow! One thing I just don't have a knack for as a photographer is studio work. And all the props you've had to buy! I just don't have a good sense for that. But you clearly do and I am jealous! What's the secret? Or should I just stick to my stregnths and move on?

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Your pictures turned out amazing! This is a perfect idea to relive our party days while being Covid safe. I would love to see more photoshoots on your blog. Also, I am a Delta Zeta at UT and my sisters would love to hear about your ideas.

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