Specialist Technique & Process 3 – New Years Eve Photobooth

31st December 2015

Equipment used:

Canon 5D mk iii
‘Studio’ backdrop (white sheet, clamps and black frame structure)
2x Elinchrom lights
2x Umbrellas – 1 white and 1 sliver (inside)
Connector wires

On New Years Eve we held a get together at mine and my flat mates flat. We wanted to provide a great night for everyone, and me, thinking photographically, I thought it would be good to have a Photo Booth set up for our guests, so that we had images as memories from the start to the new year. I sorted all of the set up out and we had a designated time in the evening to take some photographs. We even bought some props to make it more fun!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to get some photos of everyone just naturally having fun and dancing/chatting etc. I remembered the series “Weddings, Parties, Anything” by Nick Waplington and had that style in mind whilst photographing…

I feel this experience of setting up my own Photo Booth (and trying it out on friends first) gave me an insight into what this style of set up would require when used at an event in the future:

  • Fast shots – shooting very quickly and making sure all settings on camera and out of camera are set right to just be able to fire off shots
  • Bigger back drop – my white sheet wasn’t quite wide enough for group shots so this meant a lot of post process editing. I need to look into getting a more ‘sturdy’ backdrop too – not just using a cotton cloth. This was also an issue because people were wearing shoes e.g heels that would get caught sometimes on the backdrop and it was quite frustrating for the people being photographed – plus I had to keep putting the backdrop back to how it was – just to have it messed up again!
  • Triggers – I was shooting with connector wires and at times they randomly wouldn’t work because of the angle they were in – for example if I turned the camera to portrait or landscape they sometimes wouldn’t work and people were waiting around whilst I was trying to sort out the angle of the wire so I could shoot! This was a rather large inconvenience because people would do specific poses for shots and the lights wouldn’t go off and it was difficult to re-create these shots that were lost just because the connector wire wasn’t working properly. I am currently looking into purchasing some good quality triggers as they would make things so much easier!
  • Directing people – it was easier to direct people in their positioning because they were my friends and knew my intentions were good – however in future I need to get better at directing people I don’t know as well – being firm but fair

Nick Waplington research link (write up):


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