Monday, 30 September 2013

Photo Booth Fun with a "tickle trunk"?

Are you looking for something to add some fun to your wedding reception, charity event or birthday party? A Photo Booth is a great way to have some fun and liven things up!

Lot's of fun in a photo booth, especially if you have some props!Photo booths have been a source of entertainment for years. Remember those booths where you would draw the curtain, pay your money, count down as the flash went off a few times and then pull a little strip of images out of the slot? Those photo strips have become an icon of the instant photo age. 

These days, the same concept has become mobile in a variety of fun ways that are sure to entertain your guests at whatever gathering you are planning. And there are different kinds of photo booths too, though they all operate in a very similar way, so you can pick the one that best suits your event. 

Guest Book Photo Booth

A lot like the traditional photo booth, where there is an actual "booth" - usually a curtained off area with a camera and a printer - these are set up a fee. You pay by the hour and a couple of people will staff the booth and manage the guests. Photos are printed instantly in duplicate. One goes to the guest and the other goes in an album where the guest can write a message.

This is a great way for wedding guests to leave comments and fun messages for a bride and groom at their reception, and the book makes a fantastic keepsake.

Do it  yourself Photo Booth

If you can't afford a professional photo booth, why not set one up yourself? Set up a background - a simple sheet or curtain will do - hung from a simple PVC pipe frame or other square frame (a clothes rack for instance). Set up your camera on a tripod with the timer setting set for 10 seconds. Post instructions for people to get ready, press the button and count to 10. Or find a friend who will take the photos for you.

Use a flash to help guests know when each image is taken and have fun!

You'll get some great pictures. If you find the right person to do it for you at a wedding, or just have some fun with it at a birthday party, you will have some really funny images to share on Facebook or Flickr, or whatever your favorite site is.

Slow motion Photo Booth

As video becomes more available on today's cameras, the latest thing in photo booths has come; the "slow motion" photo booth. Along with all the usual silly props, a supply of confetti cans, sparklers and other motion props are added. A short piece of video is shot while the guests do some crazy things - slap each other, give a kiss, jump up and down or generally have some fun together. The video is slowed down and edited into a recap that can be very entertaining. To get really good slow motion, the best are shot on equipment worth many thousands of dollars and the rental of these booths can be very expensive, but they do add an extra zing to otherwise "static" pictures.

Portrait Photo Booth

If your event is a little more on the serious side, consider a portrait photo booth. This can be set up as a small studio space where guests and families attending your event can have their portraits taken. If your family comes together only every few years, this can be a wonderful way to capture all of you at the same time. The photos can be posted on-line and your family can order prints of whichever family groups they want for their own album!

You don't have to get dressed up either. Whatever the dress code is for your event, that can be the theme of the photos.

Gary's Lens will come to your event and set up this kind of booth. Operated by a photographer with the use of a background and Studio Lighting, it can provide some wonderful, on the spot keepsake portraits of your family.

"Tickle Trunk" photo booth

Well, maybe I'm showing my age by calling it a "tickle trunk" (From Mr. Dressup if you remember the show) but this is my favorite type of photo booth, and another one that Gary's Lens Photography provides. 

An area at your event is set up with a backdrop of your choice (usually plain white, gray or black, but it could also be a painted scene), along with studio lights. A variety of "props" are provided in a box, from which your guests can choose. They can dress oddly, write a message on a whiteboard or just stand casually in front of the camera. A photographer is provided to encourage people to be themselves, or even better, to act a little crazy and snap the photo at just the right moment.

This is a great addition to a "mustache" or other themed party as the guests can have photos of themselves in their mustaches or crazy outfits to take home or order later. Since all the photos are posted on the same viewing/ordering site, everyone will get a laugh at looking at everyone else's photo!

Just have some fun!

Whatever kind of photo booth you consider, the main goal is the same - to have some fun in a way that will make some special memories and bring some laughs or smiles. And in the end, that's one of the most rewarding things about photographs. Memories that bring smiles.

(c) 2013 Gary Scott - Gary's Lens Photography

Monday, 23 September 2013

My photographer wore a red striped shirt.

Remember the last time you watched a live television show like "Dancing with the Stars"? Did you spot the camera operators? Probably not. They try very hard not to be in the line of site of another camera. Usually unseen, if you do happen to spot one, they are dressed all in black and fade into the background.

Sadly, I have attended weddings as a guest where it seemed the wedding photographer felt they were the real star of the show. They wore bright clothes that stood out, and took every opportunity to stand in the view of the guests who were there to witness the union. One in particular I remember wore a bright red and white striped shirt!

Can you spot the photographer? In this intimate ceremony, it is pretty
obvious when you know where to look,but not so obvious at first
 glance. This photo was taken by my 2nd Photographer Ruby Parhar.
While the wedding photographer should be expected to be everywhere, taking images of as much of your event as possible, they should also be discrete about their presence. Unless specifically sanctioned by the bride and groom, Interrupting the ceremony to get the shot is generally not acceptable.



I usually talk to my couples about their level of comfort regarding my visibility. Are they OK with me occasionally popping up to get a good picture - of the rings being exchanged for instance - or would they prefer that I stay in the background and use a longer lens to get the shots? And I am guided accordingly.

It can also be very difficult to know what your photographer will wear on your wedding day, and even harder to know how they will act. Unless you have had the opportunity to see the photographer at work at another wedding, you can't really be sure. One way is to ask for references from other brides, but not all brides appreciate being called by a photographers' future clients. 

It doesn't hurt for you to suggest to your photographer that you prefer they be dressed appropriately and define exactly what that means to you. Their perception of appropriate may not be the same as yours. Do you prefer they rent a tux? wear a suit? business casual? or is your wedding a jeans and t-shirt affair?

Probably the best way to be dressed is similar to the other guests. These days, business casual is generally appropriate; a darker coloured open necked shirt and black pants are comfortable to work in and give good mobility when handling the cameras, but still are professional and unobtrusive. 

Of course, if your wedding is themed and you are asking your guests to dress a certain way, be sure to let the photographer know as well!

(c) 2013 Gary Scott - Gary's Lens Photography

Monday, 16 September 2013

Should your wedding photographer be just a wedding photographer?

Wedding rings on a Bible taken at the bride's home before the wedding
(c) Gary Scott

When is a wedding photographer not a wedding photographer? When they are at a wedding!

I've heard it said that you want to hire a wedding photographer who just does weddings. The thought being; you want them to be the best at what they do, right? 

Consider for a moment the kinds of photographs your wedding photographer is going to take at your average wedding. You might be surprised at all the "kinds" of photographers he has to be that day.

At any given moment, he might be a:

  • Event Photographer - well, that goes without saying - they are photographing your wedding; an event.
  • Portrait Photographer - when you are being technically posed, getting just the right light and producing that magnificent portrait you will hang on your grandchild's wall.
  • Photojournalist - when they are capturing those moments as people interact at the receiving line, or as they get a little more plastered at the reception.
  • Artist - as they paint that odd angled shot in window light and include elements from your table centers in an artistic, expressionistic perspective.
  • Nature Photographer - capturing that idyllic setting you chose for your photo session
  • Commercial Photographer - As they take photos of your tables in the reception hall - empty and inviting.
  • Architectural Photographer - As they take a photo of the church or building where you are married
  • Panoramic Photographer - as they capture a wide angle of your guests gathered outside or inside.
  • Stock Photographer - as they photograph your presents or your rings.
  • Travel Photographer - on location at your wedding site
  • Street Photographer - capturing you going about the business of getting ready.
  • Time Lapse Photographer - really we shoot video, just at a very slow frame rate...

Yes, I admit there are a lot of other photography disciplines that a wedding photographer will likely never need - when will they use microscopic photography? Although macro photography comes in really handy with those tiny rings. Yet, with every form of photography a wedding photographer has up their sleeves, he adds another tool in his bag that might just be the right one to pull off that unique and perfect shot.

Perhaps in the day when you only shot a dozen rolls of film (12 x 24=288 total photos) you didn't really feel a need to capture everything, but these days where it is common to shoot well over 1000 images at the average wedding, the coverage is far greater, and the skills required are much broader.

I love to photograph weddings, but I don't just limit myself to the bride and groom. There are plenty of things around you that make up the day; things the bride has taken special care to select and place. I do my level best to capture all of them, and I use all of the forms of photography I know, not just event photography.

So when you go looking for a wedding photographer, don't just look at their stunning posed photos - although those are certainly important - be sure to look at their photos of the rings, and the dress, and the flowers in the church, and the church itself, and ... well, you get the picture(s).

(c) 2013 Gary Scott - Gary's Lens Photography