Monday, April 11, 2011

Fastest Photo Booth in Tampa Bay?

So, I was all set for the Father/Daughter Dance at McKitrick Elementary.  I was going to set up a portrait station with professional lighting (just like last year), only this year we would be printing every picture on site so that everyone would have a keepsake to take home to Mom.

The week before the dance I get an email from the school.  The demand for tickets was a little more than expected (oops!) and they were expecting over 500 people for the two-and-a-half hour dance.

Well, I like to think that I can work fast but I can't work THAT fast!

So, we converted to The Vogue Booth.  There are several key differences between a portrait station and The Vogue Booth.  With a portrait station you bring posing stools and big lights.  With The Vogue Booth there are no chairs and I use a ring flash.  Vogue Booth prints look more like a photo booth print (but better because of the ring flash).  No posing stool means we can shoot faster.

Technical note - "Ring Flash" is a flash that is shaped like a donut.  The camera lenses sticks right through the middle.  The effect is that you get direct flash on your subject but no shadow because the light is on the same plane as the lens.  It's frequently used for fashion photography.  "Esquire" magazine shoots almost all their fashion spreads with ring flash.

So the idea was that, instead of taking formal portraits, we would just be running The Vogue Booth.  The girls could come have pictures taken with their friends or whoever.

Of course, it didn't work exactly as planned.

Since we had a portrait station last year, everyone was trained to go straight to the photographer when they arrived.  We had a big line.  Luckily, thanks to the speed of The Vogue Booth and the lovely Bobbi bagging my prints, we were able to photograph all the Dads and Daughters and still have time for lots of fun, photo booth pictures.

There were several military Dads there in full-dress uniforms which I thought was very cool.  Then, about halfway through the night a little girl stepped up to get a picture with her dad, only her dad wasn't there.  I didn't get the details but I can only assume that he's stationed overseas because his daughter had brought a big, blow-up picture of him.  She wasn't going to let a little thing like thousands of miles stop her from getting a picture with her daddy at the dance.  We had to shoot it twice to get it right but it turned out great. At a glance it looks like he is really there.

When the night was done, we had set a new record (the old record was set last year).  380 prints in less than 3 hours!

It was great fun and hopefully we will be back again next year.

Booray Perry is a wedding and portrait photographer in Tampa FL.