Saturday, December 29, 2012

Creating Your Own NYE Party Photo Booth

I love New Years Eve. Truly, I do. I come from the city that prides itself on being the "New Years Capital of the World". The Sydney Fireworks are something else & it's great to be out and about in the middle of all that energy. There is something infectious about thousands of revelers smiling happily and counting down the new year together. So much so, that you are willing to deal with the dreaded trek home in the wee hours of the morning with those thousands of other people that you suddenly want to disappear so you can get home quicker.

This year, I will be celebrating NYE in Los Angeles. A far cry from the summer heat of Sydney, NSW, Australia. Since there are no Harbour Bridge's with sail like Opera Houses in the background, gracing the city skyline... fireworks appear to not be the big thing here. (Putting this out there... Disney Concert Hall??? Marina Del Rey?? Fireworks?? No?? Come on LA!) I will be celebrating NYE at a good friends home in Santa Monica. As my friend is renovating her home in the new year, she is OK with having many people come through her home for this party. What a gem.

My friend, whose name is Cori, is fabulous with party planning and coming up with great ideas. This year for NYE we are throwing a "Lucky 13 and Superstition NYE Party" to ring in 2013. Cori came up with that. Genius. Of course, this leaves me with one suggestion for which I get excited about. Photo booth! Not the hire kind either. The make-our-own-kind to suit our party.

I've made photo booths before for my husbands birthday, friends birthdays and even a Lomography LA trunk show. They can be a lot of fun and keep the party interesting. I will be using all my own gear and I for one have no problem in running it. We can open and close the photo booth throughout the night as we see fit. Running a photo booth is work but it's a great way to actually meet most of the guests (if I haven't already met some of them before) without having to start up a conversation about the weather.

You will need: 

Designated space to run the photo booth. I suggest a place against a wall that is out of the way of traffic even a spare room. 
DSLR Camera. I use my trusty Canon 5DII with 28-70mm lens with CF memory cards, lots of batteries I also bring my battery charger.
2 lights. I use my photoflex starlite kit (these are hot lights, I have both tungsten and fluorescent bulbs, for the party I suggest fluorescents as the tungsten lights can make that room a little hot)
1 Flash. Speedlite
Remote I prefer to not touch the camera as much as possible, once it is set, I leave it so. 
Background/Backdrop I've ordered one before, the rest I have made. I tend to not use stands at parties as they take up room and room is what we need the most. If I can mount the BG onto a wall, I'm laughing.
Laptop to Dump Cards Onto. I don't shoot tethered as we get lots of shots and it keeps the booth moving. 
Memory Card Reader For dumping data
Portable Hard Drive: why use up your laptop space
Software Editing Program: I use Lightroom. I always test my booth first and then through trial and error I will create a preset in lightroom for editing. That way, once I import all my images, I can apply the preset and be done. You don't want to create any additional work for yourself. If you are shooting this for paying client, you may want to review the photos in more detail in case you want to touch up individuals images.
PROPS!!! This not only carries on the theme of your photo booth, it helps people loosen up and have fun with the photo booth. At first some people might be shy, but after a couple of drinks and in round two you'd be surprised at who opens up. 

Creating The Background/ Backdrop

At one party; I had ordered a background wall scene from a party supply store online and it worked perfectly. It fit the theme of our party and it required little effort to set up. Those backgrounds are quite thin, so I suggest adding a backing to it. I have a selection of paper backdrops for portrait sessions so I used a white one and then mounted it to my wall in my home office. Here is an example from this party.
3 light set up. Hot lights on each side with flash in the middle

For another party, the host had a theme called "Digital Dolls" and wanted to have the background designed out like a circuit board. I didn't have much time to prepare for this booth as I had been busy with work, so while the back ground was fun, I know that in future I could do a more realistic looking backdrop and go into true detail of a circuit board.

We used black background paper and fluorescent 1" gaffer tape (yay for my AC kit) to give the idea. We ordered a black light and I used just the black light with the flash, slowed the shutter down & below is what we got.

Having less light meant that the eyes & skin tones look darker.

We slowed down the shutter on the camera to pick up the glow from the black light.

As you can see, the back ground was fun, it did the trick, but we could do much better next time.

Setting Up

Once you have sussed out your booth location, mount the background to the wall. Ensure that your host or home owners are OK with you taping anything to the wall. In my case, I have quite a large selection of camera and gaffer tape on hand so thats what I used. I suggest camera tape if you are worried about marking the wall. 

Mount the camera on the tripod, attach the flash & remote. Check your framing, you want to save yourself editing. Put your two hot lights to either side of the booth (if required) and position according to your set up. Regarding settings, TEST TEST TEST!! Each time I have created a photo booth the settings have been different, so test your set up first a day or two earlier. By doing this you can also run your test images through your editing software, in my case Lightroom and create a pre-set of edits so when you import your images, you can batch edit all the pics and then later go through them all individually to see which ones worked sharing on social media. 

When my memory card would get close to full or max out, I would download the data onto my laptop while shooting new images. If you stick to dumping and shooting only, you can worry about importing to LR at a later time. That way it won't slow you down. If you want to import into LR on the day, I find having dumped the footage already on the hard drive and then importing without moving the images is a much faster process. Run a batch from your preset and your basic edit is done.  

Last but not least. Don't forget to add your props to a box or basket at the floor of your photo booth. May I suggest rummaging through old halloween costumes to find such accessories. Ensure you know where on the ground to tell people to not step beyond (so they remain in the frame) and you're good to go!! 

A note: I use hot lights because that's what I own. You can use any kind of lighting, get creative with it, share it with me. I would love to see how other people approach shooting photo booths. By no means am I telling you that this is the only way to do a photo booth, this is just the way I do mine.

After The Party 

After you're done editing, you can easily share your images online through social media or if you have a website, using that. If you're feeling extra generous, you could set up a small printer to give everyone their image at the end of the night. Although, truthfully, I haven't done this. It is an added expense. There was one photo booth I did for Lomography LA, where we shot the photo booth with the Diana F+ with Fuji Instax, (you could even use Fuji's own instant camera) giving everyone their image immediately and saving you from editing. It just depends on what your budget is too. Instax is fun but it adds up, it retails at $24.90 per 20 shots.

So wish me luck with my NYE photo booth. I did my test today with a friend and we feel that we are heading in the right direction. I'm very excited about ringing in the new year in a new location with my "newer friends" (They are not that new, I've just never celebrated NYE with them), so with or without the fireworks of Sydney Harbour, we will have a RIPPER of a time.

In the mean time. Have a wonderful new year celebration and if you do any photo booth work, share it with me, I would love to see it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Media In Our Image

I was so very pleased a few months back when Sarah Ledesma, a fellow creative, muse and friend contacted me about working with Johanna Blakely, Veronica Jariqui, & herself on a social media campaign to accompany an article Blakely would be writing on social media and gender for the Womens Studies Quarterly VIRAL issue titled Media In Our Image.

It was a wonderful collaborative process, which I feel truly lucky to be part of. To be working with forward thinking women on a topic that is relatively new was exciting. When you hear Johanna speak, she has key points that make you wonder why no one has addressed these till now.

It was here that I also really learned to appreciate the value of social media platform Pinterest, which we used as an ideas board to get across the idea that we were after. Having something so visual to reference was key and I can imaging it would be a fabulous tool for everyone, esp artists working with clients.

However the real story lies with Johanna, I very much encourage you to read her blog from the Norman Lear Center Here.  Every women (and man) who uses social media should read this and keep up to date with her talks & publications. A note, Johanna has done two TED talks, both worth watching, check them out here. check it out: Media In Our Image

Friday, June 15, 2012

Back to work

Louis Vuitton ceiling on the Champs Elysees

I've just returned from a 3 week holiday in Europe, visiting England, France & Italy. It has been a wonderful journey both personally, exploring new cultures, photographically cause... well let's be honest. Can anyone take a bad photo in Europe? and finally, my husband and I had the opportunity to see some dear friends.

As mentioned earlier in a previous post, we did go to see the Helmut Newton exhibit at the Grand Palais. It was a real treat, seeing his work in gigantic print. The collection did not disappoint. If you have an opportunity to see it before it closes, GO! I did shoot on film and while I have my Paris pictures back I'm still awaiting the Italy & England pictures from A&I, which I only dropped off yesterday.

Excitingly now, I'm in final preparations for my B&W class at Julia Dean. It's going to be a fun week!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Scanning Black And White As Colour.

©Jasmine Lord 2012

I work with some rather amazing photographers at Lomography. I feel rather privileged that I do. Even though I teach here and there when my schedule permits, part of what I can't let it go of, isn't just about sharing knowledge about their rad fun cameras, it's the people. One lomographer (there are many) whose work I admire very much, is Satomi Sugiyama. Satomi is based in LA and you'll find her often in the lab at the West Hollywood Lomography Gallery Store. Satomi's attention to detail is sharp and her knowledge of film is phenomenal. I will blog more about her incredible body of work another time. For now I would like to share something interesting that she shared with me.

I have, for sometime, steered clear of C41 black and white processed film. I find it bland. Really bland. I just plan don't like it. Till now. I saw a series of images from a collection Satomi was working on called Nightmare and her pictures had this green tinge to it. Anybody who knows Satomi knows that none of her work is has had photoshop correction done to it. EVER. It's almost like it's against her religion. Everything she does is in camera. (again, I would love to get her permission to share her work rather than just talk about it, so I promise a future article to come)

I had to ask... what stock she used? It was Ilford XP2, which needs C41 processing. Satomi then explained to me that she had the images scanned and printed in colour, resulting in the green tinge. The results looked great and suddenly there was new life to C41 B&W film stock.

So I took the image you see above on Kodak 400 C41, the same day I was testing pushing the TriX from 400 to 1600. I then sent the negative to Satomi via the Lomography Gallery Store & had it scanned in colour...and this is what I got back. I have to say, I'm pretty excited about it. I have more experimenting to do with it. I had actually forgotten what stock was in my SLR, it had been that long since I shot with it, so now I would like to go out and run more tests.

I defiantly recommend giving it a go yourself. As for Satomi's work, check out her recent stuff on, in the meantime, I'll see if I can get her to agree to an artist interview. ;-)

Happy shooting!!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Polly Chandler

Polly Chandler is fine art photographer whose work I truly admire. I was first introduced to Polly last year while in Chicago for the Filter Photo Festival. Two pieces of mine had been selected for exhibit at the Black Cloud Gallery and I thought why not make the most of the festival by attending some of the seminars and workshops. The seminar I went to first was Polly's talk on the Inner Narrative. Something I am yet to master.

Polly's work is mysterious and sometimes sad, but not in the negative way. It's haunting, but there is a peace with it. It's moody. Drawing on her own emotional journey through life Polly really has mastered the telling of story in her images.

Shooting on polaroid with large format cameras with shift & tilt lenses it's hard to not be in awe of her body of work and inspired to try the equipment for yourself. Although Polaroid film is not longer being made, the resourceful artist has access to some making the rather smart large bulk purchase when polaroids game was up. When I last spoke with Polly she had been working on a series called You Build It Up, You Build It Down, that was inspired by the lyrics of Tom Wait's songs. To my knowledge a set gallery is not on her website, however she does have images up on her facebook.

I thoroughly encourage you to visit her site and marvel at her work. Polly Chandler is a true fine art photographer and it's hard to not be inspired by her work.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Tweets & A New Gallery

Can you believe it? I've actually started a twitter account. Not that I feel that I need to write anything more on other social media platforms, a dear friend recommended it to connect with like minded photographers and keep the inspiration going. So I guess this is where I am meant to say, follow me @JasLordPhoto.

Twitter will be strictly be used for photo/cine related posts.

©Jasmine Lord 2012

In other news, I have a new gallery at Jasmine Lord Photography. The gallery show's a very small collection of my work taken on a camera phone that I'm quite fond of. As much as I get frustrated when I see people on the run way shooting shows on ipads or iphones, they are great little tools and the editing software that is available for the masses is phenomenal.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Amber Heard For Equality by Tasya van Ree

I'm a huge fan of LA artist Tasya van Ree and I feel silly that I only now have just watched some of her video work. This one in particular is beautiful and I thought to share it with you as this weeks bit of inspiration.

Friday, June 01, 2012

We Are Handsome

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Sydney label We Are Handsome.

So here it is in all it's glory, their first runway show in Sydney.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Akira Show

Here is a little something I shot from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

AKIRA. A truly beautiful collection.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

St Pancras Grand International

Yesterday we arrived at Heathrow Airport from LAX excited & ready to board the Eurostar for Paris. London put on a glorious day for our arrival & while we didn't stop to see the sights, our arial view from above as we landed didn't disappoint. It struck me how green & scenic England is. Having arrived early our flight circled London for 20 minutes before landing. Talk about taking it all in. We boarded the train at St. Pancras international (pictured) & the stations majestic ceiling is something to be marveled.

Of course I have been shooting away on my trusty SLR, so far using 400 tri-x. I had no issues with security in LAX asking for a film check as I'm traveling with the now unavailable Neopan 1600. All was well until we went to board the Eurostar. Security wouldn't let me through without x-raying my negatives. The 400 & 50 I wasn't happy about but was prepared to let it go (begrudgingly). But the Neopan 1600 I fought (kindly) tooth & nail for. You see it's my last roll. I haven't got immediate access to any more. Maybe some hardcore searching on eBay might turn something up but I wasn't going to risk it. The claim from security is that their X-ray can scan up to 3200 with no issue.

I wasn't prepared to find out the hard way.

After a few jabs at how I might already have faulty stock (security blaming fuji) or a bad camera (not 3 days ago when I checked my latest roll of processed film) I got upset. Really, is this their selling point?

Needless to day I will head right to Lomography Paris today to develop one of my rolls to see how it held up.

Fingers crossed that modern technology is as good as they say.

All photos copyright: Jasmine Lord 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tulip Eiffel Tower

Well the time is finally here, I am packed and ready to go! Armed with some decent threads (hey I have to be stylish in Europe) some film, a camera and my husband, I'm ready to go to Paris and take it all in.

So I leave you with a spring time image of Paris, a multiple exposure of the a tulip over the Eiffel Tower taken from Sebastian Erras on a Hasselblad 500 C/M. He used Kodak Ektachrome 64. Check it out here: Tulip Eiffel Tower.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Year Without Clothes

A Year Without Clothes- My husband introduced me to this fabulous blog by "Sylvia and Lucky" Muse and Photographer, where both partner up to take two shots of Sylvia, one clothed and the other nude. They appear to shoot as often as possible and are currently on day 91 of their project. It's a fantastic concept and it's well executed. Each set up/idea seems simple yet it's complex. You can tell a lot of work goes into these shots. Attention to detail is obvious and you can't help but want to see all the images in one big giant coffee table book. Check it out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Naked Foods Cookbook

Some things are just meant to happen for a reason. Call it kismet, fate, luck or chance, a couple of years ago I was introduced to a woman whom I believe has changed my life. Her name is Margaret Floyd.

I had received an email from Margaret needing an urgent headshot of herself done for a biography page on the back of a book that she had just written called "Eat Naked. I had been recommended by Dave Waite, of Zookeeper, whom I had worked with on a previous job.

It was a rather exciting prospect, shooting something that would go to print in a book, that book would be distributed to every major book store in North America. We shot the photos in Culver City one afternoon with some greenery as the back ground. Considering the theme of the book (Eating unprocessed un-polluted foods) & Margaret's message, natural light, natural green back grounds seemed like a no brainer for the photograph.

You can imagine my surprise when I received word from Margaret that the publisher was going to run the image as the cover of the book.

This became the start of a wonderful partnership. Margaret explained to me that there was another book in the works and that images might be required for it. Being incredibly proud of the situation, I purchased the book as soon as I could. But then I read it. On a side note, diet has been and always will be a major part of my life. I've lost weight previously on Jenny Craig, which was great for me at the time. It helped guide me to a better place than where I was regarding my health & body image. I've read my fair share of diet books, articles and opinions. One book in particular (that shall not be named) made the New York Times best seller list and its chic cover & title drew me to buy it. While some of the arguments made sense, it became very apparent that it was a vegan book and it all became annoying and too preachy for me. Eating meat is a personal choice & those choices should be respected both ways.

Eat Naked made sense to me. It was informative, with honest real facts and a no nonsense attitude that respected peoples beliefs when it comes to meat and dairy. I recommend the book to everyone. I can never do it justice to explain to you how it has effected my own life. But for someone who has dieted her whole life, I can tell you, that I have never felt or been healthier and I don't count calories or get worried about those scales. I do care about the quality of food that goes into my body and that makes a huge difference for me.

In 2011, Margaret, Chef James Barry of Wholesome to Go and myself started the process that was to become a series of shoots for the Naked Foods Cook Book. What made the second book so interesting was now I was emotionally invested, because I believed in it's principles and the message.

We shot at local farmers markets, in two kitchens, in my house to get the coverage we believed necessary for the new book. What I feel very fortunate for was that I was able to witness first hand how to do these recipes for myself. My approach to the shoots were similar to the first one. Keep it natural, keep it real. Many people ask me if I am a food photographer, I wouldn't answer that as yes. Commercial food photography is another thing all together. For a start, you would never be able to eat what you are shooting. There are all types of glues and agents used for that type of photography. It takes many hours and the talent of someone who specialises in that field. That person is not me. I take photos of real food, when asked. I will light it and take my time and ensure it's presented nicely, but it was important for me that the food Margaret & James were preparing was truthfully represented to their reader.

Just this month, The Naked Foods Cookbook was released in print and for kindle on Amazon. All throughout the book are images from the kitchen, farmers market & prepared dishes for readers to enjoy. It's a nice sense of accomplishment for everyone involved and it's make me eager to grow and do even more.

Mostly, what I have gotten out of the whole experience, isn't just nutritional education, I have also gained new friends and that's one of the most rewarding parts of what I do for a living. Meeting wonderful people who enrich your life. Photographers & Cinematographers are so lucky because we get to meet some amazing people and see some rather wonderful places. So check it out, if you buy the book in paperback, the images are in black and white, however if you buy the book on a kindle... you will see the images in their glorious colour. Check it all out at

Monday, May 21, 2012

Up Coming Events

I'm thrilled to be teaching at Julia Dean Photo Workshops again this summer, not once, but twice. I will reprise my class "Having Fun with Toy Camera's for Teens" which I am rather excited about, but also I will be teaching a new class "Shooting 35mm Film SLR Cameras for Teens"

It's been a fun journey researching and compiling the new class together. I can't wait to meet my students. The whole process has inspired me to shoot more. Testing certain stocks for the class has been lots of fun. Most recently I've been playing with Kodak Tri-X after a bit of a hiatus on the creative front. These past six months I've been genuinely busy with work, which is great, however I feel my journey as a creative photographer hit a rather stale path. With renewed enthusiasm I'm now learning from these frustrating moments to shoot new material for my projects. In the last few years I've been so excited about my beloved Ilford Delta B&W stock that I haven't really given myself a chance to explore Tri-X, so I figure, now is my chance. In a test shoot recently with friend, fellow creator & muse Sarah Ledesma, I set up a series of indoor shots, used 400 speed stock, rated it to 1600 ISO, Rebel G body and L series 24-70mm lens and shot away. I'm pushing the stock by 2 stops (something I haven't done on this stock yet) to see how it holds up. On a side note, I'm considering Tri-X as my shooting stock for when I head to Europe in a week. I'm yet to decide if I am shooting on the Argus (a rangefinder that once belonged to my husbands paternal grandmother) or my trusty Rebel G with Diana F+ lenses. The later is currently being tested & the Argus is currently having a service done. Fingers crossed the service is done before I depart.

A colleague in Santa Monica has made a very generous offer to lend me a rather good quality rangefinder as well. I will pay him a visit this week to have a look at the camera. There is something hopelessly romantic about black and white photos of Paris. In Paris I will be reunited with dear friend and muse Kate Feldman and while our time together will be limited and busy, she as always makes for a fabulous subject and is fearless when I ask something of her.

Excitingly, I have just received word that a retrospective of the talented Helmut Newton's work will be on display in the Grand Palais, Paris while I am there.  Clearly, attending is now a priority as since his death in 2004 there has been no such exhibit of his work done.

Click on the link to check out the glory of the Helmut Newton Foundation to see & learn about this master of photography.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A little inspiration

I have neglected my page and forgotten to inspire. With life feeling overwhelmed by an excess of various social media platforms it's easy to drop off for a bit while testing out new grounds... well, in my case it is. However, I always come back to blogger. While my posts are few and far between, I am determined to gain momentum again and keep sharing all that is inspiring.

Todays inspiration comes from a PR video (don't run, it's really lovely) that I just watched for SilverFX. Joel Tjintjelaar, whose stunning B&W photography, which I am sure you have seen before, truly leaves me breathless. I wont ramble too much, just check out his wonderful images.