So as some might known or heard I was responsible for the Photo Booth at PTO School carnival at one of our local Elementary Schools. This is actually the third year in a row I done this and every year I have brought more and better equipment to get better shoots and minimize the post processing complications..
This can be pretty simple to do and the first year, I just used a simple smaller green screen that was hung up, my dSRL (not sure if I had my first SpeedLight at this point so unsure if I was just using on camera flash or not) mounted on a tripod and possibly just the on camera flash. All in all pictures came out decently well, had some problems with shadows and uneven light on the greenscreen so many shoots required some manual processing to make them look good.
The kids/parents would later get delivered a 4×6 print, and the cost was a single ticket (aprox 20-25c). This year I did it all out of my own pocket and did about 120 prints. It was more of a proof of concept. The kids and parents LOVED it.
So it came back the year after and I brought better flash green screen mounted in a stretch frame to keep it smooth.
Well THIS year, I brought it bigger and better, big green backdrop, one studio strobe and a 42″ octabox, speedlight used as background and hair light in a 2×2 softbox and use my small Nikon SB-R1 closeup flashes as small fill lights for the background.
Shows my setup. Utilizing a Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB card
in my camera, and my LG G-Slate android tablet’s hotspot feature as wireless AP (this year didn’t bring one) allows me to get the pictures instantly downloaded onto my laptop. Once downloaded I can easily open the image in PhotoShop and apply the selected background (out of the 5 backgrounds offered). For simplicity I had created action scripts in Photoshop so most pictures just needed:
- Open Image
- Run Right background script
- Run save script to create a file suitable for print
Now if that would be as simple as that unfortunately not all the time… This year I saw more green shirts and shirts with green in them than I seen previous years, but all in all the better light setup and bigger backdrop made manual tweaking far less necessary then previously.
Obviously I could have done the post processing in nice and calm at home afterwards but where is the fun in that? The kids and even their parents goes BIG GOOGLE eyed when they see the transformation on the laptop in front of them which takes less then two seconds. I quickly lost count of the amount of WOW. AWESOME and COOL exclamations I got from children and parents alike. To see their excitement is payment enough for me and the carnival income goes to give the children and teacher better working conditions and be able to have more fun activities. School is important and to keep the children excited and give teachers a hand in this is very important I think after all they are our future and will handle the world of tomorrow..
So here is a sample of one of the pictures from last night. This was a bit of a botch job by my assistant that took the picture. But the focus was nice on the subjects and well the surrounding environment is easy to fix, most important is the only thing that “touches” the subject is green color.
I plan on writing another article covering the Photoshop action scripts that I use and explain how you can build your own such scripts.