Project 52

Assignment 30 - One Red Balloon

Concept photography...it requires a bit of imagination, and lately, I'm lacking in imagination.  I need to get back into it, as we'll be focusing on concepts for the next four weeks.  This week's assignment was to shoot one red balloon.  No layout, no specifications, just one red balloon.  I was at a bit of a loss.  My only idea was to buy a helium balloon at the local strip mall, ask passersby (is that a word?) to pose with the balloon, and make a collage of all the portraits.  Then the fear of asking at least 12 absolute strangers to let me take their picture overcame me, and I started to do some brainstorming.

My first idea was a birthday party scene.  I bought confetti and other party supplies while I was getting the balloon, and purchased some cupcakes at the grocery store while buying provisions for lunch.  I assembled a birthday party on my studio table top and used the window to provide light.  No need for complicated lighting setups.  Here is the outcome:

I felt as though the one red balloon was more of a supporting character versus the headline actor, so I moved on to a couple other ideas.  My second thought was the red balloon standing bold and vibrant in front of a mirror, but the reflection was a droopy, sad, blue balloon.  The concept being you may appear strong on the outside, but feeling very sad on the inside.  Because at first the image on the left seemed too plain and simple, I woke up the following day and set up a similar scene in one of our bedrooms (image below right). 

I had one final concept I wanted to try.  A few years back, I learned how to make water drop photographs.  You basically put water drops (a mixture of water and glycerin) on an object, in this case a balloon string, and set the subject behind the drops.  You need to use a macro lens to focus on the subject refracting in the water.  In order to get the subject right side up in the water drop, I had to hang it upside down.   I put the red balloon behind the drops, a softbox to the left and a white card to the right.  You can see the reflection of the softbox on the left of the waterdrop.

This technique takes some patience, as the drops never want to sit on the string long enough to get a decent picture, and it involves A LOT of focusing and refocusing, because the slightest movement throws everything out of focus.  The concept here was making one red balloon into a bunch of water balloons.  Here is the final image:

After not having a clue what I was going to shoot, I was overwhelmed with ideas.  I had to put it up for a group vote on my project Facebook page to see which one the others' in the project preferred.   The "Likes" and Comments were vastly in favor of the simple image in the mirror with just the red and blue balloons, so I submitted that one.

Next week's assignment is another concept shot: Soft.  This one comes with a layout for a display near a cash register.  We weren't told what the product is, just that the image had to portray "soft."  I'm hoping to have ideas for the shoot well in hand before I have to shoot it next Saturday.  We'll see how that goes...