Alternative Prom Photography — Ideas & Tips for Truly Great Prom Photos


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Prom photo-ops have traditionally come in two flavors.

1) A camera-wielding parent on the front porch 2) The dude your high school hired arranging your arms into awkward poses.

You can shoot a mean photo, so why not try your hand at playing photographer for the night? For a kickstart, we put together a guide for prom photos that are as cool and fun as you are.

Learn how to levitate in photos or how to make your own photobooth for a post-prom party.

You only get to go to prom once (or twice, if you’re cool like that). So make photos that’ll wow your date and will be awesome to look at years later!

How to Take Awesome Prom Photos

Why it’s cool:

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We know it’s the end of the school-year, and you’ve got spring fever. But what better way to get summer started than with a burst of creativity with you and your friends looking your finest.

We searched for inspiration near and far, and came up with this list to help you break the mold. Go ahead, try some out!

Get Outside:

paint-smMove the photo shoot off the front porch. See what’s in the backyard or around the corner for a more rural or urban feel to your pics.

Apps like ShootLocal can help you find great locations right in your neighborhood.

If you’re a film buff, this site shows you locations of movie sets around the globe. There may be one closer than you think.

Frame it Up:

paint-smIt’s prom, right? A little cheese is okay. Use props to enhance your photos.

Find funky old frames at antique or thrift stores. A can of spray paint can really add some flare to your frame and give it a fresh new look.

Lean it against a nearby tree or pole, or have a friend hold it in place. Position your subjects inside of the frame for a fun picture within a picture.

Speaking of pictures within pictures…

paint-smAre you obsessed with instant film? So are we! Use an instant camera to take creative portraits.

Take a closeup of you and your date. Shake it like a polaroid picture, and when it’s ready, hold it up for the camera.

Check out these Instaxagrams for more ideas.

Float above the rest:

paint-smDon’t let gravity get you down. Get up and inspired by Natsumi Hayashi’s levitation photos.

Warning: This is not as effortless as it seems. You might have to take a few shots to get just the right one. We had our model jump several times until it looked natural.

Use a fast shutter speed (1/500 of a second) and take a lot of snaps. Watch this for some insight into the process and great tips on how to look like you’re levitating.

If you want to be more strategic (and less sweaty), here’s a tutorial on how to edit your photos using Photoshop to create the illusion of levitation.

Split it up:

paint-smWe’re totally fascinated with Lomokev’s fragmented portraits.

Try it out by taking 5 or 6 photos of a friend from head to toe, and collaging the photos together in a photo editor.

To maintain a proper perspective, keep the camera level with each part of the body, meaning get up high for the face and down low for the feet.

If you prefer analog, have prints made and put them together like a puzzle!

Use Creative Phoneography Apps:

paint-sm The best camera is the one that’s with you, right? Use photo booth apps on your phone to shoot some extra fancy snapshots.

We used ClassicBooth for the iPhone. If you’re an Android snapper, PocketBooth is one of our faves.

Did you say camera phone?

paint-smWhy not use them as a prop? Snap a quick pic of your date, and hold it up for all to see!

For more inspiration, check out Nate Bolt’s jumboltron project.

Follow us at our phoneography blog and our Instagram @photojojo for even more app suggestions!

Set up your own Photo Booth:

paper-smGrab some funky fabric to use as a backdrop. Check out your local fabric store, or borrow that awesome shower curtain from your bathroom.

String it up in a nice shady spot outside. Grab a tripod, and use the self-timer or remote shutter on your camera to take fun photos of you and your friends. (BTW, you can use your iPhone as a remote, too!)

Take it further

  • Animate your photo session. Make a gif of all your photos to share with your friends.
  • While you’re at it, try making a time lapse of you and your friends getting ready. This guy makes it quick and easy!
  • Late nights with friends are the perfect time to try some light painting. Use long exposures and flash lights, phones, or even sparklers to paint the night away. Here’s a guide!
  • Heading to some sweet after-parties? Use these Flash Filters to add color to your photos.
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