Photographing with Ballons
There are many projects that one can do if you really want to expand your photography horizon.
Balloons have been a favorite of kids for hundreds of years, from the moment they were first invented to today, and there are many photography projects that you can do using balloons.
The project involves using balloons filled with helium which you can get at most party supply stores and some discount centers. Then attach some small weights to the end of the string that keeps them from floating away into the air.
The next part of the project, once you have your balloons inflated, tied and weighed down is to place them on a lake, river, pond, pool or anywhere where you can submerge them while leaving about one or two feet of string above the surface of the water source.
Next you can either place a model in the middle of the balloon ensemble or photograph the balloons by themselves. It's up to you but variety gives you more latitude.
A grouping of balloons floating or rather appearing to rise up from the water is in itself a good image, placing a model in the midst, gives the scene an surreal look and feel to it.
Be creative with your set up. Often placing a fully dressed person in the scene gives the images that much interest. Try using balloons of one color and then re shooting the scene with balloons of different colors. Also try different perspectives like shooting at eye level, zoom in, wide angles and regular.
If finding a suitable water source is becoming difficult, then do the project without it but follow the same concept.
If water or any of the elements are not to your liking, then variations would be to simply pose your subject in unusual situations while interacting with balloons. A good example is to have a model stand up while their face is completely covered with balloons. The balloons take the center place and become the point of focus.
Another one is to have a person riding a bicycle while holding a bunch of balloons. Again the balloons take center stage and the person serves to ad interest to the shot. There are literary hundreds of variations, you just have to find the ones that fit your style. The balloons in essence become the main characters and anything else is just used to ad interest.
The good thing about this particular use for balloons is that you can get a decent amount of them for a relatively low price and the helium in them will last for about two days, depending on the heat. This gives you the opportunity of trying several ways of recording their image. Adding people makes the scene that much interesting but it is not paramount. However if you decide to mix people into the scene, try to go for the odd.
Looking at the sample image shows what one would not normally expect to see; a person dressed in a suit on a lake surrounded by balloons. If the person would have been wearing their swim trunks, then the scene could have run the chance of appearing normal and would probably not have elicited stares.
Another simple technique to make your images stand out is to pose your subjects against a strong back light such as during sunset. Your main subject will probably show as a silhouette and so will the balloons, but because the balloons are translucent, the light takes on the color of each balloon and this clearly shows on the photographs.
Don't give up if you cannot get the balloon/model/water combination. Using balloons along with a person in a creative way works just as well. Just keep in mind not to use the balloons like most people would.
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© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez
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