Photography Project: Cheap Creative Portraits

Portraits in plastic

I always plan a portrait session when the girls visit.  They are usually game to give things a try, and sometimes they walk away with an Insta pic to post.  This time I was inspired by a YouTube video by Gavin Hooey.  He used a plastic dust cover bought at the dollar store.  As with most videos, it was a lot harder to execute than it seemed.

If you decide to give it a go, here are some tips.

Photography Capture

  • Have one or two extra people around to “floof” the plastic around the person.  Movement is the key.
  • Make sure your plastic is thin and transparent.  Mine was a high-quality dust cover (purchased for $5 at the hardware store).  It was harder to photograph, and you couldn’t photograph through it like some of the images in the video.  In this case, better isn’t really…..better.
  • Use a step stool to help float the plastic down from above.
  • Tell your subject not to smile, or just barely smile.  These are moody images, and a bit gritty.  Big smiles don’t really work.
  • I used one light.  It was a strobe with a 48″ octabox.  I would recommend a strobe or flash to freeze the movement of the plastic.

Portraits in Plastic

Photography Processing

  • These images are processed in Nik Analog Effects.  It is now free software from Google (some of us unfortunately paid a fortune for it years ago).
  • Do not choose the presets.  Choose the Camera Kit, which allows you to build the effect.
  • Try playing with three basic effects before layering more on:
    • Bokeh
    • Film Style
    • Vignette

Portraits in plastic

To me it still looks like plastic – the images don’t transcend the base materials.  I feel there is potential here, but more work is needed to tap into it.  Maybe red Saran wrap?

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