A while back I thought about doing Prom Mini Sessions for my senior clients.  I had this grand idea that I would create a gorgeous backdrop, complete with handmade paper flowers, and I would set it up in my dream studio that I was just sure I would find before prom season.  Then reality hit.  There is no dream studio, no handmade paper flowers and no backdrop.  And definitely no time in my busy schedule for such grand ideas!  So I gave up on the idea of Prom Mini Sessions.

Then two of my senior clients called me and asked if I would take their prom photos.  Now, they meant photos outside at a park where everyone has their prom photos taken.  Of course I said yes.  But my mind wandered back to that grand idea.  How could I accomplish this at the last minute without the time to make the handmade flowers and without the beautiful dream studio?

You know the saying, “work with what you got?”  Or did I just make that up?  Regardless of the saying, I did WORK WITH WHAT I HAD!  And created a do-it-yourself-inexpensive-quick-backdrop that I think turned out beautiful!

This back drop was of course inspired by backdrops I have seen on Pinterest.  These backdrops can be used for birthday parties, weddings, photo booths and prom.  In fact, if you are looking for inspiration for any kind of backdrop wedding photo booths or backdrops are a perfect thing to look at on Pinterest.

Above inspiration photos found on Pinterest via www.bklynbrideonline.com; www.etsy.com; www.100layercake.com

I ran to my local If It’s Paper store to find the crepe paper for this project.  I knew I wanted it to be bright and colorful so I was searching for blues, yellows, pinks and more.  If It’s Paper only had the rolls of crepe paper streamers and even though I was afraid that they might be too small to give me the look I needed, I bought several rolls just in case.

I asked the store manager if she could suggest anywhere else that might have the folded crepe paper instead of the rolls and she sent me to my local Wilson’s, which is a treasure trove of anything and everything you can imagine.  This store has everything from birthday supplies to kitchen stuff to bedding and much more.  And it was the perfect place to find the folded sheets of crepe paper that I needed.  I visited two different Wilson’s locations to find all the colors I needed.

After getting all the crepe paper I needed, I came home to assemble my backdrop.  With my favorite craft cutter (it looks like a pizza wheel), I began by cutting the sheets of crepe paper into wide strips.  After that, I folded the crepe paper strips and then used scissors to cut slits in each side of the folded paper.  When I unrolled the paper it turned into the fringed strips I was going for.  I cut and cut and cut until I had a ton of fringed strips.

After I got all the strips I thought I needed from the sheets of crepe paper, I then decided to use some of the crepe paper rolls to give a different width and mix it up.  I folded it up just like I did the wider strips and cut slits in each side.  The mixing of the two different sizes helped fill in and make it look fuller.

The next step was to assemble the streamers on the backdrop stand.  Now, I will admit that I made a mistake with this step.  I was running out of time and just decided to tape each streamer to the backdrop stand.  But my suggestion for anyone else doing this is to tape the streamers to a piece of fabric or something that will allow you to just tape that to the backdrop stand as one piece.  That way you can reuse it.  I can not reuse mine because I have to take down each individual streamer off my backdrop stand in order to use my backdrop stand on the next project.

I decided to reuse a gold glitter curtain that I used at the Atlanta Shoot Out.  This provided some shine and filled in the spaces between the streamers.  I taped this up first then taped each streamer to the backdrop stand rod.  I also used a white backdrop behind the streamers so that nothing showed that may have been behind the stand.

Like I said earlier, I do not have a dream studio so I used my fancy (not at all!) garage!  But the light happens to be awesome in my garage because it is open shade and works well for photos.  Of course, the first day of these prom sessions it rained so I borrowed a light to provide some extra light.  The second day was beautiful so those photos are naturally lit.  I paired the backdrop with the barnwood floor drop from The Savvy Photographer so no one had to stand on the garage floor and to give it the look of being inside.

I had the girls come with some of their friends and dates and did the mini sessions with the backdrop before heading to the park downtown for the other photos they originally asked for.  The girls loved the backdrop and everyone’s dress coordinated perfectly with the colors of the backdrop.  I even had sparkling pink lemonade for the girls and their dates to enjoy!

How can you set up Prom Mini Sessions?

1.  Find out the dates of proms for your local high schools –  There are several high schools in my area and they all have prom on different days.  Finding out this information and decided which high schools you want to advertise to will help you plan your mini sessions.

2.  Plan your backdrop/location – Look for inspiration on Pinterest.  Check wedding blogs or event blogs or party blogs for inspiration.  Once you decide what you want to do, make sure it will be within your budget.  As you can see from my backdrop, it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money.  If you want something that you can’t make, look on Etsy for the items such as handmade paper flowers.  Of find a stylist in your area and team up with her to work on your backdrop.

3.  Set the times and price – Just like other mini sessions, you need to set the place and the time and have them come to you.  You will be able to schedule lots of couples in a small amount of time.  Set the price and let them know what they will be getting for that price.  Selling a certain number of images on a cd and include the mini session fee is a good idea.  The teens really want to show off these photos on Facebook, etc. so providing the digital images is perfect.  Another idea is to use this to get your name out there in the community as a senior portrait photographer.  It is a great way to advertise.  And if that is your goal you may decide to offer these mini sessions for free.  By doing this, whether paid or free, you will have access to lots of seniors.  You could offer anyone that comes to your prom mini session a discounted senior session or give out coupons to each senior for a specific extra if they sign up for a senior session.

4.  Advertise – Make sure to create a graphic to post on Facebook and your blog to advertise your Prom Mini Sessions.  And post often to remind seniors that you are doing this fun event!  Make sure to tell seniors to bring their friends!  And even email this ad to your past senior clients so they can come and share it with their friends.

5.  Have fun! – make this a super fun day!  I had so much fun seeing my senior clients dressed up!  And meeting their dates was awesome!  I got to spend a special day with them and it was perfect!

Seniorologie 101 – {Prom Mini Sessions & a DIY Prom Backdrop}

  1. Heather says:

    I love this idea so much! I did something similar to get promote senior portraits for this summer! Thanks for sharing the great tips/idea!

heck, yes i do!

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