Photo by George Araujo
We live in a world where everyone with their fingers on the pulse are searching for the “next big thing” which causes all the wonderful trends that dominate our popular culture obsessed world. Sometimes (especially with the millions of fans that tend to “die hard” over certain popular items or trends) it can be bad and completely blown out of proportion, but other times it can be a great form of expression and creativity.
There are those who are both for and against the “Selfie”, with the selfie being defined as “a photograph that a person takes of themselves and then uploads that photo to social media” via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. You can end up using the humble art of taking a photo of yourself to negative extremes and publish a book of them (like Kim Kardashian did with her selfie book Selfish) or you can use your selfie as creative expression and a way to show the world your power and private integrity (for an positive look at The Meaning of the Selfie, check out James Franco’s article in the New York Times, or Veronica Varlow’s list of 3 Ways Your Selfie Can Change The World). Either way, selfies dominate our news feed and they are a trend that isn’t going away any time soon – they are only just going to grow.
Which leads me to the next growing trend in the art of the selfie, and how that combines with the art of the party.
When you are all dressed up and going out to a party or event, you tend to take a few selfies or happy snaps throughout the night to showcase what a good time you are having. These kind of photographs are also utilised by party planners at an event in the use of professional event photographers, fun photo booths complete with props, and now thanks to advancing ideals, the open-air photo booth.
The open-air photo booth is set up like a normal photo booth with props and a camera capturing your funny faces, but the open-air design means that party planners will use a large feature wall as the background. Depending on the style and theme of the party, this feature wall can be an industrial brick wall, graffiti, coloured background tiling and even decorated aspects with streamers, boxes, paper lanterns, lights, anything! The background decoration is open to any type of decoration, and the crazier the better.
So this idea of decoration for an open-air photo booth is nothing new, but the new trend is actually the way you take the photos. Instead of hiring a professional event photographer, or even hiring a photo booth, guests are now just standing in front of the amazing background and taking the photos via selfie, or even using a “selfie stick” to capture more of the background. The photos capture the selfie element of fun and chaos and doesn’t run up a large price tag in photographers.
Photo by Regan76
The best part about it is that you can create an online space to hold and host all of these selfies and photographs, should you wish to have a keepsake of your guests after the event. With the delightful ability to “Hastag” (where a word or a phrase is preceded by a hash sign and uploaded on social media to identify messages of a specific topic) you can actually create your own tags at the click of the button, and if you leave signs everywhere for your guests with the hashtag on it, they can be sure to include it when uploading their selfies. Hey presto, You have an entire album of event selfies ready to go!
Just remember a few things though, if you are putting together a Selfie Station:
1. Have an Event Photographer just in case: Even if it means you are the one taking the photos, selfies may not capture everything that you WANT captured at a party. You might end up with a million photos of your younger cousin at your wedding, but none of your grandmother who doesn’t have a smart phone. To make sure you get every shot you want out of a party, don’t rely solely on the selfie.
2. Advertise your hashtag: Having a selfie station with nowhere to put the photos is pointless. It means you have to go through each guests social media profile to find the selfies you want if you are putting together an album, and the point of social media is that it is supposed to be easy! Hashtags are super easy, so advertise what yours is through signs, decorations or even a chalkboard message near the Selfie Station. Don’t forget to remind people during your speeches as well!
3. Make sure your Hashtag is all yours: There are millions of different combinations of hashtags out there, so you want to make sure that the hashtag you use for your party is for your party only. You can’t buy hashtags and you can’t legally own one, so that means if someone wants to hashtag a bunch of photos of cats with your same hashtag, they will all end up in your party album as well. Search through social media for the hashtag you want, and if it already exists then change it to something that doesn’t currently exist, but also make sure that it’s not a hashtag that other people will also want to use. #FeliciaAndGeorge might be a great hashtag for your wedding, but chances are that there is another Felicia and George out there in the vast social media world looking to do the same hashtag. Add in a few dates, or a key word or phrase that sums up you (like your name plus your wedding date), and you will find that no one else will use #FeliciaAndGeorge150515
Let me know if a Selfie Station is something you are going to jump on at your next event! I unwittingly put one up at my 21st Horror Party and it turned out really well, so let me know if you have done something too and what your hashtag was – I’d love to see it!