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Blind Date Photoshoot!

A blind date photoshoot? Wow, what a concept. Two people meeting for the first time without swiping right? Inconcievable. This was all arranged by me, Barbara De Santa Barbara, the photographer who wanted to capture the moment. As a wedding and portrait photographer I capture a lot of love and romance, and I pride myself at getting to the heart of the real bond between a couple, telling  their real story. The same was the case for me here, I wanted to capture the real story, sweet awkwardness and all.

But why would you capture awkwardness? That’s one of two immediate questions I get, so let me answer. I want to capture what is real. I’ve seen a few other blind date photoshoots that were basically staged to look like the couple had been in love for years and were engaged. I think its pretty cool that a photographer and a couple of people can create that illusion. But, I wanted to portray reality instead of illusion. I think there’s enough illusion out there, so I wanted to try and capture something more authentic. How often do you get to photograph the charge of nervousness that I felt when they unmasked themselves and laid eyes on one another for the first time. The electricity in the air was palpable! What followed was me promtping them into some photo poses and capturing a range of emotions. To maximize the crazy energy, I had them wear masks and ‘reveal’ themselves to each other. In hindsight, this could’ve been done better, ha! I also told them a series of promts, the first one was this ‘when this person turns around, pretend you are laying eyes on your celebrity crush!’

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She reached up and hugged him! It was adorable and charged with nervous energy!
'if that's my crush, you better believe I'm getting a hug!'

The second question I get is why would you do this to people?  I guess they aren’t as adventurous as my cool blind date couple. The top reason was to attempt a love connection of course! I’ve meddled before, and have at least one marriage under my belt as a love connector, so I thought why not?  I had a friend online ask for a set up and I had a gentlmen who had been my postman for a year or so who I knew to be kind and single. I had no reason to believe they wouldn’t hit it off, so I asked each of them if they were up for an adventure! I must admit though, I was very intriged by making this happen. To meet a new person, a DATE, without seeing a photo, stalking their profile, or knowing a thing about them, is that even a thing anymore?  Do people even meet this way anymore? Surprisingly, they both agreed to a sight unseen set up! Why shouldn’t they, they are young and single and ready to mingle! Plus they were both sweet and trusting enough to let me photograph them in a semi awkward situation. Woohoo!

You can feel them 'just met' vibes! Authentic!

So there we all were in the park, just met, and feeling like fish out of water. The next thing I did was give them a series of prompts, characters to act out, and stories to tell with the images. The first prompt was ‘knock your hips together and walk toward me.’ I was playing with the sunlight in my frame. I think the overall effect of the image helps capture how electrically charged this moment was!

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Prompt 'bump hips and walk toward me' I was playing with the sunlight
They met 3 minutes ago. Now they are figuring out how to hold hands, bump hips and walk. Hard to manage if you're in your head... hmmm

After that I had them sit on a blanket. I told them to try and throw popcorn in each other’s mouths. I think this was a wonderful way to engage them in activity, take the sting off the awkwardness of cheesin’ for the camera, and just take their mind off the photoshoot at hand.

Much was learned during this popcorn catching practice!
They are both competative!
We are a team now?!
Victory dance!

The next prompt I gave them was by far the most gut wrenching, but both of them nailed it so hard! I told her to pretend she was on a date (uhhh..) and it wasn’t going well, and she was getting that ’emergency call’ from the gal pal, which typically would lead to a quick exist. I told him to pretend it wasn’t going well for him either and give attitude face. I think the photos came out telling that story for sure. It reintroduced the awkward that’s for sure. Its hard being on a date and sizing someone up and getting sized up, eeek. Did I mention I’m glad I’m married? Ha! So I present the ol’ ‘I’m so sorry I have to go!’ date exit phone call portrayed in pictures. Luckily this is a made up fantasty! No emergency date ending call needed to be made! A good time was had by all!

I told her to give him the finger. Zoinks, its it hot in here? Feeling that tension.
The prompt 'act like its not going well, and you're getting that call' I'm feeling that vibe!

Then I told them to talk about movies they did NOT like. What a great way to get to know something about someone! Some disagreements about Scarface ensued…

'Scarface is literally the worst movie ever..'
'Yeah I don't know about that one!'

At this point I figured I’d tortured them and their poor souls enough. There was a drink planned after this photoshoot, and I wanted to bring the vibes back to happy and maybe fake a little lovey dovey. Would I be worth my salt as a photographer if I couldn’t fake emotion? I’m not saying I can’t make two just met people look like they are in love, I’m just saying its a missed op to capture a different set of emotions we don’t see so much. So, without further ado, here are the ‘ok  lets pretend we are a cute couple’ prompts. I posed and set them in ways that implied romance because that’s what everyone does so I figured I’d throw in some of that.

what a cute.. couple.. of nice people!

SO WAS IT A LOVE CONNECTION??? Inquiring minds want to know! Well, I don’t honestly know! We all went to the bar where I bartend and they shared a few drinks and some time. I was behind the bar, but saw them smiling and laughing and they had more than one! So at the very least I would say they enjoyed each other’s company. To me that makes it a worthwhile experience on its own. Of course all the friends expected these 2 would meet their ‘forever someone’ at this date, and I was like GEEZ NO PRESSURE! The odds of having someone you meet cold turkey be ‘the one’ seems pretty long, (and yes it would’ve been the best story in life)  but the odds of having a good time were great and that prophecy came true! One point to note is that I didn’t screen for any logisitical concerns when setting these two up. I might have gotten caught up in the blind date momentum with these two cuties that I didn’t do a 1000 point match.com style profile. I know they live hours apart, and one has a child, which has to be a match for both people, those are important concerns and can be instant ‘deal breakers’ when you are scrolling through the dating apps. So its unlikey these 2 would ever have met without the photoshoot! So they met, they had fun, and they got to know a bit more about themselves and another cool person! Overall it was a positive fun experience for all and I’d love to do another one! To my two models for this shoot, I salute you! You are brave, outgoing, adventurous souls, and I hope you have fun telling your friends about this wacky adventure! Until next time – TheBarbarazzi

Copyright © 2019 The Barbarazzi, Santa Barbara, California