I Tried the Newspaper Photoshoot Trend

If you're a TikTok hoarder like me—no, I do not make them, I just watch countless hours on my ForYou page—you might've seen a trend going around that plays on making your own quarantine photoshoot. The basis of the challenge is to cover a wall, and maybe the floor, with newspaper and try to play the background up for a photoshoot. At first, I knocked this off since it seemed to be another menial way to kill time (ie: the countless Instagram story trends) but, every time I saw one on my feed, I became more attracted. I am what one could call an "amateur photographer", as in, I own a camera. In all honesty, though, I only used my camera to take yearbook photos and that was about it. However, with finals coming to a close, I realized that I probably have a lot of free time coming up (plus, I haven't updated my Instagram in a few months). All of that ultimately led me to make the decision of trying out this trend.

  1. 1. Backdrop

    To have a newspaper photoshoot you need, well, newspaper. Unfortunately, my family gets their daily dose of news from the internet so we have little to no newspapers. What we do have though are coupon papers everyone gets in the mail. I used most of the supply we had and covered any missing areas with magazine spreads I ripped out. The recreation below is extremely crinkled since I forgot to take a picture while laying out the original backdrop.

    Crumpled-up newspaper
  2. 2. Camera Set-Up

    Here's the thing: while I have a great family, they are nowhere near able to operate a camera. Plus, I'd feel weird to have my brother take photos of me in front of a newspaper wall. So here's what I did: I set up my camera on top of several flat surfaces (read: YA books) and turned the self-timer mode to ten seconds. Unfortunately, my camera does not have viewfinder so I am not able to see myself in a reflection. I managed to troubleshoot this by placing my phone right behind the camera, leaning it against my bed, so I could myself in selfie mode (not shown below). Not going to lie, this experience made me want to buy one of those camera remotes.

    Camera on top of a stack of books
  3. 3. Lights, Camera, Action

    Disclaimer: By "lights", I meant the sun coming in from my window as New Jersey weather is unforgiving and I had to make sure to plan this around noon. 

    Since I put my camera on a self-timer, I had to re-adjust it every time it would snap three photos. I also tried figuring out what various poses but, quite honestly, the only ones I managed to do involved my hands on my face (not sure if this means anything). Below are two that I didn't end up choosing but illustrate my process (for some reason, the second is significantly out of focus). 

  4. 4. Editing

    Ah, my favorite part. I consider myself more of a post-photo kind of person rather than the one conducting the shoot. I retouched my favorite shots using a few apps on my phone. I was considering using Photoshop but the lighting could've easily been fixed on a phone. 

    collage of author's photoshoot

Reading this now, the challenge is definitely a little silly. What sane person would spend hours covering a white wall and then post one or two photos on an app? But, after experiencing it myself, I've realized why ideas like these are so popular: it's an escape from reality. People keep talking about how there is no better time to start a new hobby or learn a new language than now, quarantine. But maybe it doesn't need to be that binding. Rather, it's more important to do what makes you feel happy in a time that's so uncertain. If that means conduction a photoshoot in your cramped bedroom, then so be it—as long as you like doing it.