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Photographing party balloons

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Category: General Photography

Balloons - Mix a bit of blue sky with a few party balloons and you'll have yourself a great photo.

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Just because you can't make it to a balloon festival doesn't mean you can't photograph a balloon or two. OK, the balloons you have at home may not be big enough to attach a basket to and you probably don't need a flame to make them float but party balloons can be just as photogenic.

Party Balloons

A zoom lens is handy, we used the Tamron 28-300mm, so you can zoom in and fill the frame with the balloons or use a wider angle to get more of the sky in shot. You'll need to work hand-held as the balloons will move a lot and it's not easy to keep them in focus if you're trying to adjust a tripod constantly.

A day when the sky's bright blue and there's a few white clouds dotted around is perfect for photographing party balloons - colours such as red, orange and yellow will look great framed against the blue sky. So you don't lose them, fasten your balloons to fishing wire or string so you can keep hold of them and then Photoshop the string out once you're back at your computer if you don't want it in shot.

If you have access to helium use it as it makes getting the balloons into the air ten times easier but don't worry if you don't as a slight breeze will lift your balloons just long enough to take a few shots. We also found that laying on the ground and shooting up also meant the balloons didn't have to be held as high in the air but it still gave the appearance of them floating several feet off the ground. As the balloons constantly move use auto focus, a quick-ish shutter speed, set your camera on continuous shooting and don't stop taking photos until the balloons begin to fall. Then to give your image more punch adjust the brightness and contrast in Photoshop.

To add more interest to the photo get your kids, if you have them, or borrow a friend's child and get them to play with the balloons. Shots of them throwing the balloons up into the air or running with them will always look great.
To ensure the colour you capture is the colour you keep, use Datacolor - the Colour Management Experts.

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