Chalkboard Preparation!

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 Photography

This post is a past blog that I am finally writing. From here, I will tell you how I prepared for a chalkboard photo shoot with the help of my fiance and how easy it is to do this.

This photo shoot had been on my mind for a while. To see the final photo shoot, click here for my other blog post. I first saw the idea when I was watching my favorite show, Community. It’s about a community college group of friends. The show itself is very witty and the stories are some of the best on TV. In the first season, they did a photo shoot to promote the show using chalkboards. They wrote different things on the chalkboard depending on the character. They used at least three chalkboard walls to create this illusion.

I was able to have a budget for this photo shoot. All-in-all, it cost about $80 to setup this type of photo shoot. Originally, I was going to use three walls too, but had to cut back because of expenses, and instead did two large walls and put them together. In Photoshop, I would connect the boards together digitally, eliminating the line down the middle.

First, I had to find an artist who could draw this vision. Since the photo shoot called for a back-to-school theme for the Angelo State store, in which I was shooting students modeling our newest fall shirts, I enlisted my fiance, Teresa Miles. She has done work for me in the past, and because she loves me and all my wacky ideas, I was able to get her to help me. Plus, she can draw, and I cannot. To check out her blog and to see her process, click here for her blog post.

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 Photography

All of the things we bought, we were able to find at Home Depot rather easy. Just search around or ask someone for help. This is probably the cheapest place you can find, and it’s better than online shopping because we don’t have to worry about shipping. We first started with painting the boards with a primer. After we let them dry, we started to paint some chalkboard paint. We chose to use Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint. Look for it in the painting aisle, it does work great and as smooth as a real chalkboard. For two 4×8 feet pieces of wooden boards, we used about one and a half of the chalkboard paint and one can of primer. We then let it dry for the night.

After that, we brought them inside and Teresa starting chalking the chalkboards with the various color chalks. Of course if you are going to do this, make sure you use the small chalks and not the large and heavy ones. As you can see in the first picture above, it’s better to sketch out some of the designs with white chalk before starting. Also, it helps when you start putting the color chalk, if there is already chalk dust on the board. Since these are technically brand new chalkboards, they only become smoother to write on after the first initial writing. You might want to draw and then spread the chalk around with your hands to make it nice and smooth.

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 Photography

I had already printed her some designs on how the Community photo shoot looked like. We took our own concept and created one that fit for Angelo State University, the place I work at during the day. As you can also see, I was using two PLM parabolic silver umbrellas surrounded by a white diffuser. I used two of them and put them to about six feet, or as high as they would go without going through the ceiling. From there I angled them, to take out some shadow.

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 PhotographyHaving a black chalkboard does help, since a lot of the shadow is absorbed into the blackness. As you can see on the left, Teresa is standing in as a model to help me prepare for the shoot. Since these are two boards placed along side each other, there is a line that goes down. It’s an easy fix in Photoshop if you want to create a single chalkboard look. Just use the Healing Brush tool, and create one complete chalkboard. In my other blog post, you can see how it turned out.

This mural is amazing. So amazing, it’s still up. We planned to erase it and just use them as chalkboards after the photo shoot. It is now November, and they are still up and look great. Sure, some chalk has come down, but they still look great. Of course, I would love to thank Teresa for all her work in doing this. Yes, she can draw, and she can draw very good.

Below is the final image of how it looks put all together. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to setup this shoot. Now, go and make your own chalkboard master piece.

Chalkboard Photo Shoot - A J L 3 Photography

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