I did not know what to expect when starting the Ugly Location Challenge. After watching numerous YouTube videos of professional photographers taking on the challenge, it seemed easy, but it most definitely was not. The photography was one thing, but overcoming my self-consciousness was a whole other beast. To get one of our shots, we had to move ten huge plants into the gardening section of Home Depot to create a nice background of plants behind our subject. The number of glares and stares we got from an employee was enough for me to give up right away, but we persevered. The worst they could do was ask us to stop, after all. By the end of the challenge, we had transformed the ugly hallways of Home Depot and a stairwell into the backdrop for our portraits, and they did not look half bad!
The Ugly Location Challenge was more challenging than I thought it would be! I was really excited going into it and did not realize how much work it would actually require. Before, I thought I would only need to go to the location and smile for a photo. However, we had to do things like look for a place with good lighting and work with the angle of the photos. At times, we were also passed awkwardly by the employees at our first location, Home Depot. Home Depot, to my surprise, had many aesthetically pleasing spots, such as the garden with the flowers and the orange carts in the parking lot. I wondered how people took photos in public because I became extremely awkward and shy when we first started posing. Our second location was the stairway. We were able to use the way the light naturally hit the stairs to create a cool shadow in the photos and were able to be ourselves because the location was more private. Overall, I really enjoyed this challenge as I was able to bond with my fellow Epic staffers and take cool photos at the same time.
I came into this challenge pretty eager to “wow,” expectations high but experience relatively low. I had never taken photos knowing that my skills would have to compensate for the unflattering setting. When we entered Home Depot, I had a lot of ideas for where to go and what to do. However, as we went through the list, I realized getting a good photo, let alone multiple, posed a definite challenge. Thankfully, we found two great places for a photoshoot: the generic flower aisles, and surprisingly, the carts in the parking lot. The stairwell was much less stressful to take photos at, solely because there was only one place we could take the photos- the stairs- in contrast to the various aisles in Home Depot. I didn’t have much of an issue with the strangers’ stares and the judgy background conversations, but I will admit that made the whole group slightly more hesitant to “go for it” and get in bold photos. I definitely had a lot of fun doing this challenge because it not only let me practice photography, but it also let me bond with other Epic staffers and overall just have a good time.
Here’s a gallery of photos they took: