Ugly photoshoot challenge goes off target

January 31, 2019 — by Megan Chen, Callia Yuan and Jayne Zhou

A Target shopper stopped and stared as two strange teenagers, Jayne and Megan, stuffed themselves into a ball storage rack, while another attempted to take a picture. After seconds of throwing panicked looks at each other, the two struggled to escape their ball prison and sprinted off in embarrassment.

Recently, the ugly photoshoot challenge has gained popularity among Instagram and YouTube influencers, and involves going to “ugly” locations and using camera angles and editing to produce nice pictures. We decided to give it a try in an attempt to boost our dying Instagram accounts.

After watching numerous ugly photoshoot videos and scrolling through endless posts for inspiration, common locations we found were Home Depot, for its lighting aisle, and Michaels’, for its fake flower aisle.

However, we were too intimidated by the high probability of getting kicked out of those two stores, so we instead decided to take photos at a seemingly safer location, Target.

At first, we were most worried about embarrassing ourselves in front of other shoppers or seeming impolite for not buying anything. Upon entering the store, we grabbed a shopping cart and went to the home section in hopes of finding aesthetic decorations. One of us climbed into the cart, and another pretended to push as the third started taking pictures.

However, after numerous blurry shots, which can be attributed to our lack of photography skills and attempts to escape when we saw other shoppers, we decided to go to the less crowded upper floor.

Spying an empty ball storage rack in the corner of a toy aisle, we quickly scanned the area for any workers and proceeded to squeeze ourselves into the metal cage, banging our heads several times as we tried to stand up. Unfortunately, we realized that although it was fun to climb into the ball rack, the pictures were so bad that we didn’t even want to edit them (not that we can edit pictures in the first place).

Discouraged by our previous failures, we moved on to the bedding and clock aisle, where several Target employees complimented our dramatic poses and even encouraged us to continue taking pictures. Knowing that we weren’t going to get kicked out, we were finally able to snap some non-blurry shots, but even those weren’t close to the quality of the ones we’d seen on social media.

Taking nice pictures was a lot harder than it seemed in the Instagram posts and YouTube videos we had seen. Because we lack any real photography skills, we weren’t able to “transform” the background the way most practiced photographers were able to.

Although none of us ended up posting the pictures, we had a fun time running away from Target shoppers, and the hilarious photos we captured were worth the embarrassment

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