This Epic Party Shot Took 60 Frames and Lots of Champagne


Ryan Schude doesn’t do selfies, street photography or fashion shoots.

He does productions. Every image he makes is heavily staged, overflowing with outlandish scenarios and organized chaos. They can require days of preparation as he painstakingly orchestrates lighting, props and people. Nothing is left to chance. His interest in photography stems from creating that magic.

“Some [photographers] prefer to wait around and they enjoy the authenticity of documentary work,” he says. “As for me, I enjoy the drama of the staged shot and being able to very meticulously orchestrate.”

The pool party image shown here is a classic example of Schude’s elaborate construction. Getting everything just right required multiple lights, over two dozen people and 60 shots. Schude made the photo at Phoot Camp, an annual summer photography retreat. He and Lauren Randolph had a concept for the shoot going into the get-together: A high school rager thrown while the kid’s parents were away.


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