Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Third Saturday: Zone 5 Photo Studios Inc.

I finished my MA thesis last October and will finally, FINALLY get to attend my second UP graduation in April (I'm old-- don't remind me). Part of the whole pomp and pageantry is getting graduation pictures made. I have been really looking forward to this because my first set was not that...likeable. For my creative shot, my peg was Imelda Marcos. What I got was "Poong Inaalayan" (idk even know how to translate that; yes, it was that bad). So this time, I said I'd prepare even more. I have been conceptualizing even before October and was pretty partial to a Dark Alice theme. There would be time, I said. I can pull this off, I said. We had asked the college about when grad pics would be scheduled, and we were informed that they would start in January. So my friend and co-graduate, Shelley and I stopped bugging the office and just went back on the second week of the said month.

Only to find out that the grad pic schedule was over.

After a brief seizure, we asked/begged around some more and were told we'd be contacted if the people in charge of this year's graduation would have additional schedules. I hung on to the hope that I still had time to prepare since we were told this on a Friday. But since the Universe just loves seeing me have a panic attack, our contact called and said they had a final schedule on the next day, Saturday. This meant that not only did I not have anything prepped, I would also have to go to the studio and have pictures taken right after work, right when my eyebags have taken full control of my face.

Alas, there was nothing to be done, so I met up with Shelley and after some dispute with the GPS on my phone (the taxi driver was pretty vocal about his unbridled hate for it), we got to Zone 5 in Project 8.

The first thing we noticed was the awesome wall artwork that welcomed you as you go up the stairs. I asked Shelley for a quick pose because it was just too edgy!

Before the photobombers
I would have wanted to take more pictures but people kept accidentally photobombing my shots, so I gave up and headed to the lobby. Since Zone 5 was the assigned studio for UPD, we had special rates and packages. However, you can still have your grad pic taken even without a schedule, something I was very relieved to know. They have walk-in rates (slightly more expensive) and they cater to a number of colleges and universities so you don't have to worry about them not having the right toga. The prices are not that steep, too, considering the quality of shots. We were automatically awed by the creative shots posted on the wall of the lobby and got us pretty pumped for our turn.

Shelley and I were the first ones to get to the studio, so after settling our payments, we didn't have to wait long to have our hair and make-up done. The first shots to be taken were the formal shots, so my stylist just ironed my hair and gave me a nice and simple look. [Warning: selfies ahead]

It didn't take long for me to finish, and after the beautification process, we were led to the photography area. The place is divided into sections because Zone 5 has a variety of sets for creative shots. They take the more formal ones in a smaller area, and apart from the nice photographer, there is an assistant who helps you dress and choose accessories from the studio's own stash. For one of the formal shots, you get to choose the color of the fabric that you wear, and the assistant artfully ties it around you to make an impromptu dress. Another cool thing is that after the serious shots, the photog asks you to pose for a wacky one!

Afterwards, you are asked about what concept you'd like for the creative shot. If you're like us and you have no idea what to do, you can ask them for their catalog of past creative shots. They have a couple of huge albums so you can get a ton of ideas. For my shot, I chose a Audrey Hepburn-esque one, but I wanted to put my own gothic twist to it. This required a change of hair and make-up, so I had to pay extra. I do not regret this, however, because I ended up having the most awesome beehive in history since Marge Simpson.

I can hide my wallet up in there

They also let me borrow accessories and then let me choose my set. I chose a Victorian one, and then waited for my turn.

Sexy paneling
I was not prepared for what happened next. I found out just exactly how hard it was to be a model and look good while doing awkward poses. The photog took so many shots that my entire body hurt after the shoot. It was a one-of-a-kind experience that I wouldn't trade for the world!

After everything's all done, you now go to this little booth where you get to choose the shots you want reproduced. Yes, that fast! They will show you all your unedited shots that very day so that you won't have to wonder how all those poses turned out. Depending on the package you chose, you can get to keep all your photos in a CD and just edit them later to your liking. To be honest, the choosing took longer than the photoshoot. It was so difficult to choose the ones I liked best. I seriously wanted to go with all the wacky ones, but my mother would kill me so I had to go for the ones that made me look halfway decent. After all that was done, Shelley and I went on our merry way to Trinoma to finally get some lunch.


Although we didn't get to go to the UKEAS UK Education Fair as planned, this Saturday was unforgettable because it will be another five to seven years before I get to do this again (yay PhD!). And I'm happy knowing that this time, my grad pics will end up the way I want them to look.

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