Photo Challenge: Ugly Location – Michaels Craft Stores

Ugly Location Photo Challenge at Michaels Craft Stores

Stanley Wu Photography | Los Angeles Portrait & Wedding Photographer



A couple of photographer friends and I decided to head over to our local Michaels craft store to take on the “ugly location” photo challenge yesterday! It was an epic night of hilarious contrast between the beautiful fantasy-like shots we got, versus the plainness and normalcy of your everyday craft store.

To first explain what the “ugly location” photo challenge is, it’s a challenge where you pick a place that stands at the extreme opposite for what a typical beautiful photo session location would be. For example, if I were to plan an engagement session, I would consider Griffith Park, Malibu, or Downtown LA as a few examples of beautiful locations. They’re all scenic places with beautiful sunset potential. Places like Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, or Michaels, are your everyday stores, which are not only not meant for portrait sessions, but have really terrible lighting conditions and backgrounds from a photographer’s perspective.

What gear did I use? I brought my personal camera, the Fujifilm X-PRO2, along with my Samyang 12mm f/2, Fujinon 23mm f/2, and Rokinon 50mm f/1.2 lenses, as well as my Flashpoint evolv200 with a 24″ octabox on a Manfrotto compact lightstand. I wanted a compact kit that could all fit in a 10L messenger bag, so I did not bring my full-frame setup.

The general style I wanted to go for was a more dramatic fairytale-like style of portrait. I felt like this would create the most contrast between fiction and reality. (Well, in this case, the fiction is also reality given form by a little bit of photography). The results? Well, they’re nothing short of awesome. I think this goes to show that you really don’t need a beautiful location during sunset to create awesome portraits – all you need is the belief that you can already do amazing things with what you currently have. 

Model: Rachel Ho
My Photographer Friends: Todd Nguyen, Terri Shih, Serena Zhang
Big shoutout to Michaels for allowing us to use their store for this challenge!

Hilarious BTS below!





Behind the scenes, some by me, some by Todd!


All images © Stanley Wu Photography | Portrait & Wedding Photographer | Los Angeles, California

Interested in booking a session? I’m available to shoot all year round and would love to travel! Contact me for more information and a quote!



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