If you’re ready to kick your social media presence up a notch, Allyson Washington can help.
She’s the proprietor of the new Socialite Studio on Sweeney Drive in Hagerstown, where you can take your selfies and videos to a whole new interactive level.
It’s really several studios in one, with a series of themed rooms ranging from vintage to pop to urban, and lots of themes in between. There’s even a 360-degree video booth to help you up your dance and music — or whatever — game.
« I’ll give you all the tools to do that, » Washington said.
This not your average photo booth. It’s entertainment, Washington said, and « it’s a creative outlet. And I tried to give creatives an idea of how to use it.
« This is really considered a social media creative content studio. »
And since its opening Thanksgiving weekend, Socialite Studio’s customers have gotten creative with family photos, music videos and birthday parties. They can get special effects here for their photos and videos that would be difficult to get on their own.
« People are looking for these creative ideas for their content for social media, » Washington said. « Everyone wants the cooler picture and an experience all at the same time. So not only are we providing a cool place to be creative, but an experience all in one. »
Each room has special lighting, all ready for you to pop in your smart phone and get down to business.
« Lighting is huge in photography, to create different feels, different vibes, » Washington said. « So each room is creatively staged in that way, too. I leave it up to the creator when they come in, how they want to create. »
Washington hooks your phone up to a Bluetooth-controlled remote so you can take your own photos and videos while interacting with friends or the props provided.
Washington updates themes on a rotating basis, so the offerings will be fresh. She also sets up seasonal rooms. When The Herald-Mail visited last week, she was exchanging Christmas decorations for a Valentine’s Day motif in one of the booths.
« This is an interactive art museum, » Washington said.
One of her favorite booths is « the money room, » which features green lighting, gold bar props and a fancy « money gun » that spits out cold, hard play cash when you pull the trigger. Across from it is a model of a ’50s diner with soda props and squirting ketchup and mustard bottles.
Love bubble baths? There’s a claw-foot tub filled with bubble-ish balls you can sink into; a bubble-gun provides a little of the real thing. And if you’ve ever wanted to be king for a day, Washington’s got you covered. There’s a throne, and crowns are available (« You can’t not have a throne, » Washington says).
And if you love The Herald-Mail (and of course you do!) you can live your « meet the press » fantasy with a vintage typewriter and camera in a room papered with your hometown newspaper.
« It’s classic, you know, newspaper, the black and white. The paper itself, » she said. « This is fun for all ages. »
Bring a change of clothes if you want — the large restrooms double as dressing rooms.
You don’t have to be an accomplished photographer or have a lot of equipment to get great, imaginative photos and videos, Washington says.
With « all the effects we have on our phone now, people don’t have to have the biggest and the best, » she said. Socialite provides a creative spot to take advantage of them. « You can do fun effects with this. And people have fun with that … this has been huge for kids coming in ‘TikToking.' »
But Socialite isn’t limited to kids and families — the studio can accommodate businesses and professional artists as well.
« We could have modeling auditions, vocal auditions, any type of audition, » Washington said, « or they can have a show, you know, maybe a local comedian wants to have show but doesn’t have a venue.
« This is just a different type of way to interact and again, create content. Content’s the new thing. I mean, everyone needs it, whether you’re a business — I would love to work with brands, great local brands … How cool would it be for somebody like a local beer company to sit at the 1950s table? And it’s cool content for their social media, in a different venue than their own. It catches people’s attention. »
But the price tag for all this must be pretty hefty, right?
Well, no. You can get access to all the rooms for $25 per person per hour; $10 more gets you the 360 experience. Not confident in your photography skills? A $50 « mini-session » gets you the services of an in-house photographer and five edited images.
Socialite Studio is pet-friendly, so if you want a photo shoot with your best furry friend, let the studio know when you’re booking.
Washington and her husband, Mark, also want to use Socialite Studio to « give back, » so customers will have opportunities to donate to the Wounded Warriors Project (Mark Washington is an Army veteran) and other nonprofit organizations.
The business gives Washington, who is a hospice nurse, a chance to indulge her longtime passion for photography.
« My purpose is to be a nurse; I’ve been a nurse since I was very young, » she said. « My passion is the arts. I’ve been acting, I’ve been modeling; up until I had kids, I was very much into visual arts of it. And that was my life. »
The digital single-lens reflex camera that was a graduation gift when she completed nursing school spurred her interest in photography. And when friends and relatives mentioned to her that « nobody knows how to create content, » something clicked.
She knew how to do that, but she didn’t have a good place to do it.
« And then the epiphany came where that I was going to create an area to create content. And it just took off from there. »
Washington said she « wanted to bring something fun to Hagerstown; that is different. »
So … ready to rock your Instagram? You can book the studio online at https://socialitestudio.co/.
Socialite Studio provides interactive photo ops even for amateurs – Herald-Mail Media
05/08/2022 360 Photography