How Our Photo Ops Are Made
How Our Photo Ops Are Made
If you’ve traveled through our five-acre corn maze, you’ve probably stumbled across a photo op somewhere in your journey. These wooden cut-outs are the perfect opportunity for a family photo or a goofy memory. If you’ve visited us more than one year, you might have noticed that most of our photo ops change from year to year, to reflect the maze theme! Some of the photo ops outside the maze have stayed the same over the years, but the ones inside the maze area always different. We are fortunate enough to have several artistic employees who are able to create our photo ops in house.
After the maze theme has been determined, the Maze Committee will spend some time discussing what we would like our photo ops to portray. There’s always a lot of possibilities, so we have to narrow it down to 2-3 options, plus an idea for the Victory photo op. After we’ve discussed the main ideas for the photo ops, we go searching for pictures and clip art to represent the ideas and to inspire our artists. Our artist will examine the clip art and sketch up a preliminary concept drawing. This gives the basic overview of what the photo op will look like when it’s painted. As was the case for the 2013 theme, “High Seas Adventure,” the sailor attacking the octopus-looking monster was the concept that won out!
Transferring the Image
After the sketches have been completed, it’s time to transfer the drawing onto the wood. Sometimes our old photo ops are re-primed and used again, if the head holes are in the correct place. If not, a new piece of wood is purchased and primed in preparation for the design. Our artist ca refully sketches the design in pencil. She may use a grid system to transfer the image one section at a time if it’s a more complicated design, but generally the image is free-handed. It might seem “easy” to sketch directly into a book or copy clip art when it’s on a small scale, but the larger image is much more challenging!
Once the artist is happy with her penciled image, it’s time to paint! She finds easiest to paint the background of the image first, and paint last the objects that will be “closer” to the viewer. A list is made of all the elements of the picture and in which order she desires to paint them in, starting with the background images first and the closer images last. She also plans out the color scheme of the photo op and mixes the paint when needed. Our paint shop generally keeps black, white, brown, red, blue, and yellow paint on hand. Greens and oranges are fairly easy to mix, along with lighter or darker shades of the primary colors, so you’ll see those colors most often in our photo ops. We’ll let you in on a little secret: it can be very difficult to mix a nice shade of purple. That combined with it not being a typical “farm-y” color means you won’t see much purple in our photo ops!
In the photos above, you can see the progression of painting as the artist fills in the sections one by one. This process can take several weeks! The paint must be completely dry in between layers, so the artist is often working on several projects at the same time. She may do a first coat of paint on each of three photo ops, one at a time, and then go back into the office to do some maze design research, then come back out and do another coat on each of the three, then work on some lettering for another sign around the farm, and then come back again to do a third coat if needed!
After the finishing touches have been put on the photo op, it’s time for the board to get installed in the maze! Most of our photo ops are secured by two 4x4 posts in the ground, one on each side. The post holes are usually dug by hand, after some careful calculating is done to make sure the photo op will be at a good height.
Before you know it, the maze has opened and our photo ops are ready for the world to enjoy!
Our artist is always looking for photos of her photo ops in use, so if you have any from current or previous years, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!