A Tuscaloosa-based photographer is playing matchmaker with a a "singles-only" romantic photoshoot.

"Are you single and looking for some romance in your life? Well, this is exactly how it sounds. A couples photography session with two strangers," read the initial post in the Alabama Student Ticket Exchange.

The one-hour session will see two strangers paired up to pose as a real couple in a playfully romantic photoshoot, asking questions and getting to know each other along the way -- all without seeing what the other person looks like.

The idea was pitched by Ciera Smith, a teacher at Hightown Academy Child Care Center and photographer based in Tuscaloosa. Smith got her start as a photographer while still attending The University of Alabama.

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She had received a DSLR camera from her grandfather as a graduation present, and she found fun taking photos of her roommates and friends.

That passion soon turned into a full-fledged business in May of 2018. Since then, she's expanded her business to working weddings, portraits and with families, which is one of her favorite sessions to photograph.

Smith had always wanted to photograph a blind date session, and she felt that it was the right time just before Valentines Day. She told The Thread that she didn't expect nearly as large of a response as she got.

"I had nearly 100 entries for the blind date sessions," Smith said. "I almost second guessed myself because in the Facebook groups I'm in, other photographers who've tried this said they only saw two people sign up."

She will pair up entrants based on their responses to several questions from their application forms. The couple will get to know each other on this quasi-date, posing as an actual romantic couple. They will learn each other's likes and dislikes they've already divulged to their matchmaker.

Smith plans to shoot the first session at Lake Nichol, which she says is her favorite spot to shoot photos. The participants will arrive in separate cars, get their blindfolds, and start the session back to back.

She'll start them off in beginner poses with talking, jokes and playful body language, and will then kick it up a notch once the couple gets comfortable with each other. She intends to cap off the session with the two popping a champagne bottle, followed by a face reveal.

She says ideally, this photo session could be the start to a real relationship.

The couple participating will receive a folder full of the digital images as a "thank you" for participating. Smith said she would love to do this again in the future.

"I might actually do one session a month maybe if the people are still interested," she said. "I definitely see myself doing this in the future. I guess I will see how the first session goes and go from there."

To see updates on the photoshoot, visit Ciera Jade Photography on Facebook, or click here to visit her website.

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