Photo booths are fun. Photo booths at parties are extra fun. Whether you’re stepping back in time to sit in a vintage “two-seater” with someone you love or standing in front of a sparkly backdrop with several friends at a wedding reception, chances are you’ve enjoyed the printed results—so much so that you’ve decided to make your own photo booth for your upcoming holiday party or your own wedding reception. Whether you’re working with an iPad and natural lighting or a more elaborate setup with a DSLR camera and lights, here are a few tips and ideas to make your photo booth a success, regardless the size of your system.
1. Tailor your backdrop to your event. For a crisp, clean background of your choosing, Savage offers rolls of seamless paper in a variety of colors. While white, gray, and black are more traditional photo booth backgrounds, consider a color that matches your event. Tech Green seamless paper can even be utilized for green screen photography, allowing you to mix it up and explore a variety of images and backgrounds. For a more rugged background, consider an Infinity Vinyl Background. Much like seamless paper, this vinyl background hangs straight but allows for quick cleanup if a guest accidentally spills their drink or desert while they take a quick picture.
2. Alternatively, you can add dimension to a wall in your home or event space with rows of balloons or something even more unique, like decorated plates lined up in a row. Removable wall paper or sticker decals can also quickly transform your background without the residue. Metallic fringe designed for a doorway, or party streamers draped over a background support system could provide a unique and fun look to your photo booth without breaking the bank. For outdoor venues, add a string of lights to the foliage, drape fabric, or hang lanterns over lower hanging tree branches.
3. If your photo booth isn’t a traditional “booth,” and it doesn’t have anyone supervising image capture, clearly mark off the area with gaffer tape and write out instructions that even your youngest guest can follow easily and walk away with an instant print. Adding a rug to the area your photo booth occupies can help set the mood and can provide something of an escape from your event. Adding a seat or two in front of the backdrop can not only help frame the area in focus, but provide a welcome relief where older guests can take a load off.
4. If you don’t already have a photography prop box, now is the perfect opportunity to put one together. Grab an old crate or basket and fill it with oversized glasses, stick-on mustaches, cowboy hats, feather boas, whiteboard or chalkboard conversation bubbles, and more. The more props in your box, the more likely your guests will pose for multiple pictures, experimenting with different looks and different groups of friends or family members.
5. Have a reliable tripod for your camera or your tablet, or consider an all-in one with the Studio Vu-2 Photo Booth from Tether Tools. This kit holds your camera, monitor, and flash on one stand for a minimal footprint and easy operation. The Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10S Ball Head is a compact travel-style tripod that works perfectly for a tablet or a smaller camera. For a larger, heavier-duty tripod, consider the Benro TMA37ALHD3 Series 3 Mach3 Aluminum Tripod that is practically guaranteed to survive the most raucous of events.
6. Aside from taping down any errant cords, having a couple of sandbags on hand to stabilize your gear is a good idea. You can get sandbags in a variety of sizes and weight to hold down tripods, c-stands, light stands, signage, and most importantly, to keep your crazy aunt from accidentally knocking the entire system over in her enthusiasm to take a series of pictures with every other member of your family.
7. A Vello FreeWave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release works with Canon, Nikon, and Sony cameras to provide a wireless shutter release, allowing friends to grab the remote and go. For those relying on a tablet setup, apps like Pocketbooth, Simple Booth, and CamWow typically provide a countdown, as well as editing tools, effects, and easy connection opportunities to compatible printers.
8. Provide prints to your guests immediately with the Mitsubishi CP-D90DW High-Speed Dye Sublimation Digital Color Printer. This small size printer produces a variety of print sizes in record speed. In addition to being able to choose what size of image you would like, guests can choose between glossy or matte finishes.
9. For the analog and instant lover alike, a Fujifilm INSTAX Mini camera or two with packages of film allows your guests to take turns posing for pictures and walk away with a wallet sized one-of-a-kind instant print. Delegate a friend to ration the number of instant prints available for use, putting a few packs out at a time as the event goes on, so not all of the film is used within the first hour or two.
10. Regardless of which setup you decide upon, don’t forget to create an event hashtag! Whether or not you’re providing prints immediately, it is likely that everyone is going to take their own pictures with their phones and immediately upload those images to their social media accounts. Make sure your hashtag is clearly printed on a sign near your photo booth setup to allow all of your guests to share and see all of the pictures taken at the photo booth and event itself.
A successful photo booth is all about providing a fun opportunity to capture your friends and family enjoying themselves at your event. While setting up your photo booth should not be a stressful endeavor, having your bases covered with extra paper, film, and batteries (or an electrical input) will help keep your booth up and running well into the after-hours of your party. Sit back, relax, and say cheese with several of your close friends before the night is over! Tell us about it in the Comments section, below.