The Beard sent me this photo from a wedding photo booth, and I absolutely love it.
If I could go back and re-plan my wedding, I’d definitely set up a makeshift photo booth. Sure, I could rent one, but that can get expensive when you factor in delivery and pick-up of the photo booth itself, the insurance, and the fact that some photo booth rental companies put limits on the number of photos wedding guests can take. Limits? The whole point of having a photo booth at the reception is that it gives guests, the wedding party, and the bride and groom a chance to cut loose in front of the camera after everyone is thoroughly boozicated. How loose can you get when you’re worried about running out of photo paper?
Knowing zip about photography in general, I went looking for a makeshift photo booth tutorial and, zowie, did I ever find one. The lovely people at the things we think but do not say have created an amazing DIY photo booth tutorial for weddings that is about a gazillion words long and uses words like “sync cables.” That said, it’s easy to understand and looks doable for the non-photog, provided you can borrow or buy or jury-rig the equipment.
I summarize the instructions under the cut, but I definitely recommend checking out the full tutorial.
Note: When you rent a traditional photo booth for your wedding, you’re potentially giving guests a keepsake to take home. When you set up a DIY photo booth, the photos are saved to your memory card or hard drive, so unless you decide to share, the keepsake is for your and your new spouse. And with a home grown wedding photo booth, you’re not going to get the same strip sequence look unless you finagle it that way or ‘shop it later.
First, you will need:
- A big ol’ sheet for a backdrop.
- A digital camera or a digital SLR that lets you fire the camera remotely and that has software available that let’s you record your images directly to a laptop.
- A strobe/flash or two.
- A way for the camera to trigger the strobes/flashes. (This is where the sync cable comes in.)
- The actual remote that fires the camera.
Then it’s time to:
- Hang up the sheet.
- Download or install the software that lets you record your images directly to your laptop.
- Connect the USB cable to the laptop and to the camera.
- Mount the camera onto a tripod and frame the shot with a test subject (or use yourself if you’ve already got the remote working).
- Activate the strobes and test fire your flashes.
- Attach a Pocket Wizard to your camera’s hot shoe mount.
- Set up your laptop on to another tripod and sit it on the laptop plate.
- Test your set-up!
Yeah, I don’t know what a lot of that means, either, but the post I linked to earlier does a fine job of explaining the confusing bits and defining the various pieces of equipment. What I do know is that when you’re planning a wedding, there is a lot to think about without having to deal with a lot of unfamiliar technical stuff. So if you’re not a techie by nature or trade, there is an easy way to get around that.
When friends and family (and maybe even your fiancé(e)) ask how they can help you, keep an eye out for the amateur photographers or photography enthusiasts in the bunch. They’ll know their way around an SLR, and seeing as that they’ve already offered to help, they will no doubt be more than happy to take charge of your DIY wedding photo booth.
(Edit: This is the sort of thing Toni is talking about in the comments, though you’ll have to buy whatever remote works with your particular camera. Anyone else have any tips to make DIY photo booths less complicated?)