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Friday, February 10, 2012

DIY Photo Booth Ideas

I've seen a lot of blog posts with DIY photo booth ideas, and I wanted to add my ideas to the conversation. If you search photo booth ideas, you will come up with some great ideas for backdrops and props to fit any budget. Once you figure out your photo booth theme, here are my ideas on how to set up your photo booth on a limited budget!

Scout out your reception location. Try to find a wall or corner of the room that isn't being used during your reception, and make sure you have access to a wall outlet. Ask your reception venue to set up a banquet table in the area, preferably one that is 8ft long.  The table will be used to set up the lighting  and camera, and laptop if you choose to use one.

In the area you choose to set up your photo booth, look for anything on the walls that you can attach a backdrop to. Think about using spring clamps that can attach to window frames, or wall trim. Ask the venue if there are any installed screws or nails that you could use, as most venues will not allow you to install any thing that may damage their walls. Some backdrop ideas: lace table cloth strung "clothesline" style, a curtain made of ribbons, or a simple flat bed sheet. Remember to consider your theme and colors and use them when designing your backdrop.

Spring clamps, show here from Home Depot
With your backdrop attached to the wall of your venue, set up the table about 6 - 8 feet away. You can adjust the distance from your backdrop to the table and camera once you have everything set up.
Attach clamp lights to the edge of the table, one on each end. You can purchase inexpensive clamp lights at most stores in the hardware section. For the bulbs, use a 27 watt (100 watt output) Daylight Balanced CFL in each light. The CFL bulbs will stay cooler than the traditional bulbs, and will reduce the risk of any injury to guests.

Don't forget to locate the nearest wall outlet, and make sure you have the proper extension cords for plugging in your lights. Tape down any extension cords that guests might trip on!
Clamp light, shown here from Amazon
My choice of camera would be a DSLR with a timer setting and cable release. Using the timer with cable release will allow your guests to take their own photos. If you do not have this option, a point and shoot camera will also work, and guests can take turns behind the camera. 

Set your camera up on the table using a table top tripod, or use a regular tripod placed directly behind the table if you have one. Having your camera on a tripod will allow you to turn the flash off and use the available light without having blurry photos.

Another option is providing disposable cameras for the guests. Simply put out a handful of cameras on the table instead of the camera/tripod combo, and let guests snap away! 

Tabletop tripod, show here from Amazon

Backdrop & lighting setup
With any of these photo booth ideas, I recommend testing them before your event! Test out your lighting & camera combo to see what kind of photos you will get, and adjust the lighting accordingly.

Have fun with your backdrops, and don't forget the props! Mustache, funky sunglasses, vintage frame, feather boa.... Sure!

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