Instructables
DIY Photobooths are a great craze, and they're incredible fun.  I made a photobooth initially for my own wedding reception, but since then I've used it a huge amount of times and it's always been a big hit.

I saw jchorng's instructable before I started, and it was very inspiring.  The booth looks awesome, but unfortunately for me (and probably many of you), a full size booth is just too impractical.

I had a few goals with this project.
-Durability - the booth is going to be used a lot, so it has to stand up to repeated use.  No PVC pipe here.
-Professionalism - this booth doesn't have to look as great as the professionally-built booths out there, but it has to look presentable enough to fit in a classy wedding.  Nothing fancy.
-Portable/Small - the booth has to be transported easily (in a sedan), and be setup & torn-down very quickly by one person.  Again, no PVC, no heavy wood or metal frames, no assembly-needed.
-Self-contained - I did not want to have to connect a ton of equipment together for each event.  Ideally there's a minimum of cables leaving the box, and the rest is all setup and ready inside.
-High Quality - This was used in a professional setting, so I needed high quality input & output.  So that means no webcams.  Also, I used a few printers (see the next step for discussion).

So our mission:  build a smaller, table-top sized mini-photobooth.  And here are the results:
 
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Amazing tutorial! Can't wait to start my own soon! Quick question. Is there anyway to program the software to do video as well? So like at the end of the night I can compile all the video's and make them into a DVD for the bride/groom?
One more thing. Jump, would you be able to recommend any newer model cameras and printers to use for this project? I know the instructions were made about 2 yrs ago.
mrios41 year ago
Definitely! Ill try to post pictures when we're done with the project! (:
mrios41 year ago
This is so helpful! Thanks jumpfroggy you did a great job! Hopefully mines turns out good!
jumpfroggy (author)  mrios41 year ago
Good luck, let me know if you have questions.
bro4shoe1 year ago
hello!! do you know how to tell if a camera is able to be controlled via usb? I was looking at the cameras you had suggested and they seem to be very expensive--not sure of any suggestion you may be able to give me!
Thanks so much, we are definitely making this for our upcoming wedding. Looking forward to hearing back!

Thanks,
Amanda
Elle_CH2 years ago
Hi jumpfroggy

I'm in the middle of building my very own photo booth and I definitely want a "panic button" for the extra fun.

That's why the last sentence of this tutorial is sooooo interesting for me:
"Our next booth will use a custom-made USB button, stay tuned to future updates..."

How do you build your own USB button? The ones you mentioned seem to be discontinued (again).

Greez, Michelle
patchrick2 years ago
Hi froggy!

I have to say this is a fantastic idea and my favorite of all the photobooth designs on Instructables. I'm definitely going to build one for my wedding. I'm looking to get started this weekend and I'm at the "dimensioning" phase. I wanted to ask what your dimensions were, just for comparison to mine. And is there any advice overall that you would offer when planning the size of the inside of the box? If you could let me know, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!!
jumpfroggy (author)  patchrick2 years ago
The dimensions are roughly 18" wide, 14" deep, 24" high.

The #1 concern is LCD monitor size. A typical 19" diag LCD monitor is about 17" wide. Add 1/2 on each side for the walls, you get 18" external width.

The 24" is just a typical 48 x 48 piece of wood cut in half. Looks good.

14" deep is enough room to store all your gear. You could go shallower, but the proportions start to look funny.

So make sure your LCD fits. Everything else can be fudged, but it it's too small for that you're stuck. Also - if you're going to be using anything non-compact (especially the PC), do a test fit. Laptops are very hard to fit - the ports come off all sides, so a 14" wide laptop may need 18" of room for all cables to be plugged in. You don't want to have that propped up diagonally.

Good luck - let me know how progress goes, and post pics after!
davepc3 years ago
Hey, looks great, thanks.

Is it the canon powershot sx100 /110 you are using? That is what I'm going to use. A great camera in day light but flash not the best and takes a long time to reload, and it kills the colour of the photo. Going to use it in a relatively dark room at my wedding.

So how do you find it? And unfortunately the sx110 doesn't have a hot shoe to add a flash. I am considering a slave flash triggered by the canon (but con is it will also be triggered by other peoples flash) or making a soft box with a very bright halogen lamp.

Any thoughts?
jumpfroggy (author)  davepc3 years ago
Yes, I was using the SX100 and SX110. They're great cameras - some of the most recent (2009) USB-controllable cameras released, relatively cheap (<$100 used), take great pics, and are compact. The only downside is that they have a couple second delay after capture while the flash recharges. It's not a big deal though.

Highly recommended - get the canon AC adapter. It reduces the recharge delay by quite a bit, and also guarantees that the camera will not die during use. And if you're using the flash a lot, it'll eat through batteries pretty quickly.

We use the built-in flash in dark rooms - the pics come out great. Not studio-quality (you'd need off-camera flash for that), but great for photobooth. We use the flash even when it's daylight/bright out - it never washes out a picture, but can really balance things depending on the light situation.

I currently use Canon S5IS cameras, which cost more. The benefits are that they don't have the flash recharge delay and they also have a hotshoe (the only USB-controllable powershots that do, I think). However, they're harder to find, cost more, are more bulky, and have a badly-fitting lens cap cover. I'd recommend the SX100/110 for most people.

I have a studio flash from Adorama (http://www.adorama.com/FPBF160.html), it's about $60. It includes an optical flash, so you could use it with the SX100. You'd have to still use the built-in flash, turn the flash exposure correction all the way down, and possible set the camera to manual. Even then, you can't control the onboard flash - it'll expose less than it normally would, but the level will still be determined automatically by the camera so will be inconsistent. I haven't tested mine with the SX100 in different lighting situations, so I don't know if this setup would work well.

If you really hate the on-camera flash (which I'd suggest testing out in a dark room first - I really like the results), then I'd recommend the optical-slave studio light bounced off the ceiling and the manual settings on the camera.

If that doesn't work well, then build a softbox. However, you'll need quite bright bulbs for a good looking softbox (long fluorescent tubes, or some high power CFLs). Plus some diffuser material.

I do plan on using the studio strobe w/ the S5's hotshoe, but in the meantime the SX100's on-board flash works so well I really don't feel the pressure to change.

The bigger questions - do you really need studio-quality lighting for your photobooth pics? Are you printing full-size (4x6, 8x11, etc) pictures? If so, why aren't you using a DSLR instead?

Good luck!
cassieee_g3 years ago
What kind of camera did you use? My fiance and I are getting married and would LOVE to try and build this... You did an amazing job, but I am havign a hard time trying to figure out what camera to use... THANK YOU! Great job!!!!!!!!! LOOOVE IT!
Or are there any cameras you recommend?
jumpfroggy (author)  cassieee_g3 years ago
I'd recommend a Powershot SX100 or SX110. The SX100 can be had pretty reasonably on ebay/craigslist.

If you're budget shopping, you can find the older A-series cameras since a lot of those are compatible, and even the old cheap ones do very decently.

Be sure to check out the camera compatibility though, since it's very hit or miss - canon has decided to make this complicated for us.
Thank you so much!!!
TabbyDeAnne3 years ago
I LOVE THIS! I AM GETTING MARRIED IN OCTOBER AND WANTED TO DO A PHOTOBOOTH BUT HAD NO CLUE HOW TO SET ONE UP! NOW I DO! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! YOU HAVE MY VOTE AND THAT SAYS A LOT BECAUSE I'M IN THIS CONTEST AS WELL! lol
jumpfroggy (author)  TabbyDeAnne3 years ago
Thanks, and good luck! If you have any questions about setup, ideas, etc. just post them here and I'll respond. I've done dozens of weddings now, and have some good ideas stored up.

Look into 8x8 postbound scrapbooks, black pages, silver ink. Props (mustaches, glasses, hats, etc). You can use any neat/fun patterned fabric as a backdrop, and some more old fashion ones look nice. You can even do an overlay, which puts your names & the wedding date on each strip (depending on the software you use).
Thank you so much! I am totally looking into all of those things! I love the prop box idea and hope that I can find cool items to put into it!

I thought of doing a dry erase board for ppl to hold up as well but then I'm not sure if there will be enough room in the booth for that as well.

The black pages and silver ink is another FANTASTIC idea! Would I leave that at the booth for folks to put there finished pics into and sign or write a little note into? Maybe have a table devoted to just that?

Thanks again! You are helping to make a very cool wedding! I never thought it would happen to me so this is going to really make it shine!
That is a really cute idea, good luck!