For our wedding, we knew we wanted to have a photobooth, so we did a lot of research into DIY vs renting. Rentals were quite expensive (around $600-$1200) and DIY range from $0 on up depending on how much you already have. On the easy side there was: setup your computer with its web cam and use some photobooth like app. On the hard side there were custom circuitry with fancy triggers and printers etc.
I settled on a middle path. Some digital cameras now have a digital output (usually micro HDMI). When hooked up to a monitor the camera can display pictures that have been taken, or (and more interestingly for this project) it can show whatever the camera is seeing!
The best part of a photobooth is people seeing themselves before the photo and being silly! Since my camera has that output all I needed to do was point the camera one way, have a monitor facing the same way, then throw in a remote and watch the fun that ensued. In order to make everything pretty I had to build a box to hide the technology.
This post is mainly meant as inspiration, so I won't be including too many specific dimensions. We went with a design that could be set on a table
Step 1: Frame
We went to Home Depot and bought 2 pieces of plywood and found some spare 2×4’s in the attic. Found a flush mount monitor kit on amazon and a spare computer monitor in a closet. I started with the main front face (where the monitor would be attached facing the photo-takers), adding 2x4s for structural support. Then I attached my flush monitor mount to the front of the frame.
I wanted the camera to be above the monitor because pictures from above are supposedly more flattering. I bought a little swivel that I could mount into the wood, so I put another 2×4 at the right height for that. Here is where my previously unmentioned planning came into play. I actually did measure my monitor and camera to make sure everything would fit on the front panel. From there it was a bit of improv as the project went on though. For this build I had the overall shape in my head but determining all the lengths, angles, heights etc ahead of time didn’t seem necessary for something that would most likely be used a few tines. I would add each element off of the previous and measure everything to fit together as I went. Again, this is instructables is mainly meant for inspiration. I hope some of you will be inspired to make your own and I would love to see photos if you do!
I wanted the whole back panel to open on hinges so that the camera would be easily accessible and the whole thing would be easy to assemble and break down. A quick trip to Home Depot and we found these cabinet hinges that worked out well.
For the sides I just pressed a sheet of plywood against it’s current shape. Traced the lines. Measured in by the width of the sheet, then cut! To cut the hole I needed for my camera lens, I used my Milwaukee hole cutting set. A bit on the pricey side but they are AMAZING! Plus I love the case as I’m a have-a-place-for-it-or-loose-it guy.
For a more finished look we used our favorite Minwax dark walnut wood stain. Super easy way to unite all the wood in a piece and make it look a lot more finished. Of course we didn’t get pictures of this though :P But I use an old rag or t-shirt and wipe the stain on and off and it is super fast. I also usually wear rubber gloves too because that stain works on skin too.
Almost all finished, but moving it around was a little troublesome. No grips on the sides. Another Home Depot trip fixed that though with some standard drawer pulls.
Step 2: Electronics
I went with an older camera (the Samsung galaxy camera) because it has the aforementioned video out (shown in the first image), but it also has a few other neat tricks. It has wi-fi... so during the wedding it was uploading pictures to the internet so that the guests could see and re-share them on whatever social media they liked :)
I also included a picture showing the hole I cut in the middle to feed out the power and video cables to the monitor.
Step 3: Enjoy!
Hope this tutorial gave you some good ideas!! If you have any questions, I will answer them and update the guide too.
If you want to make that backdrop you see in the final photo, we have an instructable for that!
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