Instructables

Wedding Photobooth (iPad+DSLR)

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Picture of Wedding Photobooth (iPad+DSLR)
2012-06-30 18.40.03.jpg
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I built this photobooth as a bit of fun at our wedding and we've been able to use it for other parties since.

After deciding to build a photobooth, I had a few constraints. I knew it should be lightweight, easily portable, and I preferred using as much equipment that I could repurpose for other photography projects. For simplicity, I decided not to include a print out of the photos, though there are additions to this setup that would allow that. My next improvement for this project would be a visible countdown before the photos are taken to prepare people. We got a lot of great shots because people were surprised, but it would feel more refined with this feature.

That'd be me there in the white dress ;-)

As with most of my projects, I made it Techshop!

EDIT: I've redesigned the structure of this photobooth based on the interest and great feedback from this Instructable. For the updated version, see the latest: http://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-Photobooth-iPadDSLR/

 
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Step 1: The System

Picture of The System

The key to this project is the small, yellow SD card in the middle: an EYE-FI card. Any camera that takes an SD card will work - I used the Canon XSi - and a mobile device that can speak to the Eye-Fi Card such as an iPhone or iPad. I used an iPad2 because I wanted the images to be large enough to be viewed from farther away. The last piece is this intervalometer which can be set to take a set number of photos after an initial delay with a pause in between each photo. I chose 4 photos after a 3 second delay with 3 seconds in between each pose.

The connection for most of this is obvious once you've gathered the supplies. Put the SD card in the camera, connect the intervalometer to the camera and program it as you'd like. The Eye-Fi card establishes its own wifi 'network' which becomes visible after taking a photo. After this, follow the directions for setting up your card. I find it helps to set the iPad in Airplane mode once you're connected to the Eye-Fi card network to help the photos transfer quickly.

[Additional connection steps added]

The Eye Fi card has its own app for the iPad and other mobile devices and that's what's displaying the photos on the iPad. You can adjust the display modes in the application. You'll need that to 'wake up' the network. So here are the steps:
1. Open the Eye Fi app on your iPad.

2. Take a photo with the camera to wake up the network.

3. On the iPad, connect to the Eye Fi network under Wi-Fi networks.

3b. Optional step - I recommend turning on Airplane Mode here for faster photo transfers. (Again - if anyone know more about this than me, please teach me best practices.)

4. Switch back to the Eye Fi app. You should notice an icon on the top right of the gallery view with the camera connecting to a mobile device with a hand in front. That will be red when it's not connected and green when it is. If you've set everything up correctly, the images should come straight through. Click on any image to enlarge and stay in this view for the images to come in full screen.

I love the simplicity of the solution, I would have over engineered something like this (and probably not completed it!).

Nice work

acoens (author)  NathanWilliams15 days ago

Thanks, NathanWilliams! It's nice working toward a deadline for me, for sure.

The hardware is solid. I took a second stab at this project to construct the housing in a much simpler way after I learned so much from making the first one. It seemed different enough to merit its own Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-Photobooth-iPadDSLR/

unnamed2 months ago

Hello

Can we coonect tje wificard to the same network or wifi, because to print we have also to have the printer in the same network, right? anyone do it already can help?

Thanks

rich6663 months ago
Did you use an eye-fi mobi as in your link? I've got the parts together & works great... Apart from keeps losing connection, which means manually reconnecting - there's no option to use any other connection than the inbuilt on the mobi from what I can tell though...
hi, I had the same problem as you rich666, I worked a way around the dropped wifi connection.

First I turned off all auto power downs/sleeps on the camera and ipad.

Second I deleted the wifi profile that the Eye-fi app installed onto the ipad.

Then I took a photo with the camera to power on the wifi and went to the settings on my ipad and tapped on the eye-fi card wifi hotspot and entered the activation code for the pass word of the wifi hotspot.

When connected I turned on the "auto join network" option on the ipad.

When connected go to the eye-fi app and the transfers should work normally.

After the wait, I waited 15 to 20 mins when testing, it takes a minute or so after taking a few photos. I did it with a series of 4 photos. It works best if you take the 4 photo set wait a 30 seconds or so and then take another set and that will speed up the ipad seeing the wifi card.

This is the only way I could get around the wifi drop out connection.

Hope that helps.
acoens (author)  rich6663 months ago

Hmm I used the Eye-Fi Pro-x2 (http://www.eyefi.com/products/prox2). Same company and I can't see what the difference in the products actually is, if any. If anything, I think the mobi is newer.

I didn't have any issues with the connection. Two suggestions:
1) After connecting to the eye-fi card, set your mobile device in airplane mode. This makes the transfers faster for me and preserves battery life. (If anyone knows more about this than me, I'd love to learn more about best practices.)
2) In the Eye-Fi application on your display/mobile device, go to Settings > Application Preferences > Prevent sleep. This was a huge help in making sure the iPad didn't shut off during the wedding, which would require someone to open the cabinet and go through the process again.

Did that help?

fthrift3 months ago

Did you use simple booth event or can you use it? Or did you use the photobooth app on the ipad2? Can you explain how that works after the picture is taken?

acoens (author)  fthrift3 months ago

Ahh yes! I forgot to mention this in the Instructable -- good catch!

The Eye Fi card has its own app for the iPad and other mobile devices
and that's what's displaying the photos on the iPad. You can adjust the
display modes in the application. You'll need that to 'wake up' the
network. So here are the steps:
1. Open the Eye Fi app on your iPad.

2. Take a photo with the camera to wake up the network.

3. On the iPad, connect to the Eye Fi network under Wi-Fi networks.

3b.
Optional step - I recommend turning on Airplane Mode here for faster
photo transfers. (Again - if anyone know more about this than me, please
teach me best practices.)

4. Switch back to the Eye Fi app. You
should notice an icon on the top right of the gallery view with the
camera connecting to a mobile device with a hand in front. That will be
red when it's not connected and green when it is. If you've set
everything up correctly, the images should come straight through. Click
on any image to enlarge and stay in this view for the images to come in
full screen.

pll3 months ago

Thank you for letting me know the dimensions! My daughter really wanted a photo booth for her wedding but found it too expensive. I'm hoping to make this for her as a surprise. I will let you know how it turns out!

acoens (author)  pll3 months ago
Oh and I should add that no one really missed the printed photos. We posted them on Facebook and selected a few for our wedding album. It took out a ton of complexity and expense and people enjoyed it.
acoens (author)  pll3 months ago
I felt the same way and it's a small investment if you have or can reuse the electronics - or have other uses for a photobooth in the future. Plus it's more fun to make one than rent one anyway ;-)

Best of luck! Feel free to write back if you hit any stumbling blocks I might be able to help with along the way.
marcus_nelson3 months ago

How much would it cost to build the case? And I mean, have it pre made, then shipped? While I am interested in having this, I don't have the experience necessary to construct the case.

acoens (author)  marcus_nelson3 months ago

I've considered making the case and selling it on Etsy and letting people add their own electronics. Is that the kind of thing you're interested in?

djrfingers acoens3 months ago

how much would you sell the enclosures for. I have/can get the other components

acoens (author)  djrfingers3 months ago

I honestly haven't priced this out to make and sell. Out of curiosity, what would you be willing to pay for it, ballpark? I think one challenge would be to make it so it could be flat packed and assembled so the shipping isn't insanely expensive and cumbersome. If there's a market for these, I'd consider figuring out how to create this and sell.

djrfingers acoens3 months ago

What do you think would be a fair price, not including the shipping. I really like the laser cut and design.

djrfingers acoens3 months ago

Not sure on pricing, but I would DEFINITELY be interested in it as I am looking for a portable option to run photobooth.

Yes. But let me explain more:

At my school, I'm a member of our Student Council, and we want to do something for our student body. At one point, I came up with the idea of a Photo Booth. We were trying to figure out a model, and found your instructable. We decided it was a great model, but we need something that can be extremely versatile and strong, yet light enough to be somewhat mobile. And I decided to ask if you could help
acoens (author)  marcus_nelson3 months ago

Do you have access to the other components? You can actually build something a lot more simple that what I have here with just a camera, Eye-Fi card, and intervalometer, plus an optional tripod. The case is really fun, but not essential.

If you're set on the case, I'd suggest modifying the case details so you can build it yourself. In your school, do you have a shop class? Could this be a project for some aspiring furniture builder? You don't *need* a laser cutter and could easily do this with traditional woodworking tools (a table saw and a drill press would get you most of the way there), or perhaps even reclaimed materials used in clever ways. Hard to say without knowing your school. We definitely had these tools in my junior high and high school, but funding the electronics and keeping them safe from theft and vandalism is a different story.

We're planning on purchasing an iPad 2, maybe a refurbished camera, and the Eye-Fi Card. We're also considering buying a mini printer to print the pictures afterward. I actually have not thought about the intervalometer yet.

Unfortunately, our Junior High School does not have a shop class. I think I'm going to see about this casing for the iPad: http://www.maclocks.com/ipad-enclosure-ipad-mount-...

But you know, now that you mention reclaimed materials, I realize that could be an idea, but I'm not sure how we would implement it.

We do have a large amount of funding, and can spend up to, I believe, about $700 or more. I think the iPad won't be more than $250, maybe a $250-$300 camera, $100 32GB Eye-Fi, (I still don't know about the intervalometer), and $200 mini printer. Something like that.

I'm not the best designer, so maybe I could figure out the components, and then you could find a way to implement them in a casing of some sort?

acoens (author)  marcus_nelson3 months ago

Luckily, the intervalometer is the cheap part - the one I used and listed here is under $20. If you do end up printing the photos, you'll also have to consider paper and printer ink.

I'd recommend getting clever on the reclaimed materials. One idea:
Find a big, old desk/dresser drawer and turn it on its side. Maybe get some chip board or cardboard (things you can cut with scissors or box cutters) and fit the board to the open side of the drawer. Use the inside of the drawer like I did here but instead of the little wooden stand, maybe get a mini tripod and stabilize the camera that way to line it up with a hole you cut out of the cardboard (oh! or get a drawer with a divider and then just prop the camera up on the divider). If you need to, run the intervalometer outside of the unit and just cover the rest of the remote with an arrow pointing to the button, or you can have it like I did here. Print off the directions for how to use the photobooth on a regular printer and attach them to the front of your drawer unit.

I'd love to see you make this yourself or with a group! There are so many ways you could approach the case and still have a good, strong result. I'd also ask around to see if anyone has access to basic shop tools. These are great life skills and you might have a knack for making if you're already hanging out on Instructables :-)

pll3 months ago

I love this idea and would like to make it for my daughter's wedding. I didn't know if you would mind letting me know the dimensions of the case that you built? I guess I could figure something out but I'm running short on time. Thank you!

acoens (author)  pll3 months ago
Oh, my mistake - I should go back and make the dimensions more clear.

Overall dimensions:
Width = 11.25"
Height = 29.73"
Depth = 11.75"

I linked the structure I purchased through Amazon in the Instructable. If I were to do this again, I would just build out my own without the purchased structure but at the time I didn't think about having it on a table and I wanted a shortcut.

The size of each of the pieces of plywood is 11 1/8" x 13 1/2". I just assembled them around the existing structure with extra pieces of reinforcement from the nametags I made as an additional brace. This worked out really well as the internal structure has PVC dowels inside and the wooden reinforcement I used has a rounded edge that hugs the PVC. That said, this could be much, much simpler as a wooden box with dado cuts for a shelf half way up and one solid piece of wood as the front cover. That's how I would do this if I built a second one.

Please post back here when you have yours built! I'd love to see what you come up with.

This looks like so much fun! It has a lot of possibilities at so many events!

acoens (author)  bricabracwizard3 months ago

Thanks! It really is a blast. It's small enough to throw in the trunk of a car (or take on the bus if you're feeling really adventurous) so we've used it several times since the wedding. People bring their own costumes and props and each time it feels brand new.

I hope you make your own!

Kudos where kudos is due! The funny hats were a nice touch. Now that's my kind of wedding ... fun! Oh and I'm glad to see that inadvertant sexism is alive and well ... you looked hot in that white dress mister ;)

acoens (author)  brett the pharmacist3 months ago

Heh this comment made my day!

My brother snapped this photo of me Macgyvering a solution for the intervalometer sled after our rehearsal dinner (while still in my rehearsal dress) at the guest house the night before our wedding. He reminded me that it's atypical for the bride to be mixing epoxy and cutting cardboard shims within 24 hours of making vows, but I suppose that's likely true for grooms, too ;-)

IMG_0040-1951838657-O.jpg
HaveFunWithIt3 months ago

I assume the "Remote" (intervalometer) is how you trigger the camera to start taking the 4 pictures? I suppose one could make a big button on the top that would somehow press the correct button on the remote and start the process. This is a very cool instructable. I always wanted to make one of these. There would be any number of oportunities to put it to use.

Never mind. I see now the remote has a remote switch I guess.

acoens (author)  HaveFunWithIt3 months ago

Yeah, the remote connects on the bottom and I just have it set up so the user pushes the same button you would if you were using the remote outside of the box. I looked into wireless remotes and many just had notes about how there were issues with connectivity or if the camera wasn't within line-of-sight from the remote. This was more or less foolproof once it's all plugged in (thought the Eye Fi can be a little fickle) so we went this route.

jai_043 months ago

What about if I want to print some of the photos, can it use a Canon Selphy to print via wifi?

acoens (author)  jai_043 months ago

Hi jai_04, I'm not sure. We looked into printing and decided that it would just be too much to manage on our wedding day (and didn't want someone else looking after it), but it would be a fun addition. If you try to connect with the Canon Selphy, please update here and let me know how it goes!

nyktunr3 months ago
What kind of intervalometer did you use?

The setup looks great!
acoens (author)  nyktunr3 months ago

Thanks, nyktunr! Here's the one I used:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003Q9RERY/ref=oh...

Very cool!

acoens (author)  The Electrodog Show3 months ago

Thanks! We still use it for other parties. I brought it along to a friend's bachelorette this past weekend and we had a blast.

That's cool! So the iPad isn't taking the pictures, the camera is?

acoens (author)  Penolopy Bulnick3 months ago

Hi Penelopy, that's correct. iPad already had a photobooth feature, but
the camera on the iPad isn't great and I wanted better quality images and more
control, especially in low light.

Yes Penelopy. He connected it via wi-fi. So the camera takes the picture and the Ipad grabs the picture.

acoens (author)  Boygasmo3 months ago

Thanks for chiming in, Boygasmo! You got everything but the pronoun right ;-)