Introduction: Simple Photo Booth

Picture of Simple Photo Booth

I have seen that there are Plenty of Photo Booth instructables here on Instructables.

When I make this instructable, I do have something else in mind than setting something up with Raspberry PIs or Apps to download.

I want to suggest a Simple Photo Booth that most people who are having a DSLR can set up with a minimal additional (and not complex) DIY part.

Furthermore I would like to pass on some of the experiences (and considerations) I made.

Step 1: Choice of Location and Props

Picture of Choice of Location and Props

Where to Place it

I have placed the Booth at the locations (so far 6) on different spots. I have made good experiences with hallways (as odd as it may sound) as plenty of people are passing by and participate at the action.

Find a Background that is representative to the location

This will be the connecting link between all the photos you are having. If this reminds the People of the venue, its a good choice. In MY opinion white Backgrounds are boring, furthermore they are difficult to light up evenly!

Position people

Put a ligne on the ground where the focal plane is (manual focus). And also indicate this to the people.

Tape tripods legs to the ground if in fear of someone tripping

If you fear your equipment to get damaged by people passing by, you can tape down to the ground the legs of the tripod. This also helps to have a consistent Frame of the pictures.

When to put it up

I guess this very much depends on the type of the event and maybe also the way the events are celebrated in different cultures. I have made the following good experiences with weddings in europe: I have placed the Booth when the music is playing and people are dancing. I have left it running during the night (even after I left).

Bring props

It is wise to have some props for the people. It turns out to be a lot of fun for the people!

  • I had the luck that there was always someone willing to provide some stuff. Ask around !

Step 2: Camera Settings and the Technical Part

Picture of Camera Settings and the Technical Part

Camera Settings

  • Powerdown Timeout as long as possible
    • My Camera has a 30 minutes settting. After the powerdown it will take two Shutter presses to restart the camera.
  • Use the flash (even the inbuilt one)
    • The flash is way more powerfull than continuous light. If you can, you can set the exposure Time according to the ambiant light to catch some of the "ambiance". Please note that this will lead to longer exposure times and hence pictures with Motion might be blurry.
    • Furthermore, the Flash is very helpful as it is a direct feedback to the user whether a photo has been taken
  • If you have no clue, use the automatic setting for Aperture, Speed and ISO
  • prefocus to marked distance and set to Manual Focus
    • Tape down Focus and Zoom Ring to avoid accidental mis setting.

Cable Remote Shutter

  • Set up the wiring according to the pictures provided. I have connected the focus and shutter pin together. There might be other ways but this works fine.
  • Wirings for all the manufactuers can be found here: http://doc-diy.net/photo/remote_pinout/
  • The button I use is a "Self locking Button" which means that it wil stay in the pressed state until it will be released. This was initially unintended but turned out to be quite useful to reduce the amount of photos taken. You wil anyway end up with a lot of photos... :)
  • The way I did the setup, it is soldered. since these are only some wire connections to make, you can also use insulating screw joints to make this.

Picture Review

  • You can use the photo booth as described up to there. There is however no way to review the pictures.
  • If you want to have a easy and quick to install review options i suggest is to just connect the camera with the provided cable to a TV. The TV will then show what would be shown on the cameras screen, which is usually the last picture.

Some notes:

  • Place the TV close to the camera or otherwise people will visibliy look at the TV when taking repeative pictures
  • I have two Batteries that only need to be replaced once per evening
  • be sure to charge Batteries and empty Memory cards before the events.

Step 3: Postproduction and Advantages of Simplicity

Postproduction:

I usually provide the pictures as they are to the married couple (for weddings).

Sometimes I have made a small videoslideshow with a catchy beat (120-140 bpm) and synced the pictures framerate to the beat. This gives a nice way to watch the batch of pictures and is reasonably fast to create.

Advantages of a Simple Photo Booth

  • It is fairly easy to set up at the location
  • Does not need supervision during the event. I usually go and check 3-4 Times per Evening
  • The Photo Booth can be set up all night. The memory card can be changed during the evening (I usually do that when I go to bed to "save" (in the sense of "back up" the pictures agains mishaps by other drunk people
  • There is only one DIY part (Button with the plug)

  • The DIY part can be done by anyone who knows to connect cables with insulating screw joints (there are even 2.5 mm plugs with screw terminals).

I hope this encourages you to also do a Photo Booth with your DSLR!

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