This is a tutorial on how to build your own Photobooth. My friend had a wedding coming up and was in need of a Photobooth. Photobooth rentals go anywhere from $500 - $1500 so we decided to do our own & hence another DIY Photobooth project was born. This one however is a little different in that it includes a lighting and LED control feature leveraging the Arduino and some custom software.
Printer (capable to handle 4 x 6 paper size)
HD Webcam - $50
DIY Magic Mirror/Photobooth Kit & Software ($139) or Arduino with the DIY Magic Mirror/Photobooth Software ($49)
2 Clip Lamps - $40
1 Green LED - $1
1 Red LED - $1
Optional enclosure box for the LEDs - $5
X-10 RF Transceiver TM571 - $16
X-10 Firecracker CM17A - $5
X-10 Lamp Module LM465 - $10
PVC pipe and Fabric for the Photobooth Structure - $80
Optional Photobooth Sign from Kinkos
Optional Photobooth Start Button - $20
Step 1: Building the Photobooth Structure
Step 2: The Electronics for the Lighting and LED Control
You'd save yourself some time though with the DIY Magic Mirror /Photobooth kit which involves much less soldering and includes the software.
The DIY Magic Mirror / Photobooth Kit plugs into the USB port on your laptop and then it's just a matter of installing the software and hooking up the printer and monitor.
Step 3: DIY Photobooth Software
The manual (see page 46) goes in to greater detail on how to setup the Photobooth software but here's the gist:
1. Run the Config program and turn on the Photobooth
2. Go to the Photobooth settings screen where you can turn on printing, turn on the X-10 control, turn on the LED control, specify the layout of the 4 x 6 photostrip (most printers these days can handle 4 x 6 photo paper). You can also create a custom logo to appear on the screen and a custom background for the Photostrip printout.
Step 4: How the Lighting Control Works Using X-10
You'll need the following X-10 modules:
X-10 Firecracker CM17A - no longer made but easy to get on eBay
The Arduino sends the X-10 commands to the CM17A which then relays over RF to the TM571. The TM571 then broadcasts it out to X-10 devices which in our case is the X-10 LM465 lamp module. Ensure here you match the X-10 address on the devices with the X-10 address in the software, the default X-10 address in the software is A4.
One caution on X-10, X-10 signals do not cross over very well over different electrical circuits (i,e, if the electrical outlets are on different circuits in your electrical breaker panel). If that is the case, then you'd need some extra X-10 signal booster hardware, you don't want to go there. To avoid this problem, just plug both the TM571 and the LM465 into the same powerstrip and you'll be fine.
Step 5: Wiring the LED Indicators
Step 6: The Photobooth Start Button
Step 7: Photobooth Saved Pictures & Lessons Learned
Overall the Photobooth was a big hit at the Wedding, it was used about 100 times. You can see some sample pictures below which were saved to the hard drive.
A few things we could have done different:
1. The Photobooth was an outdoor installation. During the day, the sun was shining through the red fabric so the pictures during the day had a bit of a red tint to them. The red tint went away when the sun went down. If we were to do it again, black fabric on the outside probably would have been better for the day time shots.
2. We had a nice printer but it wasn't a dedicated 4 x 6 printer and hence only held about 25 4 x 6 sheets at one time. So we had to periodically check the paper levels and feed in new paper. Not really a big deal but a printer with a larger 4 x 6 paper capacity would be better. We had to change the ink one time which wasn't bad.