Introduction: Wedding Photobooth (iPad+DSLR)

About: Designer. Thinker. Doer. Hiker. Lover.

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:

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: The Structure

Building out the structure is entirely up to you, actually. I'll outline what I did.

Using thin plywood, cut the base pieces to the dimensions you'll need. I used an existing piece as the base structure and built around it with the plywood but you can really use anything. The important part is to allow space for the button of the intervalometer to be pressed and the camera lens and iPad screen exposed.

After cutting to the dimensions I needed, I laser cut holes for the three interface parts. I added some light marking around the camera circle and iPad rectangle and then etched photobooth message on the board with the opening for the intervalometer button. The design of the message is up to you.

I was able to find useful clamps to hold the pieces while gluing. I wanted to build a structure independent from the existing structure and added hinges to allow for access to the photobooth system pieces.

Step 3: The Setup

This last step is quick and easy, which helps set up and tear down.

I built a small 'table' for the camera to sit on inside the booth at the exact height of the circle opening. For the iPad, I used two pieces of plywood to create the outer door so I could prepare an inlay for the iPad. I use a small extra piece that sits on top of the iPad to hold it in place while opening and closing the door. It's a quick fix and could be more elegant. To keep the door secure, I put on a quick fastener on the side.

The intervalometer sits in a little sled in the bottom with a second piece to hold the remote in place. I cut a small hole in the spacer between the top and bottom sections to run the cord up to the camera.

Snap a quick photo to turn on the Eye-fi card and enjoy the photobooth!

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