DIY Photo Booth
If you Google for DIY photo booths, you’ll find lots of different ideas. I decided to go with what ended up being a fairly simple and very inexpensive idea.
I didn’t think of this myself, saw it on Offbeat Bride and loved it. Here’s the original tutorial: http://www.offbeatbride.com/2010/08/diy-photo-booth
What you’ll need:
– Sparkbooth software – currently costs $59 and offers a 10 day trial so you can experiment with it before you use it
– Props – you can find some on Etsy, make your own or buy costume items from Dollar Tree or Party City
– Backdrop – a curtain from Walmart, or a full PVC set up with various backgrounds to choose from
– Flat screen monitor (optional)
– Webcam (optional)
– Printer (optional)
Like the tutorial, I ran the program off a laptop onto an external monitor, to try and keep people off my laptop. I forgot to mention that to my bridesmaid’s husband (who kindly set it up the morning of the wedding) so my laptop was out, but luckily nothing happened to it.
I purchased the Sparkbooth software (the trial puts a watermark on all your pictures) for only $59, a bargain compared to a professional photo booth. You can set it to automatically print 1 picture, upload pictures to Facebook and more. I set it to automatically print 1 copy, and didn’t allow for any other options, to make it as simple for my guests as possible. The program also automatically saves all the pictures – both each individual shot and the full photo strip – to your computer, so you can always reprint/upload later.
Having looked at reviews on Amazon, I decided on a Canon PIXMA printer and I found one on Craigslist for $10. Ebay also had some for pretty cheap, or you could always use the printer you already have or borrow one from friends or family. Just make sure to research good printers and search for deals. I bought re-manufactured ink on 123inkjets.com for about $37 – even getting the high yield inks, we ran out of color after probably 60 pictures, so I highly suggest having extra ink. Check for coupons before you buy, they usually have sales!
If you run the program off a laptop with a built in webcam, you can skip this part. For the my external monitor, I got a Microsoft Lifecam VX-5000 from Amazon for $11. It does the job, it’s cheap, it’s easy to install and use. Again, if you can borrow one, all the better. Photo paper came from Amazon, got 2 packs of 100 sheets for about $15, and only ended up using one pack.
I had a monitor from when my desktop went kaput and we borrowed a Playstation keyboard because all I needed was the Space bar to start the photo booth. Again, borrow if you can. Check your keyboard for compatibility with your laptop, too. My husband found that I would have needed an adapter to plug my old keyboard into a USB port, hence the Playstation keyboard instead. Props came from Dollar Tree (some crazy sunglasses, leis, white boards, etc) and a funky curtain (one panel) from Walmart for about $10.
All told, I spend approximately $150 for a photobooth that I can use again and it was a huge hit! I already plan on re-using it for my 30th birthday party.
I have no pictures of the whole set up at my wedding , but I was able to take some pictures of the general idea after.