It's rare to find a party these days that doesn’t have a photo booth set up. Not only do they make great personalized party souvenirs and keepsakes, it's also loads of fun to take silly photos in front of a camera with family and friends.
If you’re planning a small party for a group of 10 to 15 kids at the most, you can do away with expensive rentals and set up your own DIY photo booth instead! It won’t only be cheaper, but you’ll also be able to craft it any way you want. Here’s a list of things you’ll need:
1. The perfect spot. Find a space at the event venue where you’d like the photo booth to be. Look for a spot that doesn’t obstruct the party, is easily accessible, and is large enough to accommodate your backdrop and your camera set up. The best spot would be one that’s well lit to make sure your smiley faces are easy to capture on cam.
Ideally, your backdrop should be around 5 feet wide and 4 feet tall. Hang on the wall at a a height that could fit five people in a frame from the waist up.
For a quick and simple one, you can decorate your backdrop with stripes of the party colors. For a pop of color, you can also cut out long strips of paper, tinsel or a string of bunting, and let it hang down from the top of your backdrop. Let your creativity loose and just have fun! For more ideas, check out Brit.co, Buzzfeed and Bustle.
3. A camera… or not For a DIY photo booth all you need is a digital camera and a tripod. You don’t even need a photographer. You can simply pre-set the camera timer and have the guests take the photo themselves. Just don’t forget to tell them this in advance or hang up a sign nearby saying so. Don’t have a camera? Set up your photo booth so that it’s selfie-friendly by having a selfie-stick nearby.
There are cameras and printers on the market today that have direct-from-camera-to-printer capabilities but if one isn’t readily available, you can always simply upload the photos online. Come up with a #hashtag for the event to make it even more fun.
If you want the photos printed, there are nifty portable printers, like the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1, that lets you print photos directly from any smartphone via an app. If you’re opting for this, make sure you have enough film cartridges at the ready for all your guests.
An even simpler option (but more costly) would be to get an instant camera for your photo booth. Just make sure you test it out and adjust the settings before the event so the pictures come out nice.
5. Lighting A good photo requires good lighting. If your party is happening during the day, use the natural light to your advantage. If not, you can opt for a spotlight and a photography umbrella for beautiful soft light. You can rent or buy these; however, plugging in bright lamps works, too. Make it exciting by using different colored lights. And, as a last resort, use your camera’s built-in flash.
Here’s where it gets fun. You can get props that go with the party’s theme. Or, you can go with objects that would be fun in pictures. Silly hats and glasses, wigs, silly headbands, feathered scarves, plastic outlandish jewelery, picture frames, balloons, flowers, speech bubbles and fake moustaches (or teeth) -- practically anything will work as long as it’s big enough for a photograph.
Once you have everything you need, all that’s left is to put everything together. Check the distance of the camera from the backdrop, the height of the tripod and backdrop, the best spot for optimum lighting and hang up the instructional signs if you have any. Don’t forget to test out your DIY photo booth for yourself before the party starts. Have fun!