Photobooth Fun! How to Set Up An Awesome Photobooth

I had an awesome time running a photo booth for a massive retirement party inside a beautifully decorated equestrian barn.  Now, I just want to show you a little bit of what we did there, and take a few moments to talk about the fun with photo booths, as well as some lighting info for any photographers who set up their own booths.

Anyone who is reading this because you're curious about my photo booth services, I'll start off by putting this out there for you; 
$325 Booth Setup Fee, 
and then
$2 per guest with 4x6 print
$0.75 for digital delivery / photo booth gallery website only (that means I don't print on site)
and… the 4x6 printing on site option also includes the digital deliver/website gallery. 

You don't need to act funny - you can get a nice
family portrait too!
I might mention, I don't typically do photo booths, but it's an opportunity I am happy to have, and certainly something I, and all of the guests can have fun participating in.  I knew the location ahead of time and the space I had to work with so I tried to do a different setup than I've ever tried before;  camera on a tripod, nearly out of my reach, running via tethered capture in Lightroom 5.  This allowed my workflow to be super smooth - triggering the shutter on the computer, seeing the image on the screen about twenty seconds later, and then sending that image to the printer, all without leaving Lightroom. How perfect is that?  

So first, some workflow pointers; know the paper you're using ahead of time. I was avoiding buying a new dedicated 4x6 printer, and used my behemoth 13x19 photo printer instead. That means I could bang off eight 4x6 prints on a 13x19 sheet at a time, if I got busy.  Otherwise I was printing three 4x6s on an 8.5x11 at a time.   
- I set up two page templates in lightroom the day before. The one for the 13x19 sheet and the one for the 8.5x11 sheet.  The page template also automatically placed my photo booth watermark at the bottom of each image (isn't lightroom amazing!?)
- I set up a photo booth watermark ahead of time, 
- I made sure to test the camera with tethered capture. I would have been there with my Canon 6D but lightroom was having trouble commanding it. So I used my older 50D instead. When you're printing at 4x6 the difference is indistinguishable. 
- The camera was stationary the entire time, in portrait orientation. I set it up in a way that I could guarantee to have children, or a 6ft tall person in the frame without repositioning my camera.  Any 'unbalanced height' or what was fixed with a super quick crop in lightroom before printing to make it look more like a proper portrait. 
- After I arrived on location, I did a test shot, and made an editing preset for it - and then tethered capture in lightroom applied that preset to every shot as it made its way into the library. 
- One thing most photo booths, maybe all photo booths don't do, is cut paper on site. Because I was shooting 8 to a sheet, I had my paper cutter there too. 
- So, to break it down; photo gets snapped, transfers to lightroom, gets the preset edit I made, then apply a crop if needed, and send it to the printer, then cut and deliver. 

And thats how the booth operated. Now for some lighting details, 

When you're shooting portraits, depth in your frame is your friend. The more space you have to use, the better.  I had a boomed umbrella, a soft box for fill, and just because I don't make use of it enough - a ring flash on the camera.

- Exposure settings were locked basically all night.  ISO 1600 f/5 and 1/160th. 
- I went for higher ISO than you may think is necessary because I wanted faster flash recycle time, and to use less batteries.  I've learned that flashes will run out at the most inopportune time, so I just avoid that situation all together. 
- Boomed Canon 600EX-RT flash was on camera left as key light. 
- Small soft box on canon 600EX-rt was camera right, 
- and of course, the ring flash was on axis sitting around the camera lens.  I used the orbis ring flash with my Canon 600EX-RT that was acting as master.  Which was connected via E-TTL cord to the camera hotshoe. 
- The 600EX flash was essential because it allowed me to change each slave flash's power with the master unit without being able to physically access the flash - in the case of a boomed umbrella at about 9 ft, I'd have to bring it down to almost eye level to make any power adjustments. 

It definitely didn't look like your standard little box photo booth you sometimes see, with the photos happening behind a curtain. I think when you let everyone see everyone else's ridiculousness in front of a camera, it helps escalate that ridiculousness for even funnier photos, and may even comfort those who don't typically like to get in front of a camera. 

So thats about it.. It all goes back to 'proper planning prevents poor performance'. Get all the gear you could need, batteries, cables, power taps, light stands, light modifiers, paper, backup ink, a big smile and some props, and get ready to watch the guests have a blast!

a parting-party shot! 

Thanks for reading!   Please contact me about setting up a fun photo booth like this one for your event!

C Gardiner Photography | Promote Your Page Too