Photo Booth Setup
For several years now, Tanya has insisted that I get set up to do a photo booth. This year, I finally said yes – of course, that was before I knew what was involved. Now, hundreds of dollars and much time later, I have photo booth capabilities. Tanya is the chaplain/spiritual counselor at the local GLBTQ youth center, and specifically she wanted the photo booth for activities related to the youth center. So, the two previous Saturdays, at events related to Tacoma Pride week, I’ve had the booth set up and it worked great. The sample shown here is of Tanya and her friend Diane.
It is fun to watch people in one of these booths. Some people really act like crazy, and others stand rigidly at attention. Most people have fun with it, and really like seeing their photos print out about one minute after having them taken.
I have the equipment set to take four shots five seconds apart and then print them out on a half sheet of letter-sized photo paper (5.5 x 8.5 inches, 14 x 21.6 cm). One of the hardest parts of finding equipment for the booth was finding a battery-powered printer that can print on sheets that size. Most portable printers only print on 4 x 6 inch (10.2 x 15.2 cm) paper. The answer was the Canon Pixma iP100, which can print on letter-sized paper. I’ve very happy with the quality of prints from the iP100. My complete equipment list is as follows:
- Canon 50D with battery grip and two spare batteries
- 10-22 mm lens
- Canon 550EX speedlight with 8-battery pack (and spare batteries or spare speedlight)
- Interfit Strobies 24×24-inch Softbox
- light stand
- laptop computer with extra battery
- wireless mouse
- DSL Remote Pro software (by Breeze Systems)
- Canon Pixam iP100 printer with optional battery (and spare)
- white background
- USB cords to connect camera and printer to laptop
- printer paper and spare ink
This equipment can be set up in a relatively small space, like a 10×10-foot street booth (like I did on July 14th) or in the corner of a room (as I did on July 21st). People step in front of the background and see themselves on the laptop screen. They press the mouse button, and the laptop shows a count down until the photo is taken. It shows the resultant image, than starts another count down. After four shots have been taken, the software resizes the images, places them into a single file, and send the file to the printer. The software allows for much customization, including number of shots taken, time between shots, size of prints, customized footer, etc.
My largest concern prior to actually setting up the booth was for the laptop and printer batteries to be drained. However, I’ve found that the camera batteries are the first to go. It’s as if the camera is constantly on live-view mode (though there is no view on the camera’s screen, only on the laptop), which is very power consumptive.
If you are interested in any hints or advice on setting up a photo booth, send me an email and I’ll gladly help.