Photo booth : A fun family experience

You want to have fun at your next family reunion?  See how a photo booth can create so much fun that your guest will talk about it over and over.  More so, your picture will get posted to social network from all angles!


The photo booth - a Great Experience

According to Wikipedia:

“The patent for the first automated photography machine was filed in 1888 by William Pope and Edward Poole of Baltimore. It probably was never built…  …The Photomaton Company was created to place booths nationwide. On March 27, 1927, Josepho was paid $1,000,000 and guaranteed future royalties for his invention.”

Since then, with the apparition of Camera in Cell Phone, the photo booth mostly disappeared.  It is awkward to see one today.  The fun associated with taking selfies is still there though and in fact it had grown over time.  The Oxford Dictionaries has designated Selfie as the word of 2013!

The photo booth - a Great Experience

Most of the time though these pictures are ugly at best; they are plague with bad light, distractions in the background and are out of focus.

How to build a family wide photo booth?

Here is what you need:


  • A large enough room, 12 x 12 feet is the perfect size.  Put a curtain or a sheet on the far end wall.  You can use tape that don’t leave residue to keep the sheet in place;
  • Set the tripod on the opposite end of the room.  Chose a lens that will enable you to see most of the improvised backdrop;
  • Hook-up the Camera to a Laptop through a USB Cable with Lightroom running on the Laptop.  Using Tethered Capture from Lightroom you’ll be able to see pictures on the screen as they are taken;
  • Use an external off-camera flash.  You should set the Exposure to freeze the action.  1/125s, f/8.0 and ISO 400 is a good start.  Manually tune the power of the flash in order to get a perfect exposure.  Manually set focus and switch autofocus off;
  • Use tape on the floor to mark the area included in the picture on each side and back to front once you know the depth of field you can get with your setting;
  • Set the camera to 10 seconds timer.  This will give the time needed to your new actors to take a pose while the red warning led will flash on camera.  Use a remote (infrared or wired) to launch the countdown;
  • Make sure no one would trip on your setup.  You don’t one anybody to harm himself in the procedure.  Things can get very exciting when people understand the way this work;
  • Test your setup again and again to make sure that exposure and focus is perfect and you are ready to go.

The photo booth - a Great Experience

Renting is a good option if you don’t have everything needed.

When guests are coming in, start by leading them to the photo both and show them how this work.  As guests are coming, they will take pictures of themselves.  Hopefully, kids will create funny situation and these pictures will be long remembered and shared.

In the setup used for these pictures, I had two radio-frequency triggered flashes with umbrella on stands.  This improved the quality of light.  It requires a larger room than the recommended 12 x 12 mentioned above.

As you can see, attendees had a lot of fun.

So, when will you schedule your next Family Reunion?  Is there a Photo Both invited to the party?  Share your story…