Paper Lantern Wedding Photobooth

Projects, Stuff and Things

If you’re going to build a photo booth, why not do it with some style?

I’m finally getting around to posting about some of the projects that we did for the wedding. Because, if I don’t do it now… it’s never going to happen.

Laurel and I knew that we wanted to have a photobooth at our wedding. We have some great pictures from early in our relationship that were taken at photobooths in Bethany, MD and  Manassas, VA. But when we picked the wedding location in Natural Bridge Va we realized that getting a photobooth all the way down ther was going to be pretty expensive. Over $1500 type of expensive. So I looked into building one of my own. I found a lot of great resources out there.  PhotoBoof being one. But they are charging $600 for their software, which is pretty awesome, but a little overkill for my needs.  If you want to use the photobooth professionally this may be the best option, but I can’t even sell door knockers and hoodies on Etsy, so I’m not getting into the photo booth business.

Read More inside and more pictures!

I ended up going with PSremote because they have a customizable interface that allowed me to have the wedding logo placed on the top of the pictures.  The major problem with it is that it only uses Canon cameras. I wish they would realize that they have a goldmine on their hands and get the ball rolling on other camera drivers. But theres probably some politics involved. So if you’re going to go this route then you’d better have a Canon or a friend that you can borrow one from.  I had the latter. I used an extra Canon DSLR for the camera, but at this range with the lighting set I think any point and shoot would work fine.

Originally I had planned to do a traditional photo booth (enclosed with a curtain and a bench). But then I thought of two things. There will be big groups of people trying to cram themselves into this thing and “How am I going to get this down there?” So I decided to make it collapsible and into something that I could probably use for another purpose in the future. So this thing can also be used, with a little modification, as a Japanese paper screen room divider.

Almost any inkjet printer will do for this, I used one that I got from freecycle. I think it was a canon also, but anything that can print on 4×6 photo paper will do the job. We printed out about 100 strips and I think we only used one ink cartridge, ink isn’t cheap, so this is a good thing.

We like the old school strip style photo booths better than the new digital ones. But most printers wont print on anything less than 4″ strips.  So our solution was to take 4×6 photo paper and perforate a line down the middle so that the guests could take one with them and leave one for us.  The cutterpede system with perforator wheel is about $30 and you can probably get it at your local craft store.  This worked most of the time. But sometimes the paper would get misaligned and the preforations would cut off a bit of the picture. But they can always take another one!  Another idea would be to just have some scissors laying around for them to use.  But the photo booth was storing the pictures in full color on the computer anyway so we had backups.

For the computer you can pretty much use anything with a decent size hard drive. I don’t see this program using much processing power.  I used the laptop that I’m writing this on right now. A Dell E1505  which has the unique ability to fold completely flat. So I was able to hang it vertically. If you don’t have one of these a flat screen monitor will work just as well. I ended up with about 4 gigs of pictures by the end of the night. So make sure you have plenty of free space.

Like all of the wedding projects this was running down to the wire and not totally finished in the end, but It did work and nobody noticed all the things wrong with it. (lights sitting on the top and not mounted inside, wires sticking out, etc)

Tips on photo booth building,  I may not have followed all these instructions… learn from my mistakes!

  • PROPS! Even if it’s just a couple of hats, put a box of fun things near the booth. It will make for a much more fun atmosphere!
  • They say putting a curtain around the booth will make your guests more uninhibited, if that’s something you would like…
  • Put instructions on it, even though its just one button and it works automatically… Instructions will help.
  • If it’s your party, have someone to run it for you. My dad really helped out with this. But it would be good to give a little “how this thing works” session to some close friends.
  • If you don’t have someone to stock the paper, make sure the pictures are being stored on the photobooth. at least you can post them all on facebook later!
  • If it’s an open air “reverse photo booth” like mine, point it towards the wall or put a piece of tape on the floor to tell them where the focus point it. (I didn’t have an AC adapter for the camera so we turned of auto-focus and flash to save power)


I’m not going to post an entire build log, because if you’re thinking about building your own photo booth you can probably figure it out from the pictures.  I don’t have the time to guide you through every tiny step.

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