How To Make Your Own DIY Photo Booth
Photo booths are fun! They are a popular attraction at events and social gatherings.
Keep your guests entertained and provide both you and the guests a memory, a photo to take home and share.
They can have a photo booth strip printed out, or a digital photo, GIF or boomerang shared digitally.
With the rise in popularity of photo booths at events, and the advent of high quality cameras & software available on Apple iPad tablets, many people have started photo booth businesses.
So if you want to have a fun photo station at your wedding, or special event, you have many options available to you.
Whether you want to build your own DIY photo booth to use at your event, or to use to launch your very own photobooth rental company, then this is the ultimate guide for you.
Table of Contents
The 6 Things You Need For A Complete DIY Photo Booth Experience
1. A DIY Photo Booth
The photo “booth” itself is the most important part of your DIY photo booth setup. Because without this critical piece, all you have is an area for guests to take selfies with their own phones.
Modern open air photo booths are nothing like the old vintage sit-in booths of the past. You do not need to spend a lot of time and money to build a frame or case for your photo booth.
In order to make your photo booth work, you need just 3 things.
- A Camera to take the picture
- Software to put the frame or template on the picture (and save/print/share the photos)
- A light source, either a flash on the camera, or a constant light like an LED ring light.
When building a DIY photo booth, the fastest, cheapest, and easiest way to have all 3 things is with an Apple iPad and a ring light.
*BONUS: Ring lights make everyone look better in the photo!
To make sure that your iPad is capable of being used in your DIY photo booth, you will want to make sure that it has at least a 7MP (megapixel) camera on the front-facing camera. (Also known as the Facetime camera)
Almost all of the iPad Pro models have the 7mp front camera, and several of the more recent iPad air models.
Other than that, it’s up to you to pick an iPad size that fits your DIY photo booth design.
You can choose to get a case that the iPad clips into, or you can use a tablet holder or bracket to grip the sides of the iPad and hold it up.
Be sure to use a sturdy tripod or base to mount your holder into.
If you are going to be using your DIY photo booth with hundreds of guests, or you plan on using it more than once, at other events… then consider investing into an iPad photo booth stand.
The benefit of buying a photo booth shell or stand to put your iPad into, is it gives you a safe and secure kiosk to guarantee that everything is protected.
As an added bonus, if you choose to buy a Booth Masters Pic Station Mini to use with your DIY photo booth, it comes with a great ring light to provide the perfect light source for great & beautiful photos.
Now that you have an iPad, ring light, and a stand to hold everything together, the last bit you need for your DIY photo booth startup is the software.
There are many iPad apps available to run your photo booth. You can see our review of the best iPad photo booth apps.
When looking for a good DIY photo booth app for your iPad, make a list of the features that you want.
- Does it have a customizable photo frame or template?
- Can it share the photos via email or text with the guests
- Can it print the photos (this will require you to have a photo printer)
2. A DIY Photo Booth Backdrop
Every great photo taken in your do it yourself photo booth setup will be in front of a backdrop.
You can make the backdrop yourself, and get crafty with party supplies and decorations.
Or you can buy a backdrop stand and hang a printed, textured, or patterned cloth to use as the background for your photos.
If you feel like splurging and spending a little extra money for a high quality professional backdrop, you can order a printed pillowcase background and use any image or photo that you want as the backdrop and it will look beautiful in the photos.
Here are some examples of different backdrop types you can use with your photo booth.
3. DIY Photo Booth Props
The most popular props used in photo booths are signs, hats, masks, crazy glasses, boas, and fake mustaches.
You can make your own DIY photo booth props by printing out silly sayings on paper and glueing them to sticks.
You can also find fun cheap photo booth props at your local party supply store.
Halloween masks & costumes make fun low-cost alternative props for your DIY photo booth, especially if you buy them right after the holiday when they are on clearance sale!
Amazon is also a good place to buy cheap paper one-time-use props to use in your DIY photobooth.
4. Space to Set Up Your DIY Photo Booth
When planning where to put your photo booth setup at your event, you want to make sure there is enough room for your DIY photobooth backdrop to be set up.
Your camera (or iPad if you chose to go the iPad photo booth route) should be 6 to 8 feet in front of your backdrop, giving plenty of space for larger groups to have their picture taken.
Make sure to set up a table to the side for props to be displayed on and then think about how guests will use your DIY photobooth.
Will there be a line?
What direction do you want guests to go through the booth?
Another thing to consider, will you ask someone to work the photo booth, serving as an attendant to help people if there are problems?
It is a good idea to designate a person to be in charge when running your own DIY photo booth experience.
5. People to Use The DIY Photo Booth
Now that you have your DIY photo booth all set up with your backdrop and props, it’s time to let people use the photo booth.
Make sure to inform your guests that there is a photo booth available for them to use.
You can have signs saying “photo booth this way!” with an arrow, or you can create a fun & cute “pick a prop and strike a pose!” sign to place near your booth.
6. Save & Share The Photos
Depending on the software you choose to use for your DIY photo experience, you should have different options available to you for sharing the photos with guests, and keeping a copy for yourself.
Ideally, your guests will be able to email or text the photo to themselves instantly. This will require your photobooth to have an active internet connection, whether on Wi-Fi or a hotspot.
And as long as your photobooth software saves a copy of each session, you can download the pictures off the iPad and upload them to an online gallery.
You can also upload the photos into a your Facebook account as a photo gallery so your friends, family & guests can see, tag, and share the photos directly.
Should You Build A DIY Photo Booth?
Building things and taking on DIY projects is rewarding, especially when you can see the efforts of your work so clearly by looking at a gallery of photos taken in your photo booth.
Whether it is worth it or not, is entirely up to you.
If you are building a photo booth for just a small family event or occasion, you can create a fun experience on a small budget, but that photo booth will probably not be durable enough for more than one or two uses.
If you are building a DIY booth for your own business, then be sure to use quality parts and components so your photo kiosk is durable and reusable.
Using an empty photo booth shell as a starting point is a great way to build your own photo booth.
You still get to choose your own camera, tablet, software, and put together everything else that goes into creating a fun and engaging photo experience for guests at an event.
Booth Masters creates durable and portable photo booth shells used by professional photo booth companies all around the world.
Use one of our shells as a starting point for your very own DIY photo booth and you will be well on your way to having a successful photo experience.