The DIY Party Photo Booth

  • 01 of 03

    Have Fun with a Photo Booth at Your Party

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    The retro photo booth is making a comeback and it's no wonder. It is a fun way to capture memories of party or wedding guests and is an amusing pastime all on its own. Guests climb in, strike a pose and voila, an old-school strip of photos emerges!

    A number of party rental companies offer photo booth rentals that include the booth, printing equipment and an attendant. Some even offer customizable backdrops.

    It's a cool concept, but it is also a pricey one. A photo booth rental can cost...MORE $600 or more for just a couple of hours. A DIY party photo booth, on the other hand, offers creativity and flexibility at a fraction of the cost.

    Party guests of all ages, from young kids to teens and adults will love jumping into your photo booth!

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  • 02 of 03

    Designing a DIY Photo Booth

    High Angle View Of Party Props
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    Creating your own party photo booth is very easy. All you need is a little space, a few supplies, and imagination!

    The Space

    Designate a corner in a room to be your new photo booth. It should be out of the way of the rest of the party, but still part of the action so guests can watch and interact with each other.

    The Light

    The photo booth should have good lighting. It should be even on both sides with no harsh shadows. The most important part of any good portrait is the eyes, so focus on making...MORE faces look great.

    If the room's natural light isn't enough, consider using a camera flash or bringing in lights.

    Inexpensive shop lights work well and some include clamps that can attach to almost anything. Household lamps may add a nice ambiance as well. Experiment and snap test shots with your digital camera or phone until you get good results.

    If you are hiring a photographer, ask them about lighting.

    The Background

    Your photo booth will need a backdrop.

    While a pinning a well-ironed white sheet to the wall is very easy, you can dress it up. Layer fabrics and drapery, bring in a chair or stool, add fake plants or other props and decor that fit the party's theme.

    You can also build an actual photo booth out of PVC pipe and draperies The how-tos are explained well on Abigail Barnes' Paper & Cake blog. 

    The Props

    Amp up the fun by providing great props for your guests - feather boas, sunglasses, wild hats, or props that suit the party theme. (More on this on the next page)

    The Photographer

    Hire a photographer to do the honors. You might even ask at the local college for a photography or art student who wants to make a little money and get experience with people.

    It is also a lot of fun to simply ask guests to take turns with a good digital camera. Sometimes this interaction creates the best candid shots!

    Sharing Photos

    You can set up a printer to instantly create prints for guests to take home, send them a print as a 'thank you' after the party, or share the pictures online.

    Social media and email make it easier than ever to share photo booth pictures.

    Ask each guest if you can post their photo before sharing it on any social media website! Many people are protective of their privacy. A private message or email may be a better way to go because it allows them to decide if they want the world to see their picture.

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  • 03 of 03

    Ideas for a Themed Photo Booth

    Friends dancing at a house party
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    The photo booth can have many different themes, even if your party doesn't have one. Here are a few fun ideas along with props you will want to collect for them. 

    A trip to the local thrift store or party supply shop should get you everything you need and it doesn't have to cost a lot.

    Don't forget about costume rental shops! You may even come up with a great theme while browsing their selection.

    • A Mad Men party could use cloche hats, fedoras, "pearl" necklaces and steno pads.
    • A T...MOREwilight party calls for fangs, Volturi-style vampire capes, a prom dress, bridal wear, a sheriff's uniform and, of course, a wolf suit or two.
    • Adorn the photo booth for a graduation party for a med student or nursing student with scrubs, masks and the contents of a toy doctor's kit.
    • A 1980s party - which makes a great theme for a 25th wedding anniversary shindig - lends itself to leggings, wristlets, headbands and flouncy skirts; Miami Vice-style pastel jackets popped collars and shades; or perhaps fishnet, fingerless gloves and a nice pointy, Madonna-like bra.
    • A holiday party cries out for New Year tiaras, Santa hats and red feather boas.
    • Or, for more inspiration, check out Paper and Cake's Etsy site, which includes downloadable superhero and comic book props, which might be just the ticket for an 18th birthday party. Zap! Pow!