Maybe you’re planning your wedding or party and are really excited at the idea of having a photobooth set up for your guests. BUT, either the costs of hiring pros to do it is a bit out of your budget, OR you’re simply the type that likes to do things yourself! (like us!) If that’s the case, you might be toying with the idea of putting together your own photobooth setup.
There are tons of different ways that you can actually set things up for your DIY photobooth and achieve the same results, so we’ll leave those decisions up to you. But just to help you out a little, we thought we’d give you one, simple suggestion that is a result of much experience from many photobooths at events:
Don’t skimp on your equipment and materials!
Whatever event you’re planning, it’s probably not repeatable (especially a wedding!), so you don’t want to have something go wrong and simply be stuck. Below is a list of equipment and materials for you to think about and use as a sort of checklist. Hopefully it helps you get the most out of your DIY photobooth!
Photo Paper – This is one of the easily overlooked ways to make sure that your guests’ photobooth experience is as good as can be. People will often invest in a nice camera, lighting equipment, and printer, only to waste all that good quality by printing on the cheapest, “best deal” paper they can get their hands on. Low quality paper can make prints from a great shot + printer look pretty terrible. Grainy, washed out colors, poor contrast, off coloring. Don’t make this mistake! Make sure you pick up paper that has good reviews, especially when paired up with the printer that you use. We’ve had great experience with the Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl and Premium Pearl series. (be sure to download the printer profiles for your printer & paper combo for the best results!)
Backdrop – This is one of the other areas where many DIY photobooths could be improved. A little attention to detail goes a long way: ironing out wrinkles, making sure there are no distracting elements, making sure the backdrop is stretched out properly, etc. This is all made easier if you pick up a couple good stands and use them properly.
Camera – Generally speaking, the best camera is the one that you have. But, there are some basic features that you’ll want to make sure it has to make your DIY photobooth experience as smooth as can be! It should have the ability to sync to off camera lighting (see below), whether by hotshoe or sync chord. It also ought to have some sort of option for remote triggering. Really any basic digital SLR on the market today will serve you well in both regards, so do your research. We highly recommend the Canon EOS Rebel T2i (if you’d like to also do some video) or the Canon EOS Rebel XS for an entry-level (but still feature packed!) model.
Photo Printer – This element of your DIY photobooth is important but you have plenty of options. Not all photo printers are made the same, so make sure you read reviews, specifically how the printer handles photo prints (as opposed to normal prints). The variables you’ll have to look into are price, quality, speed (of print outs), and size & weight (that’s right, of the printer!). There’s no such thing as a perfect printer, so take into account the needs of your event and purchase accordingly! We recommend the Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II. The quality that you get from them is just amazing! The downside? The printer is beefy. (been working out lately?) If something smaller, lighter, but still high quality fits your bill, check out the Canon Pixma MP560.
Printer Ink – Two things here: quality & quantity. Let’s get the easy one out of the way. Make sure you have enough ink! The worst thing that could happen is that everything is working out fine and then you run out of photo cyan! Stock up! Second, while it’s tempting to save a few bucks here and there, for a photobooth for an event, we highly recommend you stick to the ink made by the manufacturer of your printer (rather than 3rd party or reconditioned ink cartridges). You’ll save yourself from headaches due to clogging, streaking, & fading later on! If you have (or get) the Pixma Pro9000, a great option to take advantage of is Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” feature on select inks. You get an automatic 15% off for signing up to receive regular shipments of the ink, but you can also cancel the subscription immediately after your first shipment if you choose! For example, here is the ink that we use. Great deal! (unfortunately, the MP560 ink isn’t eligible for Subscribe & Save)
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