Photo Booth: The Test Run

Knowing a DIY photo booth is in our future, it is important (for my sanity) to work out the details of the how as soon as possible. Our annual New Year’s party presented the perfect opportunity to set up a prototype booth. Of course, Mr. P and I had to get the thing working in a matter of days, but those are small details, right? Ha. Once it was up and running, our friends would test it out and find the flaws.



I did some research, finding free and not-free programs. Heck, I even have a program on my MacBook that does the hard work for me. But I didn’t like any of these options. I wanted more control (and to keep drunk people with liquids away from my laptop).

My requirements for the prototype were:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Easy set-up
  3. Free (or nearly free)
  4. Displays images for guests
  5. Utilizes what’s on hand (see also #3)

Toss out the notion of paying for a professional photo booth right now. Seriously. You’ll spend enough money on other things, like those Chiavari chairs. If you’re OK with not having printouts for guests, you can duplicate what we did and save even more money.

The success of the photo booth depends on very few pieces.

  • Digital camera (we used my DSLR)
  • Video cable (to run from camera to display)
  • Display, AKA TV (anything with video in/out will do)
  • Wireless remote
  • Tripod or other level surface to place camera on



(wireless remote & tripod)

The technical details weren’t difficult. Find the video cable that came with your camera, otherwise purchase a compatible one. (Same goes for the remote.) Connect the video cable to the camera and TV. Yellow into yellow for the TV. Black jack into your camera’s “video out.” TV set to video mode.



On your camera: remove the auto-off timer, set image display to “hold” or similar, set it to remote shutter, and turn the beep on for your guests. I set my camera to automatic shooting with flash to make it even more foolproof.

Center the camera on your backdrop.

(Our IKEA tablecloth doubled as a makeshift backdrop.)


Take a few test shots with the remote.


Take 1: See? I got part of the wall.

Reposition or zoom as needed.


Take 2: Much better

The photo appears on the TV, holding until the next shot is taken. You’ll have to trust the image is on the screen. (The TV glow was too much for a mere iPhone camera.) What the guests see: instructions taped to tripod, remote nearby.



With any luck (and some tweaks), you’ll end up with some great captures by the end of the night, like these.



Getting the hang of it


Some of the boys


Love the expressions in this one!


Blue steel, right?


Getting cuddly


And sassy


And cuddly again


Trio of trouble


The winners of beer pong


Almost midnight

Don’t they look like they’re having fun?! Definitely a do again!

What props would you use in a photo booth? Would you attempt a photo booth DIY? If you’ve gone the DIY route, any recommendations to pass along?


Mrs. Pain au Chocolat

Wilmington, DE
Wedding Date:
June 2011
An Invitation Just for ME!
Gallery of the Day
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  1. Member
    sparks 649 posts, Busy bee @ 11:01 am

    This is awesome! Are you planning on this being self serve at your wedding or are you having someone man it? I am worried someone will take off with the remote in their non-sober state.

  2. crepe Member
    crepe 331 posts, Helper bee @ 12:02 pm

    Thanks for the info– I’m nervous about mine, really not sure how I’m going to pull it off. I’m considering just hiring someone for the night to stand by.. but I DO love the tv option because the laptop thing just makes me nervous!

  3. Member
    xtatic1 783 posts, Busy bee @ 12:02 pm

    that is great! I never knew a fauxto-booth could be so easily done! We sacrificed chiavari chairs for an actual photo booth and I have been busily making/collecting props for it… facial hair and lips on a stick, funky sunglasses and need to get some hats and boas!

  4. taco Member
    taco 946 posts, Busy bee @ 1:12 pm

    Love the Photo Booth app, I should definitely use it more.

    We opted for the pro photo booth and against the chiavari chairs, actually 😉 It had to be one or the other!

  5. waffle Member
    waffle 1161 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:24 pm

    Great post! Maybe Waffle and I can have a photobooth after all. :)

  6. tartlet Member
    tartlet 3227 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:29 pm

    Your fauxto-booth turned out so well! That wireless remote is pretty nifty. :)

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    beautifulkastrofie, Guest @ 7:48 pm

    I want to do something similar but I’m scared to put my Rebel out. It’s my precious and I don’t trust the guests at the wedding with it. So I’m trying to find something that will work with my Sony Cybershot. I already have a wireless remote I’ll have to check and see if it will work with the Sony. Thanks for the examples it really helped me think it out!

  8. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:03 pm

    @sparks: Totally self-serve. Many of our NYE guests are wedding guests and will be our photobooth ambassadors. Maybe I should chain the remote to the area like the banks do with pens?? 😉
    @Miss Crepe: It’s really easy to figure out. It may be worth the peace of mind to have someone manning it to demo and troubleshoot.
    @xtatic1: A photobooth is so much more interactive (and fun) than chairs! :)
    @Mrs. Taco: If we had room in the budget and less time to DIY, we would have upgraded to a professional photobooth.
    @Miss Waffle: You definitely can! I think it’s worth the payoff.
    @Miss Tartlet: Thanks! The remote makes it really easy.
    @beautifulkastrofie: I can completely understand not wanting to sacrifice your Rebel. (Mine’s older and the only acceptable digital camera in our house.) Mrs. Lemon’s post that went up later today used a Canon Powershot.

  9. husky Member
    husky 1750 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:55 pm

    Thanks for such an in depth explanation! I’ve always wondered about the set up for a diy photobooth!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    The Booth Guy, Guest @ 9:19 pm

    I would suggest you skip the hassle and have more fun in a “real” booth. Get a professional one that will not look like a DIY at your wedding. or

  11. Member
    organicgal 259 posts, Helper bee @ 5:37 pm

    @The Booth Guy: I think your an ass

  12. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:06 pm

    @organicgal: LOL-ing really hard right now!! (Mr. P came running because he wanted to know what was so funny.)

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