How to Make a Photo Booth

If a price of renting a photo booth makes you cringe, then it’s time to make your own photo booth.


There are many ways to make a photo booth but they generally fall into two categories:

  • Enclosed booths
  • Open air/Modular booths

Enclosed booths are used for business purposes. The disadvantage, however, is that these are large structures and are inconvenient to transport and the number of guest you can fit inside is limited.

So if you are just planning for a house party like your next reunion, graduation and other events then open air or modular booth is best for you. Here are the things you need to know to set up your booth. These instructions are for a basic booth, but it can be modified and personalized.

Stuff you need:

  • Seamless backdrop
  • DSLR camera
  • Tripod
  • Light Stand
  • Soft Box
  • Mono light
  • Printer that prints 4×6 photos
  • 4×6 paper
  • Photo booth software

Stuff you want:

  • Lamp (if moonlight is not available)
  • External monitor (your guest can have a preview)
  • Signage (for instruction)

How to do it:

How to make your own photo booth

Build your set

Pick a spot against a wall, near an outlet, and away from too much traffic (one errant foot could bring your lights crashing down). If it’s daytime, you can set up next to a window to take advantage of the natural light. Set up your backdrop, move three feet in front of it and tape an X on the ground. This marks the general area where people should pose. If you want shadows behind your subjects, move the marker closer to the background. If you prefer less shadow, bring it closer to the camera.

The camera and soft box will be approximately the same distance from your subject. The distance depends entirely on how you want to compose your photos. A good rule of thumb is to line up the bottom edge of your soft box up with the subject’s chin and place the camera directly below that. This should give you even lighting with just enough defining shadows.

Select the right camera settings

For optimal images turn the dial to Manual, set your aperture to F8, and your shutter speed to 1/250 (this is the maximum sync speed for most DSLRs but make sure to double check your camera’s documentation). If you have a hand held light meter, use it to test your lights and go by its recommended settings. Next, look at the test images and tweak your aperture until you have your desired look.

Add bonus features

Another highly recommended photo booth addition is props. Yes, props. Put out a box of hats, boas, sunglasses, fake mustaches, silly outfits, and whatever else you can find. Your subjects will take much more relaxed and entertaining pictures.

Now, you can post your images to an online gallery and you can share with you friends.

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