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How to make a homemade photo booth

Updated February 21, 2017

Everyone loves jumping behind the curtains of a vintage photo booth and facing the flash for a few seconds. For mere pocket change, the camera inside the booth snaps a quick sequence of four or five pictures and prints them out in seconds. The booths are typically located in amusement parks, boardwalks and any other place deserving of a photo opportunity. They are a great addition at weddings, parties and other celebrations, but can be very costly to rent. For all the fun of a vintage photo booth with a fraction of the cost, follow some simple steps.

Hang the darkly coloured sheet or shower curtain near the top of a wall using small framing nails and a hammer. Only tap in the nails far enough to hold the sheet or curtain up. For a flat backdrop, pull the sheet taught between each nail. For a curtain effect, bunch up the sheet or curtain between each nail.

Place your digital camera onto your tripod's platform using the mounting screw and corresponding thread on the bottom of the camera. Position the tripod about 90 or 120 cm (3 or 4 feet) away from the backdrop for portrait style shots. Move the tripod farther back for full-body shots or to fit more people within the frame.

Set the camera to 5 second self-timer mode (consult your owner's manual for specific instructions). Also set the camera's flash mode to "Auto," as this will select the best type of flash for the room's lighting conditions. Leave the camera on for the duration of the event (but have an extra battery on hand).

Add barstools or chairs in front of the curtain to more closely match the vintage photo booth style.

Transfer the pictures from your party or event to your computer using the camera's included USB cable. If you want to physically distribute the pictures, print them out using photo paper.

Tip

If you have access to image editing software, you can arrange several photos of the same group of friends into a single narrow image for an exact copy of the prints made by actual photo booths. Experiment with colour filters (black and white, or sepia) and other effects to create a vintage look.

Things You'll Need

  • Darkly coloured sheet or shower curtain
  • Small framing nails
  • Hammer
  • Digital camera with self-timer mode
  • Tripod
  • Extra camera battery
  • Barstools or chairs (optional)
  • Printer (optional)
  • Photo printing paper (optional)
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About the Author

Brandon Getty began writing professionally in 2008, with columns appearing in "Thrasher" magazine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lives in Stockton, Calif.