DIY Photo Booth


Originally posted at on 9/5/09

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do at the arcade was to get my photo taken at the photo booth. I have always wanted to make my own photo booth, so a few weeks ago I decided to make a cardboard version of one for a music festival that I helped host. I originally planned to make my photo booth out of plywood, but to save money and time I decided to use materials that I had lying around my house. I ended up using an old-fashioned one-piece school chair that I found in my attic and two large upright boxes that were the perfect size to form the frame around the desk set. I cut a large opening out of one of the boxes and placed the front of the desk halfway into the opening. Two blue curtains hung from curtain rods that I duct-taped across the tops of the boxes. Red sheets tacked to the back wall of the booth provided a backdrop for the photos. My wife painted pictures and signs on the sides of the booth and attached a mirror to the outside, which unfortunately fell off during transport to the festival. Using a box cutter, I cut out a slot for placing money and attached a mailer tube inside the box to direct the money into a paint can.

To take the pictures, I used the Photobooth program and the camera on my Macbook laptop computer, which I set on the top of the desk inside the booth. The Photobooth program allows users to take photographs of their mirrored images right at their computer. The program offers a lot of visual effects including several distorted views that add a funhouse mirror effect to the picture. In order to give the participants the full photo booth experience, I attempted to print out the pictures using a printer and some photo paper. I wanted to print out the pictures in a vertical strip like they have in the real photo booths, but the best I could do was to print out horizontal strips using the contact sheet format and cut the strips with a paper cutter.

I’ve attached some photos of the booth and a few pictures that my wife and I took inside the booth.





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