DIY Photo Booth Tutorial {How to make your own affordably!}

diy photo boothIt seems diy photo booths are all the rage these days.  But have you noticed that most of the tutorials out there aren’t all that easy or affordable?

For my 9-yo daughter’s Broadway themed birthday party, I was determined to figure out how to make a diy photo booth without a lot of money or effort. I think I succeeded.

My method was really easy and affordable, and we were thrilled with how it all turned out.

After a little research, I came up with a plan for creating a diy photo booth that met our particular needs – i.e., one that could withstand the acrobatics of 10 tween-aged girls!

diy photo booth photo strip

 

Here’s how I’ve organized the tutorial:

  • The Required Materials
  • Step 1: Location on your home / party venue.
  • Step 2: DIY backdrop material.
  • Step 3: Photo booth decor.
  • Step 4: Photo booth props.
  • Step 5: Photo booth rules.
  • Step 6: Photography – camera, lighting, etc.Step 6: Photo booth rules.
  • Step 7: Photo viewing / sharing.

 

Required Materials:

 

Here’s what I used (the important stuff, anyway):

  • Backdrop material: 3 cute plastic tablecloths from the Dollar Store!
  • Props: a basket of masks, mustaches, hats, etc.
  • Camera: my Nikon DSLR mounted on a tripod, with a shutter release remote. (I’ll explain!)
  • Photo booth decor – string lights, cardboard chandelier, etc.
  • Poster board for the ‘Photo Booth Rules’
  • A bench for sitting.

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diy photo booth sign

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Step 1: Choose a location in your home / party venue.

 

A lot of tutorials show you how to actually make a physical photo booth.  But since this busy mama ain’t got no time for that, I decided to just use a location in our home that mimicked a photo booth set up.

Our basement mudroom is a long and narrow space, so we decided to set up the photo booth there.  You can get a sense of it in the following photo.  (Sorry about the fuzzy shot!)

You will also want to consider natural lighting when picking the right spot in your home / party venue.

Lighting was definitely the biggest disadvantage in our location (i.e., the basement). However, keeping the tween party confined to the basement far outweighed my need for perfect photos!

If you don’t have a long narrow space like this, you could easily just set up a backdrop (without covering the sides) on any wall in your home.  Just make it wide enough that you don’t get any wall in the shot, or move your tripod in closer.

(Covering the side walls here just decreased the chances of getting empty walls in the pictures.)

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diy photo booth backdrop

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Step 2: The DIY Backdrop Material

 

I wanted  do the backdrop as inexpensively as possible since it was just for a child’s birthday party.

I opted to make it from 3 large (9ft) plastic table cloths.  They cost a grand total of $6. Gotta love it.

I doubled them over so that you couldn’t see through them, and attached them to the ceiling using painter’s tape to make it easy to take it down without ruining the paint.

They worked perfectly fine, however the plastic did cast a bit of glare in the photos, so if you have a bigger budget (say, for a wedding), I’d definitely recommend using fabric table cloths instead.

 

backdrop for diy photo booth

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Step 3: Photo Booth Decor

 

Depending on the theme of the party, you might also want to decorate the space a little.  I hung a cardboard chandelier from the ceiling, and strung some lights (which also served as additional lighting). I also hung Broadway musical posters since the birthday party had a Broadway theme.

diy photo booth decor.

diy photo booth Broadway decorations

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 Step 4: The Props

You’ll need a stash of photo booth props that party-goers can have fun with.

Since our daughter has been amassing a collection of costumes since she was little, it wasn’t hard to find a bunch of great stuff around the house.

But also purchased a few at the Dollar Store and Michaels, and I couldn’t resist making some mustaches-on-a-stick.

I organized everything on a little table so that you could find a prop you liked without too much searching.

 

diy photo booth props table

 

diy photo booth mustache

 

diy props for photo booth

 

If you don’t have a stash of costumes hanging around, no need to worry. There are literally a tonne of places to find printable, free diy photo booth props on the Internet.
All you have to do is search Google using “free diy photo booth props” or “free photo booth printable props”. Just to get you started, here are few cute ones…

Step 5: The Rules

 

I wanted the diy photo booth to be fun. But let’s face it, I wanted my camera equipment in one piece after the party.

As well, I didn’t want any of the girls feeling left out.

So I put together a few photo booth rules for the ‘rule-follower’-types, and hoped they’d help sheriff the others, lol.

I’d highly recommend doing the same thing!

photo booth rules

 

 

OK, so now your diy photo booth is simply gorgeous.

But what about the photos, right?.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Click here >>

DIY Photo Booth Tutorial: Part Two

Step 6: Photography – camera set up, lighting, etc.

Step 7: Photo viewing / sharing

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this tutorial! It was really helpful. I’m planning to make a photobooth for a charity op-shop ball, and I’m so glad I found an easy tutorial. All the other ones I found had me setting up an umbrella and a flash–WAY to complicated!

  2. what is the printing situation with these pictures.

    • Hi Dani

      Because this photo booth was for my daughter’s birthday party, I didn’t set up ‘real-time’ printing; I simply printed them after the fact. But I’ve seen other tutorials out there on how to set up a printing station for events like weddings and things. Try googling it – I hope you find something that is helpful. ~Kerri

  3. Thank you for sharing your info! I used it for my son’s 16th birthday party this weekend. It was a huge hit!!!

    Thanks so much!

  4. I am unable to see your photos. please help…..

  5. What are your thoughts on connecting a printer? I am thinking about using it for my guest book for my wedding/photobooth during the wedding and want them to be printed? I may just need to keep them on the computer and do something different for the guest book, but I would love your opinion!
    Thanks!

    • I think I read about ways to achieve this while researching diy photo booths, but I decided to keep it simple as I was also running a birthday party at the same time. I’m sure if you google it, you might find a tutorial on how to do this seamlessly. However, the more technology you add, the greater the chances that something will ‘go wrong’, and I don’t think I’d want that worry on my wedding day. It might be better to keep in simple? Kerri

  6. Yahoo! Thanks for this cheap and easy tutorial! I’m making a photo booth for my upcoming ugly sweater christmas party. I want it to be THE party of the year, this will definitely put me in the ranks!! The other tutorials I read were very complicated and had you making an actual, physical photo booth..what the heck would I do with it afterwards?! Store it in the garage and tick my husband off with yet another fun little tool taking up valuable car space?! Thanks a mil!

  7. do you think I can use a nikon shutter release for a canon camera? Or do I need a canon one and if so, do they sell them for canon?

    • Hmmm…I’m not sure about that. Does Canon have a version? It’s probably best to ask a camera professional, or consult the Canon web site. Sorry I can’t be of more assistance! ~Kerri

  8. Stephanie says:

    OMG! Just made one of these for our annual Halloween party last night! Such a hit and so easy to make. Thanks for your prep work and for sharing it with everyone. We had a ball!!

  9. Love this idea! I have a Nikon DSLR as well, although mine has an auto shut-off after so long?? Did you have any problems with that?

    • Hi Kerri! I have the same question with the ML-L3 remote!

      The longest you can set “Remote On” for Nikon is 15 minutes, once the time expires, you have to reset the camera to detect the remote again. The camera does that to save batteries, but it’s not the greatest feature if / when I need the booth to be ready to go for an entire evening where there might be long periods of inactivity.

      Did you have the same problem and how did you solve it?

  10. How much did this cost to make?

    • I’m not exactly certain, but it wasn’t much (less than $75?), as long as you have the right camera equipment already. The only real costs were the Dollar Store table cloths and the props which you can find or make inexpensively.

  11. You rock! Thank you I will do this for my wedding

  12. I literally let out an audible squeal! This looks like sooo much fun :)

    Can’t wait to meet you at Haven.

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