Acing Your DIY Photo Booth

Justin + Friend

Kate and I rarely have to admit this, and boy do we hate it, but sometimes we are wrong.  Yes, I said it- wrong!  Can you believe that?  Us either.  As painful as it is to admit, it’s better to own our mistakes, and then publish them, so everyone can learn a thing or three.

Originally, we were totally against the Do-It-Yourself photo booth at weddings and parties.  We’ve seen it go awry many times, and because every city has a plethora of awesome options (local links below) to choose from, it’s hard not to recommend leaving it to the experts.  But lately, we’ve seen some well-done DIY booths, and it made us rethink our original skepticism.  

That being said, we think there are some firm rules by which to abide.

1. Carve out a special, visible, place to set up

        Don’t assume your guests will be looking for a place to take photos.  If the “booth” isn’t in a main space, you should direct your guests with some clear signage, or ask the DJ to make an announcement.

2.  Use visual cues that play toward the norm to signal your guests to participate

If your booth doesn’t look typical, which it probably doesn’t, you’ll want to signal your guests with a banner, props, an obvious camera set-up or a custom backdrop.  Seeing these items will set of the “photo booth” ping in their brains, making them more likely to participate.

3.  Curate your props

Having a selection of truly custom props that reflect the personalities and experiences of you and your partner will make your guests giggle like they’re in on a private joke.  Aligning the props with the overall feel of the party makes the booth feel at home.

4.  If using Polaroids...

Designate a person to clean up the area and replace film.  Also, make sure guests know what to do with the photo!  If you want them to put it into a book for you (and don’t count on that since only one photo prints and guests will consider it a souvenir) then give them tape, markers and any other fun scrap-booking supplies you like.

5.  Bring extra batteries!  

Drunk people will definitely leave the camera on and decimate the battery on a flash or instant camera. Remember that person from before who was cleaning up and replacing film?  Give that guy a few Duracells to keep in his pocket as well.

6.  Share the photos!

 If you aren’t going to have the capacity to share photos to social media (good) or print on site (better), then you at least need to make sure the photos get posted to an online gallery where guests can download their favorites.  Don’t forget to let your guests know that these photos exist!

While doing-it-yourself can work for some folks, we still prefer the tried and true “hire a professional” route.  Here are some of our favorite local photo booth vendors:

Smile Booth

Modern + sexy design, professional staff, amazing add ons hashtag printing, sing alongs and GIFs

Deep Fried Photo

Polaroid style images available, flexible set up, fun backdrops, cool staff

Mobile Memories

Classic vibe, every person in the photo gets a copy no matter how many people jump in!

HD Photobooth

Seamless black and white (highly professional!) photography in which everyone looks flawless


Happy Snapping!