DIY Photobooth

Avatar Evan | May 29, 2014 127 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

OMG Evan’s back too?! Yes my dear readers. Search now works again (oops) and I’ve tuned up the website’s inner workings. Oh and I have an awesome project to share!

One of my big wedding responsibilities was to make a photobooth. We did a lot of research into DIY vs rent. Rentals were quite expensive (around $600-$1200) and DIY range from $0 on up depending on how much you already have. On the easy side there was: setup your computer with its web cam and use some photobooth like app. On the hard side there were custom circuitry with fancy triggers and printers etc. I knew I could not live with myself (being an engineer and IT nerd) if I went with a computer that you pressed the spacebar on. But I also knew time would be limited and I could not delve too far into coding and wiring.

So I came up with my own in between. Most digital cameras now have some sort of digital output (usually micro HDMI). When hooked up to a monitor the camera can display pictures that have been taken, or (and more interestingly for this project) it can show whatever the camera is seeing! On my camera the HDMI out was hidden on the bottom near the batter (that top port in the picture below).

DIY Photobooth-

The best part of a photobooth is people seeing themselves before the photo and being silly! Since my camera has that output all I needed to do was point the camera one way, have a monitor facing the same way, then throw in a remote and watch the chaos. And there was literally chaos. You’ll see in the end (though that was mainly the props’ fault, not my photobooth). In order to make everything pretty though I had to build a box to hide the technology. Went to Home Depot and bought 2 pieces of plywood and found some spare 2×4’s in the attic. Found a flush mount monitor kit on amazon and a spare computer monitor in a closet. I started with the main front face (where the monitor would be attached facing the photo-takers).

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Added 2x4s to the back of the front face for structural support (you can see where I screwed them in along each side in the photo below). Then started to attach my monitor mount.

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I had to add some 2x4s on the back for the mount to attach to.

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Dropped the monitor in for a fit test. So far so good!

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I wanted the camera to be above the monitor because pictures from above are more attractive (or so my wife tells me). I bought a little swivel that I could mount into the wood, so I put another 2×4 at the right height for that. Here is where my previously unmentioned planning came into play. I actually did measure my monitor and camera to make sure everything would fit on the front panel. From there it was a bit of improv as the project went on though :P For this build I had the overall shape in my head but determining all the lengths, angles, heights etc ahead of time didn’t seem necessary for something that would most likely be used a few tines. I would add each element off of the previous and measure everything to fit together as I went.

DIY Photobooth-

I wanted the whole back panel to open on hinges so that the camera would be easily accessible and the whole thing would be easy to assemble and break down. A quick trip to Home Depot and we found these cabinet hinges that worked out well.

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Also note in the picture below, my handheld cordless screwdriver. It is amazing and I totally recommend it to any DIYers out there that work with wood/ hang curtains/ assemble things/ etc/ basically every DIY project lol.

DIY Photobooth-

For the sides I just pressed a sheet of plywood against it’s current shape. Traced the lines. Measured in by the width of the sheet, then cut!

DIY Photobooth-

To cut the hole I needed for my camera lens, I used my Milwaukee hole cutting set. A bit on the pricey side but they are AMAZING! Plus I love the case as I’m a have-a-place-for-it-or-loose-it guy. Except Katelyn helps a ton with that :)


Peek a boo! Eye see you.

Basic setup from the inside:

DIY Photobooth-

For a more finished look we used our favorite Minwax dark walnut wood stain. Super easy way to unite all the wood in a piece and make it look a lot more finished. Of course we didn’t get pictures of this though :P But I use an old rag or t-shirt and wipe the stain on and off and it is super fast. I also usually wear rubber gloves too bc that stain works on skin too.

DIY Photobooth-

We tested out the height that it assembled at and with the table we were going to use we thought it was better to be a little higher up (tested the increased height with an improvised booster), so I whipped up a quick stand to raise it up (then we stained that too!).

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Almost all finished, but moving it around was a little troublesome. No grips on the sides.

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Another Home Depot trip fixed that though:

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Dropped a power strip in the back and ended up tying everything down and organizing it but this will get the idea across:

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In this picture you can also see the hole I cut in the middle to feed out the power and video cables to the monitor.

Of course during this we had to take a whole bunch of pictures. Thankfully google plus stitched some together into a gif for us.

DIY Photobooth-

The little black thing you can kinda see in my hand was the bluetooth remote. Below Katelyn is holding it after we secured it to the booth with some baker’s twine.

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We ended up getting over 500 pictures from the booth at our wedding!

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Remember that aforementioned chaos? Something about photo booths. And when you throw in props and the ability to fit in so many people? Extra chaos. But the good kind :)

DIY Photobooth-

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This post currently has 31 responses.

  1. Maria

    May 29, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    This is awesome! I really want a photobooth at our wedding but yeahhh they are expensive. This is a great idea. Do you think it’d be crazy to hook up a printer too?

    • Katelyn

      May 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

      We did consider adding a printer! But we knew our guests would be taking tonsssss of photos and we didn’t want to deal with the printer running out of paper or ink. Also didn’t want to deal with the extra hookups we’d have to do. But I do think it would be possible. For us, instead we connected our camera to the internet and had it auto-upload the photos to a website that all our guests had access to

  2. Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs

    May 29, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Love the photo booth, especially how you incorporated the LOVE lighted letters in the background. :) My fellow teacher friend and her husband run photo booths as a side job for parties, and they do print out photos onto a pre-set template (sort of like those holiday greeting photos). :)

    • Katelyn

      May 30, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Thanks! Yeah originally we were only going to have the fabric backdrop in the background but then Evan had the idea of incorporating the LOVE letters too :) That’s nice to have your photos printed out for you- we just didn’t have the time to make that happen! We did however have our camera auto-upload the photos to a website that our guests had access to so that they could save any photos they wanted :)

  3. Lindsey

    August 9, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Hi :)

    Did make the backdrop? If so do you have a write up? I saw yalls wedding on a blog site and it is so adorable!! I am getting married in the same area.

  4. Laura

    August 10, 2014 at 9:12 am

    This looks amazing! What camera do you have that allows a bluetooth remote? Do you think an iPhone w/ bluetooth for the photos would work instead of a camera? I’m just not sure I could get a bluetooth remote for my camera.

    • Evan

      August 26, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Since I already had the camera, some cables, and the monitor, all we had to buy was:
      wood – $30 (we got a special wedding discount as regulars :)
      hardware – $20
      one mini hdmi to hdmi cable – $12
      remote – $39

      so, around $100 or so

  5. Andrea

    March 9, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Love this idea and want to try something like it for my own wedding. Just curious is your camera hooked up to power or running on batteries? Also does the remote turn the camera on? (sorry I’m new to this lol)

    • Katelyn

      March 10, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      The camera was hooked into a power source- we actually hid a power splitter in the wooden box and that’s what we hooked it into. The remote didn’t turn the camera on, we just kept it on the whole time since it was plugged in. All the remote did was snap photos (we kept it simple!). Hope this helps!

  6. erika

    June 3, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Hi again, I was wondering if its not to much to ask if you can make a tutorial on how to set up the camera to load automatically onto the google+ site and also how to create the url.. I’ve tried and still can’t figure it out. :\ (I do have the same camera as you) Thank you for this tutorial and also for answering my previous question. If you don’t have time or simply can’t do it, its okay..

    • Katelyn

      June 4, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      No worries, it is easy because google already did it:

      Basically you create a google+ event, register as going, and when the event starts (you can have it start early for this) it will prompt you to go into party mode. You can share the event publicly and the photos will show up there :)

      I made a fake event and tested it before the wedding!

  7. Marisol

    June 24, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Hello Katelyn & Evan, I have the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 and I purchased the Mutu Shuttr because I saw that it worked for you. I was wondering if you guys had any problems programing it? I got the blue tooth to connect but when i go to press the “camera button” on the Shuttr it only makes a noise with out really taking the picture. I was just wondering what you did to make it work? I tried contacting the company but they made me download their app which I did and it work but i can’t seem to zoom or focus so then they asked me to download the google camera but that wasn’t compatible. Would you mind explaining how I can get my camera to work with the Mutu Shuttr? I might just have to return it.. Thank you in advance.

    • Evan

      June 24, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      No problems on the galaxy camera 1. I worry that the skin/OS they put over stock Android messed with it’s ability to be remotely controlled. Their suggestion of trying another camera app is a good one though. Have you tried any camera apps besides the default one?

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