I'm writing this post because a friend of mine in the non-profit industry asked me where she could buy a cheap photo booth for the events she does throughout the year. She had a very limited budget, so instead of buying one, I told her she could build her own.
Disclaimer: Our booths are not built this way. I wouldn't recommend this method for anyone trying to start a photo booth business. Our recommendations are what we believe is best to achieve the goal.
Goal: Build a photo booth that will get the job done.
Total estimated cost: $780
I know that that price might still see a little steep, but I'll give you different options so you can choose the type of booth you'd like. For this DIY we're not worried about aesthetics nor high-end stuff, only something to get the job done.
1. Camera + Tripod
Clearly the most important part of a photo booth is the camera. You may already have a camera, but in case you don't, you want to shop around to find the best camera that fits your needs. The quality of the camera is up to you, and you might want to take into account any add-ons like a the carry bag, the memory card, the battery pack, etc. The tripod is also a very important part of the equation, you want to make sure that you camera will remain upright and safe.
Here is a good camera bundle and tripod that could work perfectly for your booth;
The software is a huge part of the booth, since it's what lets us call this operation a photo booth. There are plenty of options when it comes to software. I recommend shopping around and finding which one if the best for the type of event you're hosting. You want to make sure that you see everything that the software offers, for example if it allows you to take multiple images in one session or even customize the layout of the photos. There are softwares that fit everyone's budget, but here are a couple that I recommend:
Your computer is important since it's where your photos will live and what holds the software that will run your booth. It's very likely that you already have a computer that you can use, so go for it. Tablets also work great, as long as they have a USB connection to connect to your camera, and you can set up your tablet so people can see themselves before snapping the picture.
4. Flash Unit + Umbrella
This one might seem like an add on, but having a good flash will take your images to another level, and will make your guests love their pictures even more. Your camera might already have a good flash, but here is my recommendation for a great flash unit and umbrella that I guarantee will make your pictures look incredible.
5. Backdrop + Stand + Props
A nice backdrop is key to get the best photo booth. I recommend you know what type of theme your party is going to be, that way finding the perfect backdrop will be easier.
Props are a definite must when it comes to photo booths. I recommend going on Pinterest, there's a lot of printouts that you can use, or quickly search amazon, there are plenty of props in the market.
Below you can find some great places to find backdrop, plus a stand that could work perfectly.
Other purchase sites:
The set up for your booth shouldn't be too complicated. Leave a few feet between the camera and the backdrop, and test your lighting before your event starts.