Pictures are an essential component of any party or event – as are videos. You hear different guidelines about whether or not you should allow phones and personal cameras (especially when you’ve hired a professional photographer or videographer), what you should capture pictures and video of, and how best to capture it.
A fun trend that escapes this dilemma is setting out a few Polaroid cameras so guests can take their own pictures. Taking things a step further, photo booths are an excellent addition because they allow guests to take more genuine pictures at their leisure. Both options leave everyone with tangible, fun memories.
A photo booth can really add to the magic of the party because it gives guests an opportunity to commemorate the party in their own way. Different props, costumes, and backgrounds allow your guests to celebrate your party in their own unique ways.
It’s pretty easy to make your own photo booth – and definitely easier on the budget. The minimum you need is a nice background (could be a curtain or even just a nice wall!) and a camera. Beyond that, props such as sunglasses, hats, signs, jewelry, boas, and anything else you can think of are great accessories.
You can be as creative as you want with this. You can pick a theme and decorate the booth to fit with that, or just find all the fun props you can and let guests decide for themselves who they want to be.
You can hang a curtain on a wall or build a booth yourself; either way, guests will love the effort you put into it. If you’re having a lot of fun, crazy props, a simple background with a limited color scheme is best, so you don’t distract from the subject of the pictures. If you don’t have props, though, consider making the background itself the prop. String lights or garland look awesome in front of a solid color background, too.
You should provide chairs or another form of seating in case guests are more comfortable sitting down for pictures. Couches and armchairs also make for interesting props in the pictures. You’ll also need a lot of lighting. If your party is during the day and you get plenty of natural light, you’re probably good, but if the party is at night, you need to provide extra lights. Keep things obnoxiously bright, and take a few test pictures to make sure you have the right amount.
To kick things up another notch, kick your photo booth up another notch!
Green screens are no longer a thing of the movies: it’s easy to purchase a screen and there are apps you can use for the backgrounds. All you need to do is hang the screen, set up a tablet (ideally), phone, or laptop, and then let the guests take over. You should have a printout with instructions, so guests don’t have to guess what to do. You may also want to provide a cardigan or shawl, just in case any guests happen to wear green.
You also don’t have to stick with the typical hanging screen/curtain for your photo booth. Rent an actual booth, or build your own to give guests a little privacy while they take goofy pictures. Or, opt for something a little different. You can find photo booths in almost any shape and form. You can even find photo booth trucks – like food trucks! Your photo booth can be as simple as a frame made out of 2x4s or PVC pipe with a curtain or as sophisticated as a green screen or a camera that makes gifs and boomerang videos.
As for saving pictures taken in the booth, you have a few options. You can set up your own camera and then email or mail copies to guests later. Or you can get a photo printer that will connect to smart phones, so your guests can print off a copy of their pictures right then and there, but you get a copy to keep for yourself as well. Another option is to have guests use their own cameras or phones and then share the pictures on social media or in a shared photo drive. Finally, you can get a Polaroid camera and let guests print pictures on the spot. These allow for great guest books too – just ask guests to take one picture (and sign it) for the book before they keep any pictures for themselves.
Photo booths offer fun mementos for the guests and for the hosts – especially because the hosts are often so busy they miss a lot of the fun moments. Pictures and candid shots give hosts a chance to see parts of the party they missed.