This year for our work Christmas party I asked if I could create a photobooth for something a little different and a bit of fun. I had recently purchased a battery grip for my camera which enables me to take photos wirelessly with a remote – allowing people to take the photos themselves without me being there.
To begin with, I researched different photobooth setups – looking at flash/lighting, camera operations, to backdrops and props. For me, it would be a basic set up with camera, flash, backdrop and props. I did a few tests at home with the Christmas tree as my subject, testing lighting and flash position. I wasn’t able to get my flash to work in any other position than upon
my camera, so it was just going to have to stay there. I also have a Surface Pro tablet, at which I wanted to set up directly linked to my camera so that when people took the photo, they could see the photo instantly, or tethering as I found out it was called. Now, after countless hours of trying to get this to work through lightroom, it was to be that my camera isn’t capable enough/not high enough of model; thus I simply had to do with taking a few photos to then transferring them onto my tablet to then view as slideshow (which I did numerous times throughout the night.)
When it came to the backdrop I had looked up different approaches, but I really wanted to created something/have a unique feel to it. As I wasn’t getting paid for the entire event, I wasn’t going to spend a lot on the items I had to purchase. It turned out that we didn’t have a white sheet at home to use, thus I went to Lincraft and Spotlight to find fabric that wasn’t $7 or so by the metre – which didn’t seem to be the case. I was still going to have to paint on it with the idea I was going to do. I ended up using the fabric I use for my market stall table, and I hung my origami lucky star garlands from this for a bit of my own character (but I still wished I could have made a backdrop, anyway.) As for the stand, I saw a few diy ones online using pvc pipe. I decided to create one like this as I had some pipe from a few years, just had to buy a few more and cut them down to size. It was a little wonky, but would do for this case.
For props, I found some images online and took them into Illustrator and resized them for my purpose, printed some out on the paper, and other ones doubled onto scrapbook paper for different colours and textures.
When it came to setting up, I purposely didn’t ask anyone of my other work peers to help in a test to see if anyone would go out of there way and help (I’ve been photographing at friend’s parties in the past and have gone out of my way as a guest and photographer to help them clean up or something whilst all my other friends/guest just watched on – it’s just a test of character I like to see how plays out.) No one did, which is of no surprise. I did ask for help when I had to stand the backdrop up as it is a little taller than me. Now, I also couldn’t find clamps anywhere (shops or at home), thus I was using my large bulldog clip and lots of smaller ones, which looked rather dodgy.
I couldn’t set up in the space I wanted b/c there was now a couch there, thus it was kind of in the middle of the room. After finally getting the camera and everything ready, we were set to go.
I did take a majority of the photos myself, but there were a few ‘self taken’ ones. At one point during the night, the wireless remote would not work, but I fixed it up. Even though I put an “X” on the floor so people would stand there, they kept leaning on the backdrop, which at one point when I was outside, I could see it falling over, but I just let them figure it out.
Not as many people used it to what I thought they would, but probably because it was a new thing to the party/they’re all much younger than me/or they didn’t even know who I was (probably thought I was an outside photographer.)
But In am very happy with how the photos turned out with the flash – people were even saying at how professional they look (ok, to me, they are slightly off, but better than nothing I guess.)
After the event, there was the pack up, and I decided not to be a spoiler and went along to the after party where I basically just sat at the kitchen table and edited some of the photos before someone outside passed out and then I left.
Upon reflection, for next time I do think the following:
Have a wider backdrop – 1.5m wouldn’t fit a group of people comfortably and most of the photos you can see everything behind.
I would really like to purchase a soft light, I believe it would more pro and I wouldn’t be relying on the light outside and keep having to change the settings based on this.
With the sign and props, have this displayed nicer/easier to grab (I only had a low lying coffee table, so it was better than the floor.
Otherwise, it was a good first experience, and was even encouraged to perhaps think of doing more like it. If so, I would like to have a nicer set up, and definitely have some nicer lights.