Photobooths are fantastic additions to any party, and weddings in particular, that let you see a whole different side to the guests. If you’re hosting a party, they allow you to have some photographic reminders of the event while being able to be the host or hostess and not the photographer. Even better: they’re not difficult to set up.
It’s not necessary to have an actual booth; rather, find somewhere out-of-the-way but still relatively close to the action, set a camera on a tripod, with a diffused light, a remote shutter release, and a screen for viewing. You might want to mark an ‘X’ on the floor where the optimum standing points are and be sure to tape down any cords or wires. Basically, that means that a group steps in front of the camera, grabs the shutter-release mechanism (available for most camera models), lines themselves up in the screen, takes the shot, and then reviews the photo on the screen. It is a lot of fun.
When you set up your booth, aim for an aperture that should get most people in the shot sharp (say ƒ/5.6), a fast shutter speed to avoid blur, and an ISO that is as low as you can manage. The constant light source should make things fairly easy. Try the all-points auto-focus option to help keep the subjects in focus.
Seeing as you’ve set up the camera for unchanging light, you can shoot in JPEG and save yourself an editing headache.
If you want, you can supply some props (or if you’re setting up a booth at a wedding, the bridal couple will) to help prompt people with their photos. Silly hats, cheap musical instruments, ridiculous sunglasses, and moustaches on sticks are a good start, or whatever works with the theme of your party or wedding, of course. Look for a plain background that won’t distract from the photos. A white wall is ideal, but a plush red velvet curtain can work a treat.
The benefit of a photobooth is that allows your guests to self-edit their shots and the degree of privacy that the booth allows means that you can capture some fun, candid moments, too!
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The Wedding Photography Field Guide, by Michelle Turner
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