DIY Photo booth – Booth Styles

So when I was researching photo booths for my wedding I found out that the old timey traditional booths were a thing of the past. Now new styles of photo booth technology are popping up. It’s hard to get good pricing when they are all over the map. In this post I’ll go over the different booths.

I did a quick Google insights (above) and saw that photo booth interest is growing yearly. I decided to look across they net and gauge what all the booth hype is. I was surprised, a lot of companies were creating photo booth software, integrating photo booth effects in cameras. The net was definitely talking about it.

Before we start I’d like to point out two types of booths I will not be covering. One is the App store/Google Play stand alone booth apps. The second is the photographer standing behind a tripod. Those are application versions while fun to use, do not have the fully integrated look and feel for an event photo booth. Also the lack of advanced lighting and stock optics put it in the category of, “hey cool an app,” rather than the hey I’m willing to trust this in my multi thousand dollar wedding. The latter is a photographer and the presence of a person taking the photo will not have the same carefree feel of a booth. The photos will be a higher quality with a good photographer, but they will not be as candid.

There are three types of booths

  • Open Air Tabletop Booth (Left)
  • Open Air Stand Alone Booth (Center)
  • Traditional Photo Booth (Right)

Open Air Tabletop Booth

Average Rental Price: $600 (4hrs)
Average DIY build Price: $400
Space: Table top
Pros: Fits on a table, very good for small venues. Easy to build a DIY version. Very Portable, easy to setup. Good height for both kids and adults.
Cons: Small foot print doesn’t allow for good quality lighting. Easy to miss at a wedding.

Overall this style booth is excellent if your venue is small and you do not have space. Its also nice because you can place this on a nice table and have the props on the table for all your friends to use. This style usually has a very short focal range so the booth will only cover head shots. You may only be able to cram 4.5 heads into a shot with this style booth. These also require outlets so even though its portable, make sure you bring an extension cord. Kids and adults can use this and that’s a great plus. This is a sit down style booth.

Open Air Stand Alone Booth

Average Rental Price: $700  (4hrs)
Average DIY build Price: $600
Space: 10’x10′ +
Pros: Great for group shots 16+, very visible, typically good overhead lighting, allows the most creativity, allows for great family portraits and clever backdrops add on’s, setup is fast
Cons: Props need to be stored in a bin on the side, booth requires a decent space, lighting from booth can splash onto dance floor if no back drop is used. Cannot be hand carried.

I like this style booth, it can be configure to be sit down or stand up. This allows for many creative action shots. It is large enough at a wedding for people to see it and it has the space for everyone to cluster in. At my wedding I used my open air booth in stand up mode and added a backdrop to separate it from the dance floor. Also this style booth has a really good flow since you can use one side to enter and the other to exit. These fit really well near entrances.

One big downside is the weight. These will average 60-100lbs and it is not something you want to move while wearing a suit or tux.

Traditional Photo Booth

Average Rental Price: $1000
Average DIY build Price: $400/$700 (Cloth booth/Rigid booth)
Space: 5’x3′
Pros: Reliable, vintage feel,  very intuitive, privacy curtain, small foot print, good over head lighting, varying amounts of setup time
Cons: Short focal length, limited to 2-5 people, large to transport to venue, setup time can be long for DIY versions.

This style of booth is by far the most popular because people like the vintage feel of a photo booth. The high quality rental booths cost about $10k to buy. And many DIY versions from eBay/etc cost from $3k-$5k. Cloth booths can wrinkle and if you are planning to make your own with PVC, remember PVC is tapered and is friction weldable. What does that mean? If you bang the assembly together hard enough, it wont easily come apart.

So which booth is best? It’s really up to the amount of space and money you want to spend. All these booths result in great fun and I’ve never heard of anyone having a bad experience. At the end of the day the photo booth is fun because of the people, not the design. So I recommend choosing whichever best fits your budget and space.



4 Comments on “DIY Photo booth – Booth Styles”

  1. eric says:

    did you come across any data on the kind of photo printer used most often?

    • dye says:

      I’ve seen a lot of Hiti on the DIY booths. Realistically I can’t say the DIY photo booths and high end printers are a common pairing. Most people do tear downs and hacked printers. Once you start spending $1000 on a printer and hundreds on media you are starting to enter the pro range.

  2. Jackie S says:

    Great article and thank you for sharing. I had a table top photo booth and I had to sell it. I got sick and it was pretty heavy (awkward) for me to carry around.

    Now I have the open air booth. I am using alien Bee lighting, a nikon D7000, and my old mitsubishi printer (which I will sell and purchase something a bit lighter).

  3. Thanks for discussing about Portable Photo Booths for Sale. I appreciate your work and this blog post. Great work, keep this carry on. I would like to visit again and like to read some more interesting information.

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