Gen 2 Photo Booth – Designing the Optics

In a photo booth lighting is one of the most important factors. External flashes and umbrellas can give you an amazingly interesting look. Hot shoe flash diffusers can also give you a great look while keeping it compact. We know we can easily mount umbrellas using pole adapters, but what was the minimum size we need to allow us to use a standard flash?

Box Test

We took a box and lined it with tin foil and paper to be a crude hot shoe flash diffuser. It worked pretty well and the flash was still strong enough to illuminate the room. What we did learn was the hot shoe flash is so directional the tin foil made little difference.


We couldn’t make a booth from paper and cardboard so we started testing different types of diffusers. Our research showed polyethylene was one of the most popular options. We setup this little jig and started testing out various thicknesses.  After testing we found 1/8″ was the best thickness for the flash and rigidity. We could even go up to 1/4″ but we would have to set the camera flash to the maximum brightness and that would shorten the battery life of the flash.



We played with different types of screens for this design. The best we found were the Liliput monitors, they have color calibration and every interface a camera could want. Also they ran on standard camera batteries. They are often used in car PCs too.


After finally setting our focal length and height we think we found a good dimensions for all the optical pieces. The height and brightness were exactly what we wanted. Now to just add all these dimensions into the model.




One Comment on “Gen 2 Photo Booth – Designing the Optics”

  1. Jackie S says:

    I am totally blown away with this mini photo booth which is so cute and adorable. I would love to hear more about it.

    These days everything is getting smaller and smaller…

    I will be following this blog for now on. I am totally interested in the beta for NYC residents. Let me know if I could help. I already have the Nikon D7000, pocket wizard, Alien Bees 800 lighting, my Dye sub, and a strong heavy duty “speaker stand” tripod. I had the iPad 1 but sold it for the iPad 3.

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