Crafty Adventures: How to make a DIY iPhone or iPad photo booth for your next party. It’s easy, cheap, and a lot of fun!
People LOVE photo booths. Especially if it is an event where they are dressed up nice or for a theme party of some sort, such as a wedding, Halloween, luau, holiday party, etc.
There are a lot of photo booth rental companies out there in Seattle and across the country that charge a ton of money for professional style photo booth rentals. These are great for weddings and large events with a big budget, but I was determined to figure out a cheap and easy way to get create a photo booth for my party myself. I ended up creating an iPhone photo booth for our annual white elephant Christmas party, and it was a smash hit. Technology is awesome.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1. iPhone, iPad, or comparable smartphone or tablet with camera
2. Pocketbooth app (downloadable on the app store for $1.99)
This app is awesome. It gives you a classic photo booth strip of four photos, and you just have to click the green button to start it taking pictures. You can delete photos if you don’t like them, guests can email them to themselves, and the photos automatically save to your phone. You can also choose from black & white, sepia, color, and other filters.
3. A somewhat quiet, out of the way corner to set it up in (guest room, basement, somewhere away from the main party area)
Having it in a separate area will give your guests a little privacy to make them comfortable to be as silly as they want to be, and draw the party to other areas (instead of everyone cramming into the kitchen near the food and booze, which is what always ends up happening).
4. Tripod and tripod adapter attachment for your iPhone or tablet
We used our gorillapod, but a regular tripod will work just as well if not better. The adapter was bought on Amazon, and is adjustable to accommodate various phone sizes. I believe they make these for iPads and tablets as well.
5. A good lighting source facing directly at the people in the booth, (but not a blinding one).
I had a couple of square-shaped paper lanterns that I bought super cheap at Ikea for around $15.00 each. Lighting is imperative for good photos that aren’t grainy. The paper around the bulb diffused the light nicely, and the square shape helped them stand on their own.
6. A bench or two chairs, and a table for the tripod if needed
I had a little shelf that I used. I covered the top with Christmas wrapping paper, and put my props in the shelves below for people to easily access.
7. An extension cord to keep your phone or tablet plugged in the whole time so that the battery won’t die during the party
Your phone will get a lot of action, best be safe and make sure the battery doesn’t die and ruin all the fun.
8. A fun backdrop and props.
I used a piece of sparkly red fabric from Joann Fabrics (don’t forget to check their website for 50% discount coupons, they always have them) and some Christmas lights. Props get people into it–feather boas, reindeer antlers, funny hats, sunglasses, wigs, stuffed penguins, leis, coconut bras, rubber spiders, creepy dolls, anything that you think goes with your theme. Use your imagination!
There are a couple of things to consider when using an iPhone photo booth. First, make sure you can trust your friends, as people will have the ability to use and get into your phone. Our friends are awesome and our party wasn’t huge, so this wasn’t a concern for me. Another option is to create a guided access security option on your phone in the settings, which will lock your phone into one app and you can’t get out of it without your pass code. This is pretty easy to do, made for parents giving their phones to their kids to play games.
Also, if your phone is in the photo booth, you won’t know if someone is trying to call or text you. Or someone else might answer if they do…A way around this is to put your phone in airplane mode to hold all your calls and texts. Just make sure you have a wifi signal turned on so that guests can still email photos to themselves. You’re hosting a party, you don’t need to waste time with your phone anyway. You have guests to entertain.
Last– I didn’t think about it until after the party was over, but my phone is set to lock after an hour of no use. The iPhone photo booth was such a popular attraction at our party that this wasn’t an issue. Keep in mind though that you may need to adjust your iPhone settings to make sure it stays unlocked throughout the party.
Once you get it set up, test it out with various lighting options. If your party is going to mostly be after dark, don’t test it during the day unless the room has no windows. Make sure everything is all set up beforehand.
I tested mine with Finnigan. He was less than thrilled, but was a pretty good sport about it.
The lanterns worked really well for the lighting. The photo booth was a hit and everyone had a blast. I think I’ll have to do it every party from now on. Already thinking up different backdrops….