I Turn My Camera On: Top 7 Things I Considered When Making a Professional Photo Booth
August, 10, 2018
Looking back at the months leading up to our opening, I can easily say making choices for the photo booth design was one of the more difficult ones. I had a very clear image in my mind of how I wanted things to be, but little to no experience with the details it would require.
Here are some factors I considered in my camera and printer purchases, what I would do differently, and some useful resources for fellow aspiring photo booth owners.
Canon Rebel T6i
1. Quality Photography
Unexpectedly, high definition photos are an ongoing debate within the photo booth community. It’s well understood that photo booth businesses want to take amazing pictures that come out great. However, on photo booth prints, photos are generally not printed larger than a 1x1 inch size with a DPI greater than 300. This means that photo megapixels become less of a priority.
Without going full nerd, DPI indicates the number of ‘Dots Per Inch’ that appear and give quality to photos in different formats.
So technically this is good news for business owners starting out who don’t want to purchase the latest and greatest camera and easily spend over $1,000. If you’re not using the camera for anything aside the booth, and plan on only doing 2x6 prints, an older camera model will do just fine.
However! If you also want to use your camera for website and content photography, I highly recommend the Canon Rebel T6i. You can read more about it’s features here.
I love mine and the outcome is amazing.
Modbug Photo Booth Test Image with Canon Rebel 6Ti
Photograph by Maxwell Brown
2. WiFi Capacity
Wireless internet capability was something I was sure my camera would need. I convinced myself that the photos would need to transfer wirelessly and quickly to the computer for prints. As it turns out (in reality) the camera is typically close enough in the booth to be plugged into the computer for this exact purpose.
However, you still want your camera to have Wifi. Using it, you’ll be able to back up photos without taking up camera storage. Also, if you want to instantly upload the photos to your website or twitter account, network connection will be essential. There! My logic is vindicated!
A feature your camera will definitely need is Live View mode. This will allow your guests to see themselves posing as the picture is being taken! Also! If your interested in doing videos or slow motion, make sure the camera is equipped for that as well.
3. Software Communication
This is one of those ‘horse before the cart’ moments. I was doing all this camera consideration and creating pros and cons lists for days about what I needed to consider. Simultaneously, I was researching photo booth software and had a fun ‘duh’ moment when I realized, “Oh yeah, these two have to talk to one another.
Fortunately, all you have to do is identify the Software you’re interested in and look at their list of Supported Cameras.
Pro tip: Do not purchase your software until you have the camera. Almost all software items out there give you a Free Trial, and testing is the best way to know if it’s really going to work for you.
Minding your P’s and Q’s
Warning: Going full nerd for fun and random fact. The phrase Mind your Ps and Qs originated from the printing press. The lowercase version of these letters are mirror images of one another, and so close in the alphabet, that printer press makers had to be very focused when adding them.
Of course, now we use this expression differently, but it’s origin more accurately represents my stress around choosing the right printer for our photo booth.
You HAVE to remember: No matter how quality your camera is or how accurate your settings are, the printer provides the final product.
As my best friend’s Dad so poignantly pointed out, “This is your money maker, so don’t go cheap.”
Here are printer the essentials to look for:
1. 2x6 Print Strips – I’m a vintage gal. Having a printer that could be programmed to cut the photos into 2x6 sizes that gives a throwback feel was a must.
2. Double-sided Printing – I understand the marketing value of having your photo booth business name on the front of prints. I really do. But as a fellow consumer, it makes me cringe a little. Almost like it’s saying “Hey, my wedding was sponsored by modbugphotobooths.com.” If a client doesn’t mind this, fantastic. But in case they do, I’d like to be able to put my logo on the back of the prints instead.
3. Quick Dryin – Dye Sublimation is the well-regarded as the best printing method for energy efficiency, and high end photo prints that will instantly dry. Just thinking about the issue of smudges is giving me 90’s flashbacks.
4. Light Weight – My favorite ‘Open Air’ photo booth designs have the prints come out at eye level next to the camera. This requires a very small lightweight printer. Honestly, I lost sight of this essential during the buying process.
My photo “booth” is a Volkswagen Bug so I planned to have the printer outside the vehicle, and I may have convinced myself at purchasing time that 26 lbs really isn’t that heavy. But, it is.
Although I love my DNP DS620A Dye Sub Photo Printer and that it does all of the above, it’s still a 26 lb piece of equipment that I have to travel with and keep safe. If you can, keep it light (especially if you’re planning an open air set up).
I hope this post proves useful to any entrepreneurs out there who, like me, aim to bring more smiles to the world and also create quality professional photography!
Our business, Modbug Photo Booths is now taking 2018 and 2019 reservations in the greater Denver area. Post your Volkswagen or Photo Booth Questions below, and they’ll be considered for our next blog post!
Also! Check out the useful links I’ve provided below for more information on creating your own professional photo booth.
Ten Tips for Creating an Awesome Photo Booth
Starting a Photo Booth Business: Build or Buy?
Top Considerations When Building Your Own Photo Booth
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