Quasi-Crafty: DIY Wedding Photobooth Tutorial

I’m going to let you in on a little secret:  I am not a crafty bride.  I don’t have a stash of markers, hole punches, and tissue paper.  I definitely do not own a glue gun.  Yet, despite these limitations, occasionally I find myself wanting to recreate the gorgeous details of weddings that fill the blog world.  Enter the world of Quasi-Crafty projects.  Somewhat akin to a boxed cake-mix, these projects require little skill yet yield surprisingly close results to the real thing (and at lower cost!).   This weekly post will provide how-to’s to some of my own crafts & highlight those from other real weddings.  

DIY Photobooth

Oh, Photobooths.   The darling of wedding blogs, they are fun, stylish, and sure to leave you and your guests with awesome pictures.  And like many blog-chic details, I fell head-over-heels for them.  Unfortunately, like many things in wedding-land, however, they are expensive.  A simple photobooth can cost $895 and up!   Luckily, it’s not too hard to create your own wedding Photobooth experience.  All you need are three things: a camera, a backdrop, and your friends.  (If you want to make it more complicated, then you should check out here and here.  I will warn you – these may require a hammer!) Here are my 3 easy steps for an affordable Photobooth:

Polaroid Camera $69 on Amazon

Retro Polaroid Camer

1.  Photography.  For this step you will need a camera.  You have several choices.  

  • First, if you already own a digital camera – Great!  Place it on a tripod and let your guests take pictures.  No tripod? No problem – you can buy one for $25.  I would consider hanging a sign on the tripod with instructions on how to shoot on a timer.  
  • Looking for a more retro, authentic feel?  Then an inexpensive Polaroid camera is a great option!  A combination of a digital camera and Polaroid camera is also a great way to allow guests to take small prints with them while preserving all the photos for your own enjoyment later. 
  • Lastly, if you know you want premium quality photographs, you should look into hiring a photographer to attend the photobooth for the reception.  It wouldn’t be unreasonable to find a budding photographer who would work for 3-4 hours of the reception for $200-300.   You could ask your wedding photographer for recommendations, place an ad on Craigslist, etc.  
2.  Background.  One of my favorite things about a DIY photobooth is that they are both entertainment and decor – win!  Your backdrop needs two things: a support system and a fabric backdrop. 
  • Support System:  If your venue has two walls, a post and a wall, or something similar, consider simply hanging a clothes line to hold your cloth backdrop.   This is definitely an economical option!  Another budget-friendly option is to buy a photographer’s backdrop stand from Amazon for about $40.  

    Photobooth Fabric Backdrop

    Bed sheets for a Backdrop

  • Backdrops: Here is where your wedding’s style and personality can shine.  Amazon sells photograph backdrops for $35 and up.  For more economical alternatives, try discount fabric stores or an Ikea Shower Curtain.     You could even use ribbons, crepe paper, or saris! If you create a backdrop out of fabric plan on purchasing 4 yards of fabric and some fabric glue.  Simply fold over the top of the fabric to create a loop and glue it down – it will slide right on the backdrop stand like a curtain!
100 Layer Cake DIY Streamer Backdrop

100 Layer Cake DIY Streamer Backdrop $40

3.  Friends & Props.  What makes a great photobooth the best photobooth? Props & friends!  You can purchase inexpensive Props from Etsy, make some cute paper ones with these free downloads from Onewed,  or even make your own clay props with this diy tutorial.  And don’t forget a cute, customized sign to direct your guests – $12 on Etsy.    

LittleWeddingWorks Customized Photobooth Sign via Etsy $12

LittleWeddingWorks Customized Photobooth Sign via Etsy $12

The day of your wedding give your background, camera equipment, signs, and props to a trusted friend to set-up at the reception venue.   The bottom line? Depending on your exact choice of options, your Quasi-Crafty DIY photobooth will cost $50-300 –  well under the cost of a traditional photobooth!
I hope our mini-Wedding Photography series has been helpful.   Know someone who could use a little Quasi-Craftieness?   Please share!
How to Make a Photobooth

DIY Wedding Photobooth Tutorial

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5 thoughts on “Quasi-Crafty: DIY Wedding Photobooth Tutorial

  1. I’m so torn on this issue! After realizing the cheapest we could get was $500 for 2 hours, I was determined to DIY. Sparkbooth is a great software program that you purchase for $60, install on your laptop, and your guests can take as many photos as they want using your webcam. It’s the printing of the photos that’s tricky. We are worried that our laser printer will fail mid-reception, and someone will have to fix it. And I don’t want to be messing around with refilling ink, wearing white and all, Lol!

    We’ve decided that once we confirm our photographer(s) and know how much we are spending there, then we’ll decide if we can afford a photobooth. $500 seems like a lot… but maybe it’s worth the laughs after??

    • It is a tough issue! One thing I might do – talk with your photographer! Our photographer actually has an extra backdrop stand that we are using, and she offered to either (a) cover the photobooth herself intermittently during the reception (i.e. not during cake cutting, but in the “free time”) or (b) bring in a second photographer just for the photobooth for a bit more ($3-400).

      I think we are going to go with having her cover the booth intermittently + the $64 Polaroid. That way, guests can have pictures (small ones) if they want them, and I also get some awesome ones (our photographer took the pictures at the beginning of the post).

      I guess when I’m planning I like to keep things simple – and a printer sounds not-so-simple. (But I’m also not super tech-savvy!) I think a photobooth is a lot of laughs, but I’m not sure prints are necessary for the laughs…

      (Thanks for the heads up about the Sparkbooth software!)

  2. Pingback: The Photobooth | Ingrid and Nick – 7.27.13 -

  3. Pingback: Quasi-Crafty: Strawberry Buttercream Jam Filled Cupcakes (Recipe + Tips) | a buttercream wedding

  4. Pingback: A Compilation of Photo-Booth Wedding Ideas | Wedding Crowd

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