DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party

DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party

DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party

If you believe everything you read on the internet, a party isnt really a party these days unless you have a Photo Booth.  Most of these involve hiring a professional photographer, or relying on friends to take the photos.  Read on to see how you can set up your own DIY Unmanned Photo Booth.
DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party

The Concept

I wanted to set up a Photo Booth for a kids party (11 year olds) away from the main party room that didn’t require any (or minimal anyway) adult intervention. Partly (mainly) because I wanted to enjoy the party, but also because I thought the kids would be  more candid and uninhibited without parents around.  We had no budget for a photographer or Photo Booth hire.

I needed the kids to be able to see the photos as they were being taken, so they wouldnt have to wait for them to be uploaded after the party.

A lot of the kids have been together for the last 7 years, and now are moving on to a huge range of different schools.  While I’m sure many will keep in touch, this gives the kids a chance to take photos with their friendship groups.

Even allowing for some very boisterous fizzy drink fuelled children (my son included), we managed to get some fab shots.

Equipment needed:

  • Camera obviously (I used a Canon EoS 450). It needs to have a remote capture function, and be tripod mountable
  • Tripod
  • Remote control compatible with camera
  • Spare batteries for camera and remote
  • Computer (Macbook), with long cable and remote capture software
  • Backdrop
  • Props
  • Instructions
  • A few stiff drinks so you dont spend the evening worrying that the kids are trashing your computer and camera…….

Basic Setup for a DIY Unmanned Photo Booth:

The camera on the tripod is attached to the computer via a USB cable.  A 5m cable enabled the computer to be placed off to the side (for safety and also so the kids could see the shots as they were taken).  Tape down all the loose cables.

Set the camera to remote shooting mode.  (On mine it was part of the single / continuous shoot setting). Also make sure its on auto focus, and probably auto settings for exposure and aperture.

Position the camera in front of the background, far enough away to get as many people in as possible (mine was about 10ft)  Mark out a capture area in front of the background, that shows what will be “in shot” so that guests know where to stand.3-photobooth-unmanned-copy

Ask parents to contribute props…wigs, hats, tutus etc….anything that doesnt constitute a family heirloom but will be cute in the picture. Make or buy a bunch of moustaches, monacles etc (there are loads of website you can copy). We ended up with a fab array…some people have a crazy dressing up box to plunder.

[Update: for my daughters party we made some emoji photo booth props and some more moustaches]

The sky is the limit.  There are some amazingly creative and beautiful backdrops ideas around. Search pinterest for inspiration.  We used an old dust sheet, and the star bunting I made for Abbis party a while back.  It was amazingly effective, easy and cheap.  DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party

Put signs on the computer and camera (front and back) telling the kids not to touch the settings (ha ha….like that will stop them).

Print an instruction poster and stick somewhere visible.DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids PartyDraw a square on the ground with “X-Marks the Spot”.  This shows the range that the kids should stand into still be in shot.

Mark the button on the remote that the kids need to press to release the shutter remotely.

We added a chalkboard photo booth sign outside to drum up some trade…..DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party

Set up.

Then resist the (overwhelming) tempation to go back and see how it is going.  I didnt go back in until just before the end.  Clearly my instructions had been largely ignored. Especially the no touch stickers!

The blurry photos, and the ones out of position are a great memento of the kids having fun as well. Against all odds, camera and computer survived unscathed.

Abbi was my guinea pig while I was setting up, checking the right distance..DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids PartyThe Unmanned Photo Booth in Action

Party party party

Finally it was time to party.  Here are a selection of my favourites shots from the photobooth.DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party This neon jam jar glass by the way, is a personalised spray painted glass. I made one for each of the kids for the party.DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids PartyLots of friends taking group shots.DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids PartyDIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids PartyCheck out dance moves, and how they look in the photos.DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids PartyIt was all going so well….and then we started to get these…..DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party Before finally, any pretence of following my instructions long gone….DIY Unmanned Photo Booth for Kids Party

Despite the slight worry of losing camera & lap top to a group of marauding teenagers, it was well worth it to be able to capture their candid shots.  This idea and set up would be perfect for a wedding or 21st party.

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