Feb 22, 2013

Valentine's Day photobooth Setup

It really is true that after an event, wedding or otherwise, the only thing you really keep are the memories.  And the memories you keep best are the ones you have pictures of.  If it is done right, a fun photo booth can make an event memorable and add to the enjoyment of attendees.

While this photo booth setup is fairly simple, you do need a lot of lights for the look.  I used four strobes, all in various forms of softboxes with a Thunder Grey Seamless background.

Space was a bit limited, with an 8' ceiling and only about 12' wide area.  With that, I was still creating a bottleneck for traffic through an entrance.

At the back, I used Elinchrom 500ws Strobes in 2x2' softboxes at minimum power to create the rim and hair light that separates the subjects from the background paper.  Adjusting the angle of the softboxes also changed how much light was hitting the backdrop, giving it a nice gradient without a separate light.

In front, an Alien Bees ABR800 with the 56" "Moon Unit" octabox was the key light high and camera left. It was at 1/2 power.  On the right, as a strong fill light is an Alien Bees Einstein strobe in a3'x4' softbox.

Simple setup, but it is a lot of softboxes in a small space.
Photo booth setup

When shooting more than two people in the booth, getting a strobe in the shot was inevitable...

But with one or two, I like the results.

Remember, it isn't about perfection for each image.  There isn't time to customize the lighting for each subject.  Instead, a good general setup that will give good results and keep people moving through is the objective.

A couple of notes... Props make a photo booth more fun.  Giving people something to interact and be creative with helps them be more comfortable than just standing in front of a camera.  And if you make the props, make them matte finish or watch the reflections.

Another  consideration is how you trigger the flashes.  Most monolights have built-in slave triggers so that you would only need a radio trigger on one of them (or even us an on-camera flash as a trigger).  However, at some photo booths, people will use their own cameras to get a shot at the same time.  I have found it beneficial to go ahead and put radio triggers on all of the flashes to avoid having someone with a point-and-shoot popping the flashes.

I took the photos here, but another option is to set up a photo area and allow guests to take their own photos...

Be forewarned.  If there is a photobooth, someone will want to do a jumping photo :)

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