A couple of months ago Robyn asked me to put together a photo booth for her upcoming birthday party. Cool, cool, I’ve never done one before so this should be fun. I started working on it in my head straight away, thinking about how I could make it the best quality, flexible, and most importantly easy for people to get their mug shots taken.
I wanted people to be able to set off the camera on their own, so I dug out some old RF-602 triggers, I’ve had these since about 2010 and they are still going strong. The great thing about them is that the trigger just has a single button on it. I put a big red sticker on it to make it super obvious what to press (I used another set of these triggers to fire the light too).
We had a look at a few pre-made lineup style backdrops, but they all seemed either over priced, too small, or shit quality. So I figured that it would be a good excuse to get out the power tools. For about £35 in supplies and a few hours work, Robyn, Rosie and myself put together a massive 8 foot tall, 8 foot wide backdrop that would easily get 6 or so people in front of it at a time.
I mounted my 12.9 inch iPad Pro to the front of my tripod just under the camera, and used my EyeFi card to transmit the photos straight to it. That meant people would see the photos being taken almost instantly. That was probably the single best thing I did for the Photo Booth. Bitches loved it.
I also wanted to maximise the depth of field for these photos and shoot at some where around F/11 with my 28mm lens. This would give me about 1.5 meters of “in focus area” between the backdrop and the camera. This would mean I wouldn’t need to focus every time and it would be fine if there were 2 rows of people. My speedlights weren’t going to cut it — I needed more light. I opted to buy a cheap (~£70) studio flash by Neewer, which worked really well to start with…
Unfortunately the light sort of well… caught fire. Yep srsly, the brand new light decided that it didn’t want to be a part of this world any more and suicided. Luckily I spotted it before there were any actual flames, I caught a little bit of it on video, but actually when I removed the softbox, most of the smoke was coming out of the front. So I wont be recommending any Neewer lights…
Luckily we got plenty of photos before the light got all “on fiery”, nobody died, and the emergency services didn’t have to attend. Firemen, cops and convicts would have been too much to deal.