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Photographer’s Guide to Photobooth Cameras

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Today I’m doing a post as part of my Shutterfly campaign to talk about the different kinds of cameras you can use to set up your very own party photobooth. The most common practice is to use a digital camera but there are so many other fun options I wanted to talk about the pros and cons of all of them. When you are deciding what camera to use you want to think about what you want to do with the photos. Will they be available online? Do you want to send a copy home with the party goer? Do you want to put them in a book afterwards? All of the above?

Digital Camera

Digital is the most commonly used these days. If you already own a camera the expenses are quite low for this. The simplest process is to have someone manning the camera and then have them upload the photos to an online photo site where all the partygoers can access them. Another option is if you will have access to wifi you can connect you camera with a very cheap device called EyeFi that will upload the pictures you take immediately online to a program like Flickr. If you want to print right there you can set up your camera to print with a printer like this. Most printers will print from a memory card or you can set it up with blue tooth to print automatically. I’ve never done this but was told it was pretty simple. (digital photos by Aubrey Trinnaman)

Fuji Instax

This camera is great option for photobooths. The Instax Mini is an instant camera like the polaroid. The shape of the film is smaller than a polaroid (although they’ve begun making a large version). Fortunately this film has not been discontinued and is easier to get. The exposures will end up costing around a $1 per photo. The great part about the Instax is it takes very little skill for an amateur to get a decent exposure. And the best part is you can send the photo home with the guest right there. If you also wanted a digital copy I’ve heard of people quickly scanning the photo before handing it over to the party guest. It makes it a little bit special to use film because you only have one or two chances to get the photo right unlike digital where you can keep taking photos with little cost. (Instax photos by Paul Ferney)

Vintage Polaroid with Fuji Pack Film

I’ve used this camera for a photobooth before and been very happy with the results. Its a more serious camera than say the Instax so you get better quality photos but its still instant so you get the fun feeling of waiting for a photo to turn out. (There are cheaper versions you can get off ebay like this.) You need some camera experience to be able to get the exposure right. But if you have decent light and use the Fujifilm FP-3000B you can get really great indoor photos. The great thing about black and white pack film is when you peel away the photo you are left with a negative so if you have a place at the party to let the negative dry then the next day you can scan in the negatives and reverse the negative in Photoshop. (I have to give Jon Canlas a shout out for teaching me how to do this!) Its the best of both worlds because you can send people home with a print and still keep a version to turn digital. (Polaroid-Fuji photos by Paul Ferney)


Holga is a toy film camera that shoots in medium format film. With this camera you get fun square shaped prints. Holgas usually get the best results in bright sunlight so if your party is during the day this is a great option. Since it is a film camera your only option is to get the film developed and scanned and put it online later for your friends to see. Lots of limitations with this one but the photos turn out so great with all the unpredictable light leaks that this one is still one of our favorites. (Holga photo by Jonathan Canlas)

Have you ever made your own photobooth? What kind of camera did you use?


  1. Alix H.

    June 2, 2011

    My friend and I are OBSESSED with photo booths….we made one on the fly for my daughter’s school fundraiser and used a printer like the Kodak one you linked to above…..we used a Canon Selphy and it was great. We photographed with a Nikon digital camera and we had multiple memory cards to switch out when we needed to print the photos. The nice thing about using the digital cameras , unlike instant cameras, you have the digital photos to keep on file so that you can print more copies as needed and also to do a fun slideshow after the fact : –you can see the printer in action in the movie.

  2. Anni

    June 2, 2011

    We’re planning to have one at our wedding, and I’ll still not sure what to do! Love the Polaroid idea, though, and may have to go with that.

  3. Tiffany G.

    June 2, 2011

    I am planning to have a photo booth at an event soon. The event is indoors and I will be using a Canon Rebel XS. Does anyone have any lighting tips?

  4. Designs Good

    June 2, 2011

    We would like to have a photo booth at our wedding as well, but are not exactly sure where to start, so thank you so much for this post–it’s super helpful!

  5. Corrie Anne

    June 2, 2011

    Oooooh! Thanks. I, too, have just committed to wanting a photobooth at our upcoming (SOON) wedding so this is a helpful starter.

  6. Kate

    June 2, 2011

    I love this idea!!! And your new site is fab!


  7. Judi

    June 2, 2011

    I love this idea! I was recently at a graduation party where they set up a small room from black sheets, so it was very dark inside, with a stool to sit down on and the camera set up on a tripod. In front of the stool is the camera and a shutter release, so guests can take the pictures themselves! It was very fun, cheap and easy, and this way you don’t have to have someone manning the camera all day. Also, the high flash in the dark room gave it a fun photobooth appeal, and this way you don’t have to worry about lighting. However, I LOVE the beautiful background Jordan created and think that is a wonderful idea and gives it a real party-feel.

  8. Emily@GoHausGo

    June 2, 2011

    Awesome post – love DIY-ing this versus the photobooth vendors. I have seen pretty cheesy ones… and they’re expensive!

  9. Kali

    June 2, 2011

    This post came at the perfect time! My fiance and I have been talking about how to set up our own photobooth, and these are great suggestions. All of the ideas are unique, but I like the idea of going digital and keeping a copy of the photos. I love toy cameras like the Holga, and I’ve had several. Unfortunately every single one has broken, and often it’s the film threader that stops working, so I would be worried about this happening at the reception! But I do like the idea of using instant photos in place of a traditional guest book.

  10. angie

    June 2, 2011

    i love these cameras! wish i own all of them. 🙂 great photos!

  11. Liz

    June 2, 2011

    A camera was set up to take photos every few seconds in a booth at my friends wedding and they ended up being some of the most amazing photos! They had a few props in there as well like a chalkboard to write messages etc. So lovely. Not sure what sort of camera it was though.

    Great info on the different options, thanks!


    PS Love the new look

  12. Jess

    June 2, 2011

    Love the site and all your cool DIY ideas, it makes me oh-so-happy!

  13. April

    June 3, 2011


    We wanted to have a photobooth at but the cost was prohibitive since we’re working with a tight wedding budget. Reading this post immediately brought to light our solution…

    We’ll create an awesome backdrop and set up an area to have the “photobooth” during our cocktail hour (during daylight). Many of our friends are incredible photographers so we’ll ask one or two to man the photobooth for an hour or so and snap pictures of people on our Holga.

    Thank you!

  14. April

    June 3, 2011

    Oh! Also worth mentioning, if you’re looking to purchase some cool photo equipment for your photobooth: Photojojo!

    They have a bunch of instant-style cameras, like the Instax and Fuji 210 and also a bunch of really cool accessories (gels, flashes and whatnot). If you have a fancy digital camera but not the lighting set-up it seems like the ring flash adaptor would do the trick too.

  15. Lauren Kay

    June 3, 2011

    I had a photobooth at my last birthday party using some clever black satin fabric, a shelf and an iPhone with the MPhotobooth app on it. Basically, we jimmied the shelf so it had a small ledge and something for the iPhone to lean up against and then posted a chalkboard with directions on how to use the app so that it was self-operational. The best thing is that I was able to send digital thank you notes to each person that attended with their own digital photobooth pictures. They really turned out quite phenomenal. (You can view a gallery of them at: ).

  16. rubi

    June 3, 2011

    my husband and i love photobooths and created a website for uploading your own photobooth pictures and it develops them like a vintage photobooth strip.
    it’s free and it’s called

    we mostly use digital pictures but i’ve been wanting to try the fujifilm peel apart film pack too.

  17. Mugzbooth

    June 5, 2011

    We have a photobooth business and we have great success with a basic Cannon Rebel hooked up direct to a dye sub printer for instant lab quality prints. A basic laptop runs the software to make it all happen…easy peasy and lots of fun!

  18. Torey Beth

    June 6, 2011

    oh, i am so excited to see the fuji instax featured! i recently received one in the mail i plan to use for a diy photobooth at my wedding in september…love the sample shots!

  19. Lisa

    June 6, 2011

    Great new site! How are the fonts called you’re using?

  20. Lyddiegal

    June 8, 2011

    A party photo booth sounds like such a fun idea! I love the look of the holga.

  21. tayamg

    June 8, 2011

    We had a DIY paper-less photo booth at our reception. (We didn’t want people to have to fiddle with a printer or have an attendent.) My dad made a simple wooden booth with tarps for sides. We put a small table and a couple chairs in there. Then we used a MacBook and my husband wrote a little piece of code so that all the photos went to a specific folder. Mac has an application called “Photo Booth” that will take four photos in succession like a real booth. Then, when we sent our thank you notes, we printed the photos on sticker paper and included them in the envelopes. My husband also made a little video of all the pictures set the Benny Hill theme music – it was awesome!

  22. nicole b.

    June 8, 2011

    Great post. We used the Fuji Instax at our wedding reception. It was a big hit. My next camera purchase will be a Holga. xo.

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