A couple weeks ago I mentioned I set up a photo booth at a wedding I shot recently. The bride asked if it was something I could do, and after seeing it done at several weddings, I thought I’d give it a shot. [Ed.- Apologies to those who have no idea what some of the technical stuff refers to…yeah, it’s a little gear geeky.]
Since we were going to be outside, originally, I was thinking a 7x7ish white tent would be the best option, since something like that could be put off to the side, provide a “booth” experience, and make lighting pretty simple, and consistent- lots of bounce in a white tent. I’d seen it before at another wedding where they used a point and shoot on a tripod, and it turned out great. The tent didn’t happen for us, though. I didn’t bring a seamless backdrop either so
we I had to figure out a good location to set up the “booth”.
Given the incredible view of the Cascade Range from the venue (K & K Garden Estates), I decided that would be our backdrop…like, no brainer. The only problem was that the sun was in and out of the clouds all day long. While I could keep the exposure consistent on the subjects, the relative brightness of the background, complete with setting sun, was at the whim of the cloud patterns. Usually, the hallmark of photo booths is the consistency of the photos, but with the changing light on our landscape, these were particularly pleasing in their diversity.
Equipment-wise I used my 20D on a tripod. This is a pretty old camera in the context of DSLR technology. Pretty much does the same thing every other camera does, though, but maxes out at 9MP (for comparison, some smart phones blow this number away these days). I wasn’t planning on cropping anyway, and with the 1.6x crop factor on the 20D, the 16-35mm gave a good wide frame so we could really take in the landscape of the venue. Lighting was a single 22-inch beauty dish on-axis behind the camera about 7-8 feet high. (It was windy, too, so there was no way I was going to put up a softbox, but the BD was perfect…and I sandbagged the hell out of my c-stand.) I set a mark/boulder on the ground, pre-focused (and stopped down quite a bit), put the camera on the 10-second timer mode, and left simple directions on the “prop” table, which the bride took care of stocking. Note 1: White frames are probably not the best to use as they blow out pretty easily. Next time. Note 2: It’s a constant source of entertainment to watch people get in their poses and wait patiently for the 10 seemingly long seconds before the camera fires.
I’d say it was pretty successful. I checked on it periodically and made a couple exposure adjustments as the sun dropped. My only regret was that more people didn’t use it! It should’ve been a requirement that everybody in attendance visited the booth at some point. Here’s one in honor of the many faceless guests who never found their way.
And of course, more shenanigans.
The newlyweds. Yeah, once it got dark, we lost our epic background, but who cares, it’s really about the people anyway, right?
Finally, I already showed you in the preview post, but putting a couple of these together in a GIF makes for some pretty good fun. Just imagine the Harlem Shake for this one….
All in all, a great experience and some great photos. A little more work and gear to add to a wedding day shoot, but processing was minimal, so not too bad on the back end. However, it does justify a fee to provide the service, and it’s definitely something I’m going to offer from now on.