DIY: Wedding Photo Booth

[Edit: November 24, 2013  After a few updates to Mac OS X, my photobooth isn't working with the few latest operating systems. I've decided to retire this photobooth project for now. I sincerely thank you to everyone who has offered their support and of course everyone who has smiled and captured memories in the photobooth. -David]

August 16, 2009: In the early stages of planning for my sister Helen’s wedding, we saw advertisements for real photo booth rentals–like the ones you see in the arcade! We liked the idea a lot, but didn’t want to spend the money (and why pay someone else for equipment you can use only for 1 day?)

We decided that we would use our Macs, Automator, and some brainpower to create our own, personalized photo booth that would function exactly how we want it to, cost little to operate, and be available for future special occasions!

I wrote an automator workflow that:

1. Prompted the user for their name (which was inserted in the filenames of the images)

2. took the user’s picture 3 times

3. arranged the photos vertically in a strip

4. displayed the photo strip to the user

5. printed the photo strip

6. saved both the individual images and photostrip pdf file in a folder on the mac

photo strip

Continue for more information and instructions on how to download…

After the wedding, we uploaded everybody’s images online to a photo album.

online album

the hardware involved:

1. MacBook

2. EPSON PictureMate Dash printer – prints 4 x 6′s which we pre-printed with designs the date of the wedding on the sides

3. “Photo Booth” which we made out of an old wardrobe frame which happened to fit two seats, and colored shower curtains from IKEA

To see the photo booth in action, check out this quick clip below:

If you’re interested in using my photo booth code on your Mac, you can donate & get the application from me.

Upon receiving your donation, I will email you the necessary files (usually within 12 hrs) to get your own Photo Booth up and running.

System Requirements: Macintosh running OS X 10.5 (Leopard) to 10.7 (Lion) with either a built-in iSight, or Mac mini with Mac-compatible webcam (UVC Device)

Note: This application is for personal, non-commercial use only. Use of this workflow is at your own risk. If you’re not comfortable with minor mac tinkering, I can’t guarantee that this is your one-stop shop.

questions? see the FAQ, then check the Knowledge Base, and if you still need help, @dabido on twitter or photobooth@davidfcline.com

Thank you to all those who have written about this

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124 responses to “DIY: Wedding Photo Booth

  1. Any chance you could share your Automator workflow for this?? :o)

  2. Pingback: Apple Bloog » Blog Archive » Found Footage: The do-it-yourself wedding photo booth

  3. This’s great. However, I’m a bit reluctant to put $3000 MBP out for public use. Maybe ideal for $350 Asus w/ hackint0sh. Thanks…

  4. @Rick @Wes

    I do plan on putting the application up somewhere, but I want to make a few more modifications to it, as it is still highly customized to our specific event.

  5. Damn, I so want to do this for my sister’s wedding (in two weeks). Great idea!!

    Do you still have the automator script? :)

  6. Count me in! I would like to see the workflow also!

  7. Pingback: Found Footage: The do-it-yourself wedding photo booth | Tech Daily

  8. David –

    I would love to have a copy of your set up with some instructions for customizing, etc., and I would love to give you a little something $$ wise for your efforts. Please email me ASAP.

    Rob
    Owner
    DMEP

  9. I’ll get in line for the Automator workflow if there’s any chance you’d share it. I’m getting married next month and would love to use it…it’s a fantastic idea!

  10. What they said.

  11. This is awesome…thinking about doing this for my brother’s wedding now. Care to share the automator script? :-)

  12. Pingback: Found Footage: The do-it-yourself wedding photo booth | Anthonyrobinson.info

  13. This is great! Well done, really smart.

    My sister is getting married on 9th Sept. Any chance you could email me the script (even in its rough form) so I could play with it and do the same thing at her wedding.

  14. I would also love it if you could share this with us. I’m actually having two weddings next month; one in Seoul, Korea (Sept 5) and one outside of Washington DC (Sept 19). I would love to be able to set up something like this for both. I think it’s a fantastic idea that people would love. My fiancee is moving from Korea to the US, so it would be a great way for her to remember friends at her big day.

    I’ve never used automater so it would be a nice learning experience for me as well. I’ll keep an eye out for it : )

    ~Paik

  15. I’d be interested in seeing the workflow too. My sister-in-law’s wedding is next month. Sounds like a great idea for a keepsake.

  16. Thanks!

  17. Great Job. Very cool. I’ve trying to figure out something like that for a long time…

    Please share. Thanks.

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  22. This is brilliant, such a good idea!

    But the automator doesn’t seem to be creating a PDF.

    Also does it print automatically?

  23. It prints to your default printer automatically.
    You may need to poke around in Automator to see where the files end up, and you might need to tell Automator where those folders are

  24. I just dl’d the script and I had to modify the directories since my laptop wouldn’t allow the script to create a folder in my root directory. It worked fine when I redirected everything to some folders on my desktop. Perhaps your zip file could include a directory tree that users could manually copy to their root folder and everything done would be inside a folder there.

    So…
    /ClinePhotoBooth/Snapshots
    /ClinePhotoBooth/Strips
    /ClinePhotoBooth/Images

    I modified the script and those work.

  25. Hey – this is awesome! I’ve thought about doing something similar to this with those Polaroid Pogo Camera/Printer but I like this a lot more!

    Do you know if there’s a way to set up an external camera (for better quality) to do the same thing.

  26. Thanks for the tip! I will update and re-upload.

  27. I tried many different cameras with the Automator Action ‘take picture’ but I can’t seem to find a camera that it supports! The best results were from using the built in iSight

  28. Is the automator action here? I can’t find it. And it’s not your your website.

    The donate link works. I’ll be happy to donate first if this is the protocol.

  29. Wondering if you had a step by step to get this working?

  30. Pingback: Found Footage: The do-it-yourself wedding photo booth «

  31. Hop over to the Donate button within the post and on the right-hand column. After donating you’ll be directed to the download link. Thanks much :)

  32. Great idea! I downloaded the latest version. When I run it, it asks for my name, after entering name and pressing OK nothing happens. What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks!!!

  33. Did you copy the ClinePhotoBooth folder over to your Macintosh HD? Not having the directories in the right locations makes it seem to stop after the first prompt

  34. Got it now, I still had 2.4, you snuck 2.5 in while I wasn’t looking :)

    Everything works, and prints print out on Letter paper. I looked at the automator script, and could only see options for US Letter and A4 in the ‘New PDF Contact Sheets’ step. How can I change this so it will do 4×6? And is it possible to add a graphic like in your example at the top?

    Thanks again!!!

  35. I haven’t found a way to force automator to print a 4×6; what it does is print to the largest possible paper size of the available printer, which in our case was a 4×6 printer. In the step where it creates a pdf, you need to leave at Letter size, because the following cropping steps are dependent of that size. If you want to tweak, try playing with the steps that print out the image (which is the image file opened up in Preview) Good luck and let me know if you are successful! It would be nice to have this friendly with an 8.5 x 11 printer. But for now, I’d recommend using a photo printer like the epson dash that I used. much easier.

    as for the graphic in the example, we pre-printed them ahead of time. we didnt want to get into Automator launching photoshop and applying layers!

  36. Is there any other Donate option? I refuse to use PayPal because of an issue with them refusing to refund me money on a fraudulent transaction.

  37. Unfortunately I’ve only set up PayPal to accept donations. I’ll email you the download link immediately following the payment. Thanks

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  39. @Dan : Learn how to read a post ..
    “Update 8/17/09 5:32PM: Please donate via the paypal button below to download the workflow. Paypal is having an issue with redirecting to the download page, so I’ll email you the application asap to your paypal email address. Thank you.”

    He has a problem with auto giving the link, so you have to mail him to get the link ..

  40. Not a scam, the email should follow in a few minutes, mine did…

  41. thnx kobayashi for explaining :)
    i’m just a college student, so i don’t have any fancy check-out software or hosting services. just be patient as i respond to all your emails with the link :)

    thanks again everybody. hope you’re all having photo booth fun today

  42. Bought and works pretty nice.
    just a coupla things that you may be able to clairify.

    Can you make the photobooth preview screen any bigger? it is quite small. I’m sure people would like to pose for their shots.

    is it a repeatable action? as you have to click on the automator robot each and every time. Be handy if it just went back to the name input.

    Sucks about the printer thing but I may need a new printer anyways.

  43. The preview screen is unfortunately stuck at that size;
    I’ve tried to figure out other options, but couldn’t come up with anything.

    The workflow is programmed to loop forever after each person; it may be stopping if your printer is not successfully printing(if it’s not plugged in or something)
    If that’s not the case and it’s still not looping, let me know

  44. exactly why… I dont have a proper printer hooked up! Buying the printer now!

    So how does it feel to be the most popular kid on the internets?
    (thanks for getting back to me in a timely manner)

  45. I’ve found this workflow to work really well if you follow the directions. The one thing that I really liked from your video but that I didn’t see here is the ability to create a custom background for your photo strip pdf. Yours has the date and some small design elements. I’d really love to see a short tutorial on how you implemented that (again, I’m an automater virgin). I’m sure it’s something relatively simple.

    Thanks so much for this though!

    ~Paik

  46. Oops, sorry, I missed #35 and your response in #36. Ignore my post!

    But again, I want to say thanks because it’s such a great tool!

    ~Paik

  47. @Alex
    it’s sort of exciting :)
    especially brought me some joy while i sat at work today in a cube doing IT tickets :)

    did you get the epson dash? its a cute little printer

    thanks again

  48. Very cool, would love to have the script for my cousins wedding but my paypal account is suspended. Gonna have to learn to use automater.

    Thanks for the idea.

  49. Oh man, if only I’d had this script a month ago when I whipped out my macbook’s photobooth app for my wedding! I still love the way the pics turned out, but this would have made it so much more like a photobooth.

    Is there a suggested donation?

  50. @Writtenbliss

    Whatever you feel you can contribute is kind enough. Thank you :)

  51. If you have a credit card, you can donate via paypal without a paypal account (i’m pretty sure that works)

  52. Will this work on a PC??? unfortunately I don’t have a Mac, aww.

    Thanks
    Cheryl

  53. fun stuff, I made something similar two years ago, but with the MacBook hidden out of the way, using a rear-screen projection, but I love the idea that you make these custom printouts. Some photos are on Flickr
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianus/tags/photobooth

  54. I am so happy for your success. What a clever idea! And your willingness to share with other is wonderful.

  55. Hi thanks for this I can’t wait to use it for our wedding. I was writing one myself and got stuck on the strip part can’t wait to see how you did it.

    FYI paypal is still not displaying link after donations. just your email address

  56. @Guillermo
    I emailed you regarding the download. Thanks

  57. @theycallmejane
    Thank you! So happy it’s gotten out there

  58. @cheryl
    Sorry! but this is a Mac-specific application because it is based upon Mac’s Automator platform

  59. Pingback: DIY Wedding Idea: Laptop Photo Booth

  60. Thanks for this – planning on using it for a party in a few weeks. If someone works out how to make the paper size default to 4 x 6 on a standard printer, then I’d love to know how.

  61. Such a great idea! Will donate right now….wish I had a lot of money to donate to you but I will give what I can. Thanks for sharing this with us all!

  62. Pingback: Our DIY Fauxtobooth » Weddingbee » The Wedding Blog

  63. Oh boy, you’ve been brought to the attention of Weddingbee – aka, thousands of crazy brides all planning their weddings. Most of which are probably going to desire your download. You’ve been warned :)

  64. @Jmo
    Bring ‘em on!!

  65. Can I use a PC? Or is it specifically for a MAC? Do you have a PC option? or will you be coming out with one?

    Thanks!

  66. @SarahB
    This script is based upon the Automator platform, which is an application that is pre-installed on Macintosh computers. Unfortunately there isn’t a simple way to port this over to PC’s. Thanks for checking it out :)

  67. I’m trying to do the same thing, but use a camera attached to the laptop and a remote for pics. Basically, I just want to set up the printing part. Is there anyway I could use this app for that?

    Thanks,
    Mary

  68. @Mary
    Are you using a Mac? I would just go strictly with this app! It is completely automated and requires minimal control from your guests. They only have to type in their name to begin.

  69. Hi, I’d love to purchase your automator but could you help customize it so it says our names?

  70. Thanks so much David! I donated and downloaded the files last night (the paypal button works now). My question is: Can you use this with any other 4×6 printer? I’ve called every store in my town and no one has the EPSON. My wedding is in 2 days and I need to pick the printer up today. Thanks again in advance for a response.

  71. Yes I have a cannon 4×6 printer and it works fine with that one.

  72. Dude, just wanted to let you know what a hit this was at the wedding I shot tonight! The photo booth stayed busy the entire time.

    I have a few things I’m gonna change about the way I set it up, but it was a huge success. Thanks!

  73. @Ty

    I’m glad the guests enjoyed it!
    Thanks

  74. Pingback: The DIY Photo Booth – and a call to couples to submit your great and/or money saving ideas! » VESIC Photography’s Blog

  75. Used this for a 21st birthday party last night and was a massive hit. One suggestion generally, I’d recommend setting your screensaver to display images from the Saved Images/Images folder: was great to have people able to see people’s previous attempts as they waited for the page to print.

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  78. This is an amazing idea! Will be making a donation and downloading the app soon.
    Question: is there a way to change the code and prompt the automator to print out 2 copies? My idea is to let the guests keep one copy for themselves, and we’ll set up a station next to the photobooth with a scrapbook and tapes and pens so guests can tape the other copy onto the scrapbook and write a message.

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  80. This is great! Thanks! I am going to use it in my wedding next year…I was wondering though, if you would mind letting me know how to add the graphics on the sides so I can put my wedding info?

  81. A brilliant idea, and well executed it seems. You seem to have earned the admiration of the folks over at Weddingbee.com. Let me tell you, if you’re still freelancing when my friends and I start getting into the whole wedding-planning frenzy that comes with getting older, you’ll have more work than you can keep up with.

  82. Pingback: TulipSociety » Blog Archive » DIY PHOTOBOOTH!

  83. I was inspired to play around with Automator after seeing this article. Here some additional thing I’ve come up with that helps solve/enhance the experience. My set-up is a little different because I wanted to use a Canon 20D to take the shots so I used the “Take Picture” function. 1 you can set a mouse button to open the application with a click. I set the roller ball (mighty mouse) to open my app. Having the wireless MM made it easy to place the GO button close to the subject. 2 I Set the desktop background to prompt the user to click it the preset roller ball so when the script is completed it’s ready for the next user with instructions to hit to button. 4 I had to make my own prompts with Keynote exported to quicktime running a 3,2,1 as the a “Pause 3 seconds” action simultaneously readies the camera to fire. I’m still trying to replicate all the nice things that the paid software has like live view. Right now all I have is a TV that I run the Video out directly to which is kinda messy and forces me to use 2 screens. Though I’d share. Thanks

  84. Are you still renting it out, attended? I’m in NJ and getting married in July. LMK.

  85. Christie Taylor

    Hi there! This is truly awesome. I admire your ingenuity and persistence in making the program work. I am interested in renting the whole thing for a wedding next fall, or if its not too crazy hard, paying for the app and using my own App. What do you charge for the full rental? Any way to add standard text across the top or bottom of every printed-out photo (to use as favors) Thanks!! Please email me at taylchrs@gmail.com.

  86. Thanks Dave for the great app for my wedding.

    I added a bit to it to make it a bit more nerdy though.

    I wanted to not only have the instructions displayed on a box while the program is running for the guest like it already has, but I also wanted it to be spoken. I felt it would make it more personal for the guests if both my fiance and I read the instructions to the guests as well.

    Heres how I did it:
    For each time the app brought up something that the guests had to read such as “Welcome to the photobooth…etc”, I recorded a mp3 file of both my fiance and I speaking it. For each recorded file, I placed it in its own separate iTunes playlist named 1,2,3,etc.

    In the workflow right before a prompt would come up or a textbox would come up, I would add these actions:

    1. Pause iTunes
    2. Get specified iTunes Items (select the playlist for that part)
    3. Play iTunes Playlist

    It would then play the recording in the background and then prompt up with the textbox or whatever and continue running.
    I did this for each part of the program.

    I also added the action “Get Specified Text” and left it blank right before the initial “Ask for Text (Greeting)” because it would put the itunes wording in the blank if I didn’t.

    FYI: I added the Pause iTunes part right before the first “Take Video Snapshot” because if a guest went ahead and pressed “Ready” quickly, there would be no point for the recording to still go on.

    For the last part where it says you’re all finished, our recording also said something like “thanks for coming to the reception…etc” to add one more personal touch to it.

    I hope this made some sense. I can tell already this is going to be a big hit at our wedding. Thanks again.

  87. I was wondering does this use the webcam in the labtop or do you have an external digi cam? Also, how are the quality of the printed pictures because I was wondering if it will look better with a digital camera or the webcam pictures look fine?

  88. Wow I am so happy I came upon the LA Times article because I am so excited about your program. I wanted to have a photobooth at our wedding but not pay 1500 for it. The fiance is going to be so excited. I do have a question before asking for a download link. Can I attach a webcam to my I-Mac g4 and use the program fine because I dont have a macbook or know anyone who has one i can use? Thanks!

  89. @ Jon S
    That’s great. I was thinking about adding sound queues, as some guests had a hard time hearing the ‘ding’ of the 3, 2, 1 countdown. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing

  90. hey everyone, the workflow has been updated to work with Snow Leopard!

  91. Thanks for the great program!

    I work for a non-profit called PACER Center and we used it for our technology center open house. I customized it slightly to be switch accessible since we work with kids with disabilities.

    Incidentally, I figured out a way to get my 8.5 X 11 HP printer to work. I don’t know if this solution will work for everyone but here is what I did:

    I only have a HP Photosmart C4400 All-In-One Printer and I couldn’t figure a way to get it to work through automator. So I went to the HP website and looked for the closest model of printer that they sold that only prints 4×6 (in my case I chose the HP Photosmart A520 & I didn’t have to download the driver because it was already installed with Leopard). I then went to system preferences – Print & Fax and double clicked on my printer to bring up the printer cue. When the window popped up I clicked on Printer Setup, went to the driver tab. From the Print Using pull down I chose Select Printer Software…. and picked out the A520 driver from the list.

    After I did that I ran the program and voila! It worked perfectly. I don’t know if this will work with other printers but it might be worth a try.

  92. What a great application! We run a UK based wedding photo booth hire company and have been asked many times for a more compact and cheaper alternative to our vintage booth – I think we now have the answer. Excellent work.

  93. I would like to say THANKS for distributing this script! One of my coworker friends used it to set up a photobooth at my wedding! Here’s a photo of my husband and I using it! Cheers!

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/28/4087042509_c649255935.jpg

  94. Photo booth use is becoming popular at major events because of the effect they have on people. People react differently to personal cameras, but almost always behave silly in a photo booth. You can’t have a better mood thansilly for an event where people are initially nervous and have social anxieties. With a booth, you can now buy “silly.”

  95. Thanks for the Automator script. My wife and I had a Valentines day party and the photo booth was a big hit. People really open up behind closed doors. One thing I did was open up Photo Booth so people could make sure they were positioned in the the frame before taking any shots and it worked perfectly. Thanks again.

  96. Here’s how to make an 8.5 x 11 printer on a Mac print to 4 x 6 (or any other size) as default:

    It will require Administrator access and User Password.

    In Safari enter: http://127.0.0.1:631/printers/
    Click on your printer
    Click on ADMINISTRATION, then on Set Default Options
    Scroll down to SIZE and select 4×6
    Scroll to Bottom and click SET DEFAULT OPTIONS

    To set your printer back to normal, repeat this process and select 8.5 x 11

    Changes require Administrator name and password

  97. Hi David

    Ive been playing with the Automator file for the day and have to say its wicked. I was trying to set it up on a parental controlled user, and was wondering which apps would need to be enabled for it to work correctly. I have enabled Automator,Image Capture, Preview, PhotoBooth, and the your application, and I get as far as the PDF creation, but not sure what to enable to go the full cycle.

    Cheers

    Al

  98. Regularly I do not make comments on blogs, but I have to mention that this post really forced me to do so. Really admirable post

  99. not only are you so sweet to do this for your sister but also to share your hard work with broke brides to be. Thank you!

  100. I really love this program! Thanks so much!
    I was wondering if there was a way to change what it says in the little pop-ups?

  101. Pingback: do it yourself wedding photo booth and wedding blog | Four Winds Weddings and Events

  102. Wow this is cool… wish I was clever enough to write the automator for it.

    I’d like to download yours, but first two questions:
    - would i have to print with yours? I don’t know if i want it to print or not yet.
    -how much is a reasonable donation

    Thank you

  103. Used the DIY photobooth for a graduation party and it was a huge hit! Thanks again!

  104. Pingback: Wacky Hacks » Blog Archive » DIY: Wedding Photo Booth

  105. Pingback: DIY Photo Booth (Mac Only) | MugShots!

  106. Hi. this Photo Booth was at our wedding a big hit. We can recommend this to all people who want to organise a party and willing to do some new and funny.

    However we do have a question. Is it possible to print the saved strips again on the paper size 4 x 6.
    Hope to hear soon.

    Best regards, Kor & Maud from the Netherlands

  107. Pingback: It’s A Snap: DIY Photo booth | PreOwned Wedding Dresses

  108. Very innovative and cool idea…. don’t you just love macs

  109. Pingback: DIY Photo booth Ideas: Shower Curtains « Bridal Rehab

  110. Thanks David! My fiancé and I love the photobooth and cannot wait to use it at our wedding! So easy to use. You clever guy you. We got the doubler prints function working and all is well! Thanks again!

  111. Thanks so much! The photo booth works perfectly and I’m pretty sure, my brother and his fiancé will like this present :)
    I really appreciate that you’re sharing your software!

  112. Thank you for writing this!
    I sent in a donation, I’m really excited to see how this works. I’m a student looking for some inspiration on how to use automator..

  113. im getting married next friday on the 18th of march and my fiance built this awesome photo booth but we were struggling to find a program that wasnt $$$$ so this is awesome.i hope my donation was reasonable cuz my small budget has completely run dry.let me know asap what you think and send me the program cuz i would be extremely grateful. thanks a ton.!.
    .mikhail.

  114. I absolutely love the automator.

  115. Pingback: Photo Wall: A Twist on the Traditional Wedding Photo Booth « Vintage Bliss: a Bride, a Vision, and a Budget

  116. Just wanted to mention that Jonathan’s comment (Jonathan | November 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |) above worked perfectly for forcing my HP Photosmart C4280 all-in-one printer to print on 4×6 instead of 8 1/2 x 11. Thanks to everyone!

  117. Hi, this looks awesome! But I’m wondering if you’ve run it on Lion yet? Thanks!

  118. FYI- The workflow has been updated for OS X Lion. Email me if you have any questions- photobooth [at] davidfcline.com

    Thanks!

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