- 8 years ago
- Wedding: August 2010
I was a pretty active hive member about 3 months out, then work, graduation, and actually planning all the final details of the wedding kind of took over & I’ve mostly been absent! Now the wedding is behind me, and I want to try to post pics, reviews and advice to the extent that I can for all the future brides to be. I know one of the big things I was working on was the photobooth concept, so I will start with that!
I knew I wanted one, knew I couldn’t afford it, and was hoping I would have time to figure it out! Less than a week before the wedding, I finally tried some of the programs that I had bookmarked, and when I actually found one that worked, frantically started looking for a photo printer & putting together a background. It all came together pretty well (I’ll let you know about the glitches below too!).
I have a digital SLR camera (the kind with removable lenses), a good selection of lenses and an external flash. I knew that it would be at night, so lighting would be an issue, so I definitely wanted to be able to use my DSLR with flash, and a lens with a pretty low aperture. After eliminating the programs that are only for the Mac (since I have a PC), and ones that I would not be able to use with my DSLR, I ended up trying DSLR Remote Pro & it worked (ultimately) really well.
It has a pretty long trial–9 days or something, so I was able to test it out a lot before the wedding. I used it initially with my XTi, but I could not get the photobooth function to work correctly. I am not sure if it is a compatibility issue b/c the Xti does not have a live view function (although the website said it should have worked with it) or if the settings were just not correct how I had them, but it wasn’t cycling through taking all the pictures. It would take the first and then stop. Fortunately for me, my cousin has the newer version, the Xsi, which DOES have live view, and worked perfectly.
I was able to set it up with the external flash attached to the camera, with the lens set to about 20mm. I also used my gorilla pod for the SLR camera to stand it on the table next to my computer. Overall the setup worked very well. We tried it out a few nights earlier, and also measured the distances from the chair to the camera so that we could make sure that the final setup on wedding day was the same.
For the photoprinter, I was trying to find the one suggested some previous posts–an Epson something–particularly b/c it has said that it could be used to print 2 x 6 photos (the actually size of the photo strips). I wanted to cut the pages to those sizes and then have the program set up to print 2 sheets–one for our guest book and one for the guest to keep. However, that actual printer is no longer being made, and I couldnt find them for a decent price (the older or newer versions of it), so I ended up with a printer that would print 4 x 6, ended up having it print 2 copies on the one sheet, and then buying a little paper cutter for people to cut them themselves. I actually ended up preferring that b/c the printer didn’t print as fast as I would have liked, so this way they didn’t have to wait for it to print out twice, it just had to print once & the next person could go. I ended up finding a new printer on craigslist for a really good price (and no shipping!), so it worked perfectly. It was an HP Photosmart 325, and the print quality was really good. Printing was not instantaneous (I don’t think any of them are, however), but it was pretty fast. Using the HP photo paper really made a big difference rather than using the generic photo paper from Costco (which is what I initially had). It also did not use a ton of ink. One ink cartridge came with it, and I bought 2 more, but I never even had to use either of the cartridges I bought, despite having printed probably a minimum of 30 sheets…closer likely to 40 or 50 once I include all the practice printouts I made.
For the background, I ended up going with a black and white almost damask print. I bought it at a fabric store, and it was about $3/yard, I believe. I ended up with 6 feet, and I sewed it horizontally rather than vertically b/c I was planning to have people sit & wanted to have room for at least 2 chairs. I made a frame using PVC (cost maybe like $3) sewed a pocket around the pipe that is running lengthwise (think: shower curtain!) . It worked well, and the background looked nice. I am glad I didn’t go with a solid color.
For the setup, I had the cutter along with scrapbook pages (8 x 8 pages) stickers, pens, etc. for people to write notes and make up their own guestbook pages, then I stuck it into one of those albums that has clear sleeves and you insert the pages. I initially was going to have people use a single spiral bound scrapbook (since I already had one, and that is my favorite type), but then it would have been more of a logjam with people being able to fill it out. This way, people could each take a page and fill it out and not have to wait for anyone else to finish. I have to say, I loved the pictures and the comments and I have looked at the book (once I put it together) a million times and I love it. The only thing that could make it better would be more pictures!!
Issues: No issues with the program or the printer, but my cousin only had one battery for her camera (while I have 3 for mine–and they were not compatible). I thought one would be enough, but it kept running out of juice throughout the reception because it was constantly on and on live-view which runs the battery down pretty quickly. She would charge it for a few minutes, then it would work for a while, but it meant that people didn’t take pictures when they could have, and I would have had more pictures if it had more juice. I think also that it may not have been fully charged to begin with, so if I could do it again, I would buy at least one more battery, and make sure to tell her the night before to charge the battery. Same with the flash. It runs on regular batteries, and I had given some to her to change the batteries to make sure it was fully charged after all our samples, etc., but I don’t think that they were changed & fully charged at the beginning of the night. So, the flash didn’t totally die, but as the night wore on, it would not flash as brightly, and the pictures are a bit darker & the first picture was not illuminated on all the shots. So, really the only issue is making sure that you have enough power to last the night, either with back up batteries, or making sure everything is fully charged.
WHEW! That is a lot, but hopefully it is very helpful for anyone else who is trying to put together a photobooth for their wedding on a budget!