If you go into the Montreal Métro, you can still see photo booths. They’re not everywhere the way they used to be, but at the main hub that is the Berri-UQAM station for example, there is a photo booth. You go into it, pull the curtain. sit on the little stool, and mug for the automated camera until it has taken four pictures. Then you leave the booth and wait five minutes for your pictures to pop out the side. They’ve been around since before I was born, and I still think they’re cool.
There are companies that offer actual photo booths for events. They bring in a little box of some sort, and you go inside it and mug for the camera. These are becoming popular at weddings, and I have to admit they’re kinda cool.
I also offer photo booths, sort of, for parties and events. I did one recently at Fränzi and Scott’s wedding. So much fun!
Except that what I’m calling a “photo booth” is really a small studio on location. Lots of people do this, too. I didn’t invent it.
I bring in a couple of studio lights and maybe a reflector for additional fill, set them up in an appropriate spot with a nice background (I can also set up a back drop, but I don’t usually need to). Then people come and goof around in front of the camera! I usually keep it on a tripod, but not always. If there are props, so much the better. The lighting (and usually the framing) basically stays the same.
Sometimes someone will inspire me to grab the camera from its mount, get down low, and start hitting the shutter like it’s a model shoot. Why not!
We’re there to have fun. I do this when there are kids involved. They usually don’t fill the frame, so I get lower and closer.
I can bring a little printer with me and offer prints on the spot. Because I think a photo should normally be printed if possible, I like that idea. Even so, I capture the images in RAW format as well as .jpg (RAW is the format you use if you plan to edit the photo — you don’t print from RAW), which means I can take them home, make them even nicer, and put them on my website so people can download, make prints, or post them to social media shortly afterwards.
I wrote in an earlier post about the “empowerment photo booth” I did at the opening of my friend Louise’s Zumba studio. I’ve also done hallowe’en parties, fundraisers, charity events … I can do a photo booth anywhere there are people wanting to have fun making pictures without needing to take selfies.
I once tried leaving a cable release on the camera and letting people take the photos themselves (I had set everything up – they just had to click the shutter), but it didn’t work out so well. It’s better when I’m there running the show. And anyway, I’m pretty goofy and I like to encourage the reticent to join in.
My most recent
little studio photo booth was set up at Fränzi and Scott’s wedding, and we had a blast! They brought in some gardening tools and all kinds of children’s hockey gear (the theme was “hockey player meets farm girl”).
More pictures from Fränzi and Scott’s wedding, below!