But. After having been to a million weddings, the photobooth thing is losing its chic novelty streak and becoming a cliche. Therein lies the question of the day: how does one make the old new again?
And you can add to this our issue which is that we are doing this whole thing on a tight budget and so any photobooth we have has to be DIYd because we can’t afford a company to come in and do it for us.
I’m not immediately worried. There are plenty of tutorials on how to DIY a photobooth and there are plenty opportunities to funk it up: provide costumes, like feather boas and fake mustaches, give mini chalkboards for guests to add messages to their photos, even just providing a funky backdrop. However, the best concept I’ve seen yet is the so-called Digital Photobooth from MVS Studios. Which is just like any other photobooth except that the pictures are taken as digital files which are then immediately printed for the guests AND the pictures are immediately projected onto a large screen over the event via a live feed. As more and more people take pictures, they get added to the slideshow which cycles through the shots at random. Brilliant (with the possible caveat that if your friends are anything like the chumps we know, they might need a talking-to about what kinds of things are appropriate to be broadcasted in front of your great-aunt as she eats dinner and what sorts of things are not). Not only does this idea give the photobooth its extra oompf that we were looking for, but it also solves a bit of a decor problem. If your venue has a raw, raw space–which many of the (cheap) venues we are considering do–nothing beats a really big image. Not only do big images give you maximum impact for minimal effort:
…but they also seem to me a better way of dealing with decor for a raw space. And by “raw space,” I’m not talking about a whitebox gallery or the charming romance of a rustic barn–I’m talking about Girl Scouts’ multipurpose room, basement rec room, not-for-profit meeting room. The kinds of spaces that flowers not only look sort of fussy, but–worse–also tend to remind you of all the things that such spaces are not. When I think about the places we’re considering, I realize that it’s going to be a trick to decorate them in a way that doesn’t try to make them into something they’re not. A photo-projection on one wall might be a solution because it has a cool industrial-contemporary vibe.
There is, of course, one teensy weensy problem with the MVS digital photobooth: the base price is over $3K and completely out of our budget. Yet. There must be some way to DIY this, right? It can’t be that difficult to set up a digital camera to a laptop with a slideshow program hooked up to a projector, right? Turns out–ta da!–it is DIYable, and here is one tutorial I found while tooling around from The Things We Think But Do Not Say, a blog that appears to be no longer updated as the last post was April ’09, but the instructions are still there. I should warn you that the instructions require equipment that will cost some money (albeit less than $3K) between renting a projector and making sure you’ve got the right camera and software, and the procedure is not exactly a piece of cake unless you are techno-savvy–but remember those chumps I talked about before? Well, our chumps are also mighty-talented. Perhaps yours are too.