How To: Set Up a DIY Photo Booth Using Your Computer (Free Software Download Included)

By: Bruno Nov 09, 2010

A DIY MacBook photo booth (use a colorful shower curtain or table cloth as a backdrop)

If you have a computer and a printer, then you also have a DIY photo booth just waiting awesome-ize the next birthday party, wedding, or celebration you attend. Some people think photo booths are lame or cheesy; I assure you, they are not. They're a ton of fun, help guests get to know each other, and make guestbooks great. 

Some friends of ours just got married (read about our DIY wedding gift for them here), and I wanted to set up a photo booth for their reception. It had to be easy (no work involved for the guests), print automatically, and take a series of timed photos in sequence. 

A little Googling turns up a lot of similar, but slightly unsatisfactory (for various reasons) solutions. To save you the hassle of wading through the internets in search of the one true DIY photo booth that will just work, I'm sharing mine with you here (see below for download/instructions).

What I came up with is an Automator workflow (read more) that makes the whole process seamless.

***Note: The software only works on Mac OS X computers. The approach will still apply to Windows or Linux machines, but you'll need to search for the appropriate software.

Just want the download? Click here to skip the details and get to the goods.

When you run the software, it:

  1. Prompts the guest to enter their name
    Prompts for the guest's name 
  2. Creates a folder specific to that guest
  3. Snaps three photos using the computer's built-in camera
    Uses iSight camera to snap 3 pictures 
  4. Saves the photos to the guest's folder (individually)
  5. Combines the three photos into a vertical strip 
    example photo strip 
  6. Prints the strip 
    Photostrip printing 
  7. Sleeps the computer, using the pictures taken so far as the screensaver
    Screensaver with photobooth photos 

Here are some examples from the wedding:

                   DIY MacBook photobooth examples

You can download the entire Automator workflow using the link below.

If you end up using this for a party of your own, please let us know in the comments (and include some pics!).



Click here to download the file


- A Mac running OS X 10.6.4 (Snow Leopard) or later, with a built-in or USB iSight camera
- A standard ink-jet printer and sheets of 4x6 photo paper 

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This is a great photo booth software for Windows that will let you do the same thing and more.

I was barely able to download the photobooth app due to security and after an hour of trying to figure out how to get and use automator, I've given up. Any other direcions would be helpful. thanks

no idea how to do what you're explaining


hi my 16th birthday is in 2 weeks and we want to do a photo booth. I have gotten everything to work except when it prints it only prints two pictures and cuts off, I am using 4x6 photo paper and i dont care if its not centered, but i would like to know how i can rotate it. Please get back to me ASAP

Thanks so much! The app works really well. Now, I just have to figure out how to position my computer on a platform tall enough for waist and above shots.

I also have the problem where the printer doesn't print. Any suggestions? Thanks

does not work in Maverick 10.9

Is there any way to alter step #3 above to use an external webcam to take the photos? I don't want my computer out in the open.

Hi. I'm using this on the newest iOS and when it goes to print, it is blank. Can anyone help?

Hi guys, check out our update to this post here:

I've just tested this on OS X 10.6 and 10.7 with no problems. For folks having issues, can you please post your problem and make sure to include the version of OS X you're using?

When its running, it quits after picture two. If it gets past picture two, it gives me an error saying something about a rotation problem and quits.

This software does something similar on the Windows platform:

I used the Automator photobooth for our wedding. I had to fiddle with it a little bit but got it to work quite well eventually (didn't manage to connect a webcam to take the pictures, but the bad quality of the photobooth has its charm as well) It was amazing and people loved it! Resulted in some crrrazy pictures :) Thank you so much for making this available!

Using my MacBook, I set up a photobooth for a 50th wedding anniversary.  I bought a powermate button and set it up to control my laptop so no one needed to touch my laptop. I didn't use curby as I couldn't get it to print. The photobooth worked out beautifully and was a huge success! In Photo Booth: File: Print: set Paper Size to a Borderless 4"x6". Set Orientation to Landscape.  Because Photo Booth is set to 4 up pics you will receive 4 nice size (photo booth) prints. Not in a strip, but side by side. Guests took two home and taped two into the photo guest book.


Hello I have a wedding in 2weeks and I have a macbook pro I am using with a canon selphy printer. I cant seem to get the format to be two strips that fill up the 4x6 pages... can you please help me with this

Hi,It all works well except the photo quaility is rubbish through my macbook pros camera. However, photo booth works fine out of automator. Any ideas? Automator seems to be compressing the photos for some reason. Thanks

Trying to use this program and everything works except when it prints, there is nothing there.  Pictures are being saved to the correct file so why isn't it printing anything?

I am having trouble using this? I can't figure out how to install it. Help please. :-)

this seems to freeze my computer everytime i open it. what am i doing wrong? I plan to use it at relay for life as a fundraiser. 

i tried on all my mac computers running the appropriate OS X and higher and it crashes on all 3.  Works sometimes but not all the time.  Good idea but wish it wouldn't crash.

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