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. 

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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!).

Enjoy!

Download:

Click here to download the file

Requirements:

- 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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Comments

Hi guys, check out our update to this post here: http://www.curbly.com/users/alicia/posts/15826-everything-you-need-to-set-up-a-diy-photo-booth-for-your-next-party

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:

www.rightbooth.com

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.

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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.

Will your program work if I tether my camera to my computer? Also, can it print double strips rather than one?

I am having difficulty getting the printer to print the pictures centered on the 4x6, is there anything I can do on the software side to help them?  Been trying to fix it on the printer side to no avail

When taking a Video Snapshot, is there a way to change which camera to use?  I have a logitech webcam hooked up to my Mac.  Photobooth picks this up as the default however your photobooth workflow does not.  I'd like to use this webcame vs. the built-in isight because it takes higher quality photos.

Please help! My wedding is in 2 months!

OK, finally got it to work EXCEPT printing. I want to use a photobooth at an upcoming event. Because I don't want my PC touched I installed a PowerMate button. Using iPhoto and the PowerMate button, in four easy steps I can take the pictures (4), view, print and delete. I like how Curbly will put the pics in a strip (something iPhoto won't) BUT how can I get the pictures to automatically go into print mode? Am I missing something?

Anyone who is running into the New PDF Contact Sheet error, extract this file and place it in the 'System > Library > Image Capture > Tools' folder and then try again.  I found the makepdf.app file needed for newer OS's and instructions a few pages down in the comments.

Today, I tried the above link Click here to download the file once again. Now, it forces my macbook to go into screen saver mode. What's up with your download????

I would like to be able to print vertically and two rows like a photo booth picture is that possible?

Would like to use this program for an upcoming party, however when I try the download this is the message I get:The action “New PDF Contact Sheet” encountered an error. I'm using MacBook OS X version 10.6.8

Hi I would like to use this for my daughter's birthday party, but my Dad wants to take the pictures not use the computer to take the pictures.  Is that possible with this program?  I really like the photobooth print out look!  I look forward to your response.  Thanks

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