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

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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Anonymous on Jul 29, 2015:

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

Tom on Feb 22, 2015:

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

Tom on Feb 22, 2015:

no idea how to do what you're explaining

Brooke Pscion on Jan 10, 2015:

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

sc on Nov 22, 2014:

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.

Anonymous on Nov 05, 2014:

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

Anonymous on Jul 15, 2014:

does not work in Maverick 10.9

Anonymous on Jun 03, 2014:

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.

josh on May 19, 2014:

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

bruno on Feb 26, 2014:

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?

Brandon on Dec 16, 2013:

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.

Neil on Nov 25, 2013:

This software does something similar on the Windows platform:


Aude on Sep 09, 2013:

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!

Tricia on Sep 03, 2013:

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.

gal who everything got dropped on on Sep 02, 2013:

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

Alan on Aug 10, 2013:

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

Dana on Jul 26, 2013:

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?

Anonymous on Jul 21, 2013:

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

Amanda on May 11, 2013:

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. 

Anonymous on May 07, 2013:

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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