Pictures are a huge part of any wedding day, especially for your guests, so there's no better way to help your nearest and dearest commemorate your nuptials than with a DIY photo booth. "Photo booths are a great activity or form of entertainment for guests," says photo expert Jessi Vance. "Not everyone is a big dancer, and a photo booth gives guests an opportunity to participate in another activity." But while booths are a hit at most weddings, they can be costly and often eat up a large chunk of your wedding budget. In comes the crafty, creative route. "My best advice for someone trying to create their own photo-booth station on a budget is that if the backdrop looks good, the rest falls into place. With a nice, well-lit backdrop, guests could just have a friend take a cell phone photo," explains Vance. "Couples can use a distinctive wall of the venue as a backdrop, work with the florist to create a backdrop, or DIY one with their wedding party ahead of time as a fun group activity." To ensure guests have access to their own mini shoots throughout the festivities, we rounded up the best supplies to create your own DIY photo booth station and save money along the way.
Meet the Expert
Jessi Vance is the owner of Tomfoolery Photobooth and a photography specialist with over 10 years of experience. She is also the senior photographer and stylist for Minted.
No matter how you decide to let guests capture their own images, whether it be selfie sticks or disposable cameras or enlisting the help of a pro, each idea will keep guests well-entertained, well-photographed, and buzzing about your creative photo booth station long after the wedding.
Faux Floral Wall
Fully-fledged flower walls make a huge visual impact but the cost of having a florist create one can run pretty high. Taking on the project yourself, however, can be affordable. If you want the real thing, you can cover a plywood board with natural moss and a scattering of florals or skip the greenery completely and have a deconstructed, minimalist vibe of bare wood and blooms. For a faux approach, take the same board idea (or foam) and adhere craft-store greenery and florals to achieve the same lush (or deconstructed!) look. You can also use a trellis for a fresh-from-the-garden vibe.
DIY Chalkboard Backdrop
Chalkboard backdrops can run the gamut from chic and industrial to whimsical and nostalgic depending on the font and style you choose. As for a canvas, you can roll in an actual chalkboard, have a chalkboard cutout made, or get some chalkboard paint and turn just about anything into the perfect surface. Add an interactive quality by passing out chalk and have guests leave little notes or signatures behind.
Polaroid Cut-Out Frame
Guests always flock to the sight of a photo frame to stand in and the presence of a border always seems to loosen everyone up. We love the customization of this with the newlyweds' names and the stunning copper and greenery-accented elements that were paired with it.
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Photo Booth Apps
Streamline the process of the actual photo-capturing with apps like Lumabooth or Wifibooth. These downloads allow you to transform your iPad into a photo-booth station with everything from timers to digital backdrops to layouts. "I think couples should focus on the take-away of the photo booth," says Vance. "The booth can be there for a limited amount of time and have as many or as few props and backdrop elements, but guests just want a nice photo to take home or post on social media later. That's what is so fun about it, reliving the night the next day."
Selfie Stick With Built-In Tripod and Bluetooth Remote Shutter
Set a selfie stick on every table and watch guests become mini photographers of their own, capturing moments throughout the night. Sure, you may end up with a whole lot of pictures of your guests' faces, but it will make for a fun time to review all of the behind-the-scenes photos post-wedding. You can also invest in a remote-controlled, Bluetooth selfie stick to act as a makeshift tripod in front of a decorative backdrop.
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A Glittery Backdrop
No matter what camera situation you choose, a photo backdrop that's worthy of gracing your guests' social media feeds is an absolute must. Add a shimmery, playful component to your photo-booth station or keep it simple with a basic white or ivory background that won't claim too much dominance within your reception venue.
Wedding Photo Props
Let's not forget about props, either. Turn any space into a photo booth with 2D props, which will inspire guests to bring out their silly sides for the sake of the pictures. You can take the DIY photo booth prop approach, too, by hitting up the craft store and making your own paper cutouts.
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Fujifilm Fujicolor QuickSnap Flash 400 35MM Disposable Camera
For the most budget-friendly photo booth alternative, go old-school with disposable cameras. Set these on tables—or even designate a separate corner near a fun backdrop for the ultimate photo shoot. Guests can easily snap pictures of one another, and you can get them developed after the wedding to see all of the fun.
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Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera
Instant photos from a Polaroid camera will be great souvenirs for friends and family to take home with them. Guests can also leave them for you as a way of signing your guest book (this camera has a built-in selfie mirror!). Either way, this is a fun method to get quick shots of your guests in action throughout the night that they can reflect on after the wedding.
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Photo Guestbook Sign
Take polaroids (or selfie sticks) one step further and create a designated selfie station. This acrylic sign is ideal for highlighting your selfie-taking spot, especially if the finished photos will also double as guest-book fillers. Have a few nearby cameras at the ready for wedding attendees to pose in front of, after which they can paste their pics in your guest book with a personalized note.
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A Vintage Van
How cool is this photo booth idea? Oh-so retro and vibey, we can't think of a single person who wouldn't be clamoring for a photo op in here. Shutterbus offers professional rentals for any events, but if you're not in the service area or are looking for a DIY alternative, just find an old clunker and deck it out on the inside with all the photo-taking goodness.
Let's face it, social media has become a big component of wedding photography and hashtags are the best way to see all the posts in one place. While you don't have to come up with a quirky hashtag if you don't want to, you will need to let everyone know what it is if you do. Whether on a chalkboard, in framed artwork, painted on reclaimed wood, or emblazoned on favors, be sure to showcase your hashtag signage near the photo booth for optimum exposure.
A Sitting Area
Perfect for a selfie station or as the backdrop of a photo booth, a plush lounge area adds a little something-something to wedding photos. Add furniture, rugs, lighting, anything to set the mood for more dynamic photos that allow guests to interact with the environment. You'll love the creative poses and scenes that will result.
Decorate your venue just as you would your home, with photos of your nearest and dearest strewn about. All you need is some twine, or fabric of choice, and some clothespins to decorate the space with your most cherished memories. You can even leave it as a blank space to start and have guests add the polaroids or photo strips that they take throughout the night.
Personalize a photo booth backdrop with a custom neon sign. Choose to light up your names, a favored line of poetry, song lyrics, or a catchphrase that speaks to your personalities and your union. Just be mindful if it needs an outlet and how to secure the fragile piece.
A photo booth set up need not be an absolute eyesore. You can create a statement wall or mark the area with something that both adds to the overall aesthetic and blends with the wedding style. This macrame curtain and its tropical frame is not only stunning but also a great complement to the natural surroundings. The perfect finishing touch to any boho fête.
Lighting is extremely important when taking photos and a photo booth is no exception. You may have heard that candlelight is the original filter, making everyone look their best, but a warm glow can be just as complementary. A backdrop of string lights will not only bathe everyone in a flattering radiance but will also add a whimsical aspect to the scene.
If scrapbooks aren't quite your thing, or you prefer a traditional guestbook for the event, you can still collect the photographic memories by having guests deposit them in a box for you to open later. "The photo booth at an event can be so fun for the couple or hosts as well," explains Vance. "They get to look at all the photos afterward and see a side of the party they didn't get to see that day. "
Residential styling has become a wedding décor mainstay. The quaint and homey aesthetic is a great way to ease guests into the photo booth with a sense of comfort and familiarity. These painted shutters are such a sweet way to frame the backdrop and add an elegant texture to the space. Plus, they're super easy to DIY yourself.
A Textured Backdrop
Friends and family will be back for seconds after posing in front of a pretty photo accessory. And who could resist a fluffy, textured piece like this? It just oozes fun. You can scour the digital sphere for similar backdrops in just about every finish and color combo imaginable. Or just pick up some streamers and create your very own.
A Floral Focal Point
"I love seeing florists working on backdrops," says Vance. "It can be so simple and so beautiful, a laurel of greenery, a banner of garland across the top, or even a couple of potted tropical plants can really elevate the feel of a DIY photo booth." You can either have your florist put together some lush focal points for the photos or go faux and get creative in your own way.
An Old-School Booth
Sometimes the lure of an old-school photo booth is hard to pass up. The sentimental charm is unequivocal to anything else, making the Kenwood Booth a party focal point and interactive experience all in one. If you prefer the DIY route, but without sacrificing on the privacy offered by the design, you can easily assemble your own construction out of heavy drapes (or wood paneling if you're talented in carpentry) with a fitted top for a ceiling. Just tuck a bench inside and et voila!
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"A couple can maximize their rental by choosing the right timing for the booth," explains Vance. "The best time to book the booth is after the dinner. The guests are loosened up a little and are ready to get in there and have fun."
Nothing helps guests shed their inhibitions in front of a camera quite like an arsenal of silly costume bits. From hats to wigs to comically sized accessories, partiers can don their very best—or worst, in this case—and really lean into the look in front of the camera. You'll be laughing at the photos and reliving the excitement for years to come.
You've got the booth, the backdrops, and the props. But how do you get people there? Chances are your guests might not even be aware of the designated photo-op spot. Enter, marquee lights. Beautiful and bright, no one will miss these babies.
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"Booths get the most foot traffic later in the evening so they're best placed towards the back of the space, as opposed to the entrance," advises Vance. "Having the booth at the entrance can cause guests to forget the booth is there by the time they are loosened up enough to take photos."
What better canvas for wedding photos than one that pays homage to the newlyweds? With a customized backdrop emblazoned with the wedding details, guests will never rifle through photos wondering when they were taken. Have the backdrop custom made to your liking or, for the ultimate cost-effective option, you can enlist the help of a crafty friend to paint a DIY photo backdrop on a white sheet with your initials or a fun pattern.
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Photo Strip Template
"Selecting to have a print-out option can get guests excited about the booth—they see the fun photos other guests took and want to get a photo strip of their own," says Vance. "It gives them a nice keepsake to look back on, and can act as a party favor. When your guests get all dressed up, they love the opportunity to get a nice photo with their date, friends, or family." This digital photo strip template is the perfect way to get the real photo booth feel if you aren't renting one. You can also find strip-shaped envelopes to house them as favors.
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Since guests tend to feel more comfortable posing for pictures when they're afforded a bit of privacy, photo booths are best placed out of the direct line of sight. To ensure everyone can still locate the spot and easily make their way to it after a few drinks, employ some signage to lead the way.
"My favorite trend for photo booths is minimalism," says Vance. "We are moving more into a trend of timeless props, like florals or even no props at all." In lieu of a full backdrop, we love the idea of soft drapery to subtly mark the spot and frame the landscape. You did choose that venue for a reason, after all.
A Balloon Installation
Balloons are quintessential to any celebration, but their presence doesn't have to scream of a children's birthday party (unless you want it to, of course). With a refined approach, a balloon display can make for an elegant yet festive frame to any photo booth backdrop. We love the enchanted, celestial aesthetic pictured here but you can conceive a design that fits your wedding theme.
You can DIY to your heart's content when it comes to setting the scene but sometimes the technical aspect of a photo booth can be a bit much. If you find yourself in this situation, leaving the actual photo-capturing to the pros may be something to consider. "The photos end up being beautiful, high-quality photos of your guests and we see clients using the high-resolution downloads for a really fun photo album of the booth photos, and even have seen the photos used in holiday cards or LinkedIn profiles," says Vance. "It's also the perfect solution for when your event photographer packs up for the night; guests can get goofy and take photos late into the night."
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