How to create an incredible homemade DIY party photo booth

If you want something unique and fun at your child’s birthday party a DIY photo booth is the perfect idea! Your guests will have a great time getting dressed up and playing with different props before getting snapped with their friends.

photobooth ideas

Setting up a photo booth means you’ll have some great photographs of your child and all their guests on their special day that are lively and show off their personalities. There are lots of different options when it comes to a DIY booth so you can tailor it to suit your party and the style of photos you want.

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While you can hire photo booths, the DIY route is budget friendly and gives you more flexibility. When setting yours up you can keep it very simple or get creative making your own backdrop and accessories!

Where do I start?

There are a few items that you need to have in order to do a DIY photo booth – a camera, a laptop and a printer. If you already have these, or can borrow them from a friend, you’re on way to becoming a photo booth master!

1. Location, location, location!

You need to think about where the photo booth will be set up at the party space, whether you’re holding it at home or at a venue. While you want all the guests to be able to see it you also don’t want it disrupting your other party activities and it needs to be large enough to capture all the guests having their photo taken. Ideally the space should be 5 feet across.

If you’re having a summer party you could opt for an outdoor location – just be sure to have a back-up option in case the weather is bad!

Once you’ve selected your location you need to clear the space so you can fit all your equipment in along with giving the little party guests enough room!

2. Think about light

You want to provide as much light as possible to capture the best pictures you can. Pull back blinds and curtains and if needed add lamps to brighten things up further – you could even add coloured lights! If you’re operating your photo booth outside during the day then lighting shouldn’t be a problem, but do consider the position of the sun when setting up the booth.

3. Setting up your equipment

If you or a friend has a DSLR camera then this is perfect for the photo booth but any standard digital camera or even a camera on a tablet or laptop will work just as well!

A tripod is also a great idea for ensuring that the pictures are well focussed, consistent and to makes the photo booth much quicker and easier to use.

Depending on the style of photographs you want to produce you can also use specific photo booth software. This isn’t essential but software can give you the option to pair multiple shots and print them out in photo strips. If you’re using a digital camera or laptop there are pieces of software you can purchase and apps you can download if you’re using a tablet – some of which are free. If you’re going for this option make sure you have a play around with it before the party so you’re confident using it!

The photo booth will need to be operated by an adult during the party so rope in a family member or friend to operate all of the equipment and keep the guests moving.

photo booth strip over

4. Set the scene

Set the scene with a backdrop and decorations! You can keep this really simple by just using a block coloured wall or you can get creative and really reflect the party in the background of the photos – take a look at the section below for some fab backdrop ideas!

Make sure the backdrop is sturdy and will stay up. Against a wall is the easiest option but you could also hang it.

5. Throw in some props!

Props are part of what makes photo booths so fun! Put a wide range of props – from funny sunglasses to wigs – in a crate or box beside the booth for your guests to root through and play with. For some inspiration on what props to buy or make have a read of the section below.

If the kids attending your party are from a wide range of age groups (or if any adults want to get in on the action too!) it’s a great idea to have a bench or sturdy boxes that the smaller ones in a group can stand on.

6. The final product

Whether you’re using a camera, tablet or laptop you’ll be able to show your guests the photographs on the screen straight away. With younger children it might be a good idea to keep the final printed product to one side until it’s time to go home to avoid them getting lost or damaged.

If you’re using a piece of software it may already create a multiple shot collage that you can simply print out. If not then you could make your own template or give each guest a print of a single photo.

Backdrop inspiration

There are so many different ideas online for creating backdrops that reflect your party and style. Draw inspiration from these ideas but consider how each design might affect the time you need to put into it and your budget before you begin!

For the general background the simplest solution is to use a plain coloured wall. But if you want something more creative there are lots of different materials you can consider – such as paper, fabric, polypaper or canvas – that will give you a different look and benefits. If you’re on a tight budget think about what you or friends have in the house that could be used.

The backdrop will need to cover the whole of the photo booth space, although you can crop images after taking photographs to cut out any unwanted views. You also need to think about how it will stay up, for instance will you hang it somewhere or stick it to a wall, and this will depend on your location.

To make your backdrop look even better you can add in some decorations! From balloons to paper chains there are lots of different ideas. You could scrunch coloured tissue paper into balls and stick them on you backdrop to create a textured look or hang ribbons for a girly feel. Fairy lights or a large prop that will be in all the photos are also ways to make your backdrop look unique.

All you need are props

With the backdrop set up all your guests need now are lots of different props to try on and have fun with.

photobooth props (mustache, lips, the bow tie and cylinder)

You can purchase different items from high street stores – think funny glasses, fake moustaches, feather boas and hats – or make your own. Making your own props from paper is really simple and there are lots of free downloadable templates online – simply cut out the different shapes on thick coloured paper and stick them on the end of lollipop sticks for your guests to hold up. A mixture of made and bought props will work really well together!

Frames and signs are also an excellent idea to add some more fun to the pictures and encourage your guests to be creative. You could make some signs beforehand and include birthday messages and things like ‘OMG!’. Or why not use a chalkboard and let your guests write their own messages! When it comes to the frames consider how heavy they are and if your guests will be able to hold them up.

You can also purchase packs of photo booth props that contain a range of different items and are often themed.

Incorporate your theme!

A photo booth is a great place to incorporate the theme of your party if you’re having one. From the backdrop to the props it can be really simple to show off what your party is about and create some brilliant mementos of the day!

Take a look at these popular children’s party theme for ideas of how you could showcase your theme in the photographs!

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Little pirate boy

  • Pirate – Show you little guests travelling the high seas with a backdrop that looks like a ship, treasure map or is simply blue. For the props pirate hats, eye patches and swords are a must – you could even throw in some toy parrots and flags for the guests to wave. If you’re feeling really creative you could create large props like part of a boat or treasure chest!
  • Princess – Transport your partygoers to a magical castle by using a backdrop that looks like a stone wall and adding princess themed props, like crowns, wands and sparkly necklaces. These Disney princess hair props are perfect for playing pretend!
  • Superhero – Our favourite superheroes are known for flying, jumping and saving cities and by making a twist on the traditional photo booth your little ones can do all that too! Rather than having a backdrop that stands up have one the ground showing a city skyline and get the guests to pose on the floor. Throw in some capes and masks and you have some fabulous looking photographs!

The perfect gift

Handing out the results of your photo booth is a great alternative to party bags or favours and it’s something the guests can display and look at in the future while remembering the fun they had at your celebrations. If you want you could always pop the print outs into frames to keep the pictures safe.

Another option is to use the photos taken as your child’s thank you notes. A picture of the birthday boy or girl with each child and a quick note saying thank you for coming to the party is a fun and unusual way for your child to express their gratitude.

Beautiful young girl posing with red lips and white eyeglasses props

All of your guests are sure to have a great time playing with your DIY photo booth and looking at the photographs they have styled. They will no doubt be talking about it for weeks to come and want their very own booth at their birthday party!