Hosting an event anytime soon? You can install a photo booth for attendees to snap photos and print them on the spot. I should know--I recently built one myself. It's super easy, as long as you know which software to use, how to tweak a few settings, and which gear to use. Here's how to make it all work.
1. Get the app
Before you do anything, test out the app. Simple Booth basically owns this market, and they have a free version for the iPhone you can use to experiment. The app skips any cumbersome setup process and shows a big Tap to Start button that lets you jump into the photo booth mode where you see a countdown for the first shot. The app will do three more photos and create a printable image. You can customize which camera to use (front or back) on the phone or tablet, choose the delay time, and pick whether the app snaps 1-5 photos. I highly recommend the iPad version, which costs $60, because guests can see a much bigger live image preview. An Enterprise version even lets you track leads, post to social media, and run contests.
2. Mount the iPad
To mount the iPad, you'll need a standard tripod and an iPad mount. I found an Accmor Tablet Tripod Adapter mount for the iPad Air that worked perfectly. I don't recommend using the iPad Pro that has a 12.9-inch screen--it's too big and heavy. Just snap the iPad into place (the mount is spring loaded) and attach to the tripod. Guests can easily move the iPad and the tripod itself around for the best angle, although I've found most just sit in a chair and pose without touching the gear.
3. Configure the printer
Many wireless printers let you connect from across the room and print out a business report. Not all of them work perfectly with the iPad. I used the Canon PIXMA MG7720, which costs $140. Make sure you go through the menu and select the LAN Settings (swipe once to the right on the touchscreen). Pick your Wi-Fi network and type a Wi-Fi password if you use one. Also, load 4x6 glossy photo sheets in the first or upper tray, glossy side down. (The MG7720 has two trays, an upper and lower.) You can experiment with other sizes, but a 4x6 with four photos per sheet works best.
4. Go nuts on the booth itself
This step is purely optional. Your photo booth consists of an iPad mounted on a tripod and a printer connected to the same Wi-Fi network. That's all you need for the basic concept to work at an event, but you can customize even further with props like hats andsigns, build an enclosed booth out of wood, add tables and extra chairs, or whatever else you want for the guests. In my testing, it seemed like a simple approach worked best to avoid any confusion about what to do.
5. Start snapping
As long as the iPad and the printer are on the same Wi-Fi network, you're all set. In Simple Booth, after a guest snaps the photos, he or she just clicks a button to print, selects the Canon MG7720 and the photos comes zipping on out in full color. Again, guests can experiment easily with sizes, props, effects...and different awkward poses. If you don't want to have someone "manning" the booth, include a printed instruction card that explains how to load the paper in the tray. Also, if you have a lot of guests, keep some extra MG7720 ink cartridges on hand in case you run out.
That's it! If you follow these steps and install the gear, let me know. We can compare notes (and photos). Send me picts of your booth, too!