How To Photo Booth

“Photo Booth” has become more popular recently, and is a great way to get fun photos at formal events such as Weddings, 21st Birthday Parties, Engagemnent Parties, and so on.

In the olden days, and for some events, there is an actual closed curtained off Booth where the photos can be taken, but this is expensive to set up and takes up a lot of space at a party or venue.

Photos can also be immediately Printed out and glued into a Guest Book, and a message written next to them.

Other times, Photos are just taken out in the open, or in front of a Curtain or Backdrop of some kind.

Before the photos are taken, people “Dress Up” in either Cardboard Disguises held on sticks, along with Speech Bubbles; and/or in cheap fancy dress props.


Cardboard Props Only Photo Booth

Photos by Passy How To Photo Booth 01

Shown above is a photo of this type of Cardboard Props only “Photo Booth”.

The Cardboard Props and Speech Bubbles can be purchased Online, but often need to be assembled.

Attaching the flat cardboard props to the sticks can be best done using a hot glue gun, but if you do not have one, just use normal glue and meshed gaffa tape.

If we are printing out props from PDFs from the Internet, then we need to make the speech bubbles text reasonably large.

Eg. Enlarge the images on a colour photocopier first.

We then cut out a photocopied image roughly, and then glue it onto either the foam bottom of a meat tray, or the hard plastic cover of an old display book.

Once it is glued onto the backing, we then cut it out properly and attach it to the stick.

A great place to buy some pre-made Photo Booth props which are a good size are “TYPO” paper products shops in major shopping centres.

Photos by Passy How To Photo Booth 02


Curtain Background Photo Booth

Photos by Passy How To Photo Booth 03

In this type of Photo Booth we have people pose in front of a backdrop, such as a blue curtain as shown in the picture above.

Also note the use of a Blackboard Speech bubble. These can be purchased, or made out of plywood, and they are great for people to add their own Personal Messages.

For our curtain setup we purchased a premade blue curtain with large ring holes already in it, and we hang it on an aluminium tent poles frame lent up against a wall.

The frame is actually part of a cabin tent we own, and has adjustable leg height. We also run Gaffa tape along the pole insertion joins so they cannot pop undone.

Photos by Passy How To Photo Booth 04

It needs to be steadied with Gaffa Tape, and/or sand bags placed at the base around the legs.

Note that around 3 meters of wall space is required for the curtain, even though it is only around 2.5 meters wide.

For backgrounds it is important to use a non-reflective cloth background. If you use a plastic stick up background, or a Poster you have made, there is a significant risk that there will be falsh reflection off it which is impossible to remove in Photoshop later on.


Photo Booth Dress Up Props

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These can be purchased at $2 Shops, Op Shops, Party Shops, and eBay. It takes a bit of shopping around to find the right ones.

The more colour the better, and Mexican Hats, Police Hats, and giant Fake Gold Rapper Bling are great items to have in your kit.

Hawaiian Flower dress ups are also very cheap on eBay and make for good fun.

For our Booth, we also obtained some toy guns and giant Mexican Gringo Moustaches at a Party Costume Shop.

A Fold up table and some boxes are also needed at the Party to put the props into. Shoe Boxes are good for storing props, because the removable lids can be used to display props in as well as the shoe box.

Something which is very important is to have the host of the Party give you a Money Deposit for the Props in case any go missing, as will sometimes be the case.

It is not so much the dollar value of the stolen props which is annoying, but the inconvenience and personal time running around to a number of shops to find replacements.

A good idea is to have some spare props in reserve at home, in case items go missing, and you have another function to do in the near future.


Chroma Key Photo Booth

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Chroma Keying involves filming or taking pictures with a special bright Green or Blue cloth background which is non reflective.

The idea is to get a consistent background color that is not likely to be found in any skin tones, so Green and Blue are best.

Green is probably the best, because people do not wear any green clothing usually, and so the background can be easily removed in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Fireworks using the Magic Wand tool.

Our approach is not exactly professional, as we use a Blue Curtain, with fold/creases in it which is not professionally lit up, and not a uniform color because of the darker curtain folds.

The reason for us doing this is mainly Economy, as well as dual purpose functionality, where we can also use the blue curtain as a background for “Photo Frame” pictures like this one.

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Note that it helps not to have people directly up against the curtain. Try and get them to stand around one meter or so forward of the curtain which minimises getting any blue glow onto them around their edges and hair.


The following video shows how to do Chroma Key background removal with a smooth green backdrop.

This video also demonstrates the use of “Photokey 5” Software for removing the Green background, and then inserting a different background.

“Photokey 5” software looks like it does a good job, but the same thing can be done with the Magic Wand and Eraser Tools in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Fireworks.


For our Background Removal, and Replacement, we use Adobe Fireworks, simply because we find it quicker and easier to use than Photoshop.

However, if you want to do the same thing in Photoshop, then here is a great three minute video (with some annoying dub step background music) on how to do this.


Removal of Blue Background Curtain

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This is the original picture taken with the Blue Curtain Backdrop as it was straight out of the Camera.

We took this picture into Adobe Fireworks, and removed the background curtain and surrounds using the Magic Wand and the Eraser Tool, to create the following .PNG file clear background picture.

Photos by Passy How To Photo Booth 09

The next step was to create a new layer in Fireworks, and then File > Import onto this layer, a new background image, (in this case some Party Streamers).

We then made a separate Photo Frame in Fireworks, using the Criss Cross Gradient with a Texture added into it. This frame was then imported as a new layer into our composite picture.

Flattening all the layers, and saving it as a JPG file then resulted in this as our final Photo Booth Image:

Photos by Passy How To Photo Booth 10


Problems With Blue Items

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Removing the Blue Background from the original of this image was a problem because of the Blue Police Cap, as well as the Blue hue in the dress.

The trick here was to first use the eraser tool to carefully rub out around the cap and the dress, so that the Magic wand would not be able to reach them and remove any of their blue colour.

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We were then able to use the Magic Wand to remove the remaining blue and grey in the background, and add in the night city background which we purchased from “123RF” to make the completed picture shown previously.


Background Images

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It is quite cheap to buy some medium sized stock images from companies such as “123RF”, “Dreamstime”, “Getty Images”, or “Istock”, and use these as your Background Images.

If you just grab some backgrounds from Google Images, there is always the risk that you should have paid for them, and there will be a resulting infringing on Copyright.

A person has taken the time to make the Background image, and so it is only fair that they should be paid something for it.

So if you are posting Photo Booth pictures to the web which contain background images, you should purchase these background images to make sure everything is legal.


Photo Booth Sample Pictures

To see a full Album of Photo Booth Pictures we did for a 21st Party, Click the following link:

Photo Booth Pictures Album


Videos About Chroma Keying

The following eleven ninute Video is all about Green Screen Tips and Setup.


For pictures taken using an unlit Green or Blue Curtain backdrop, Photoshop can be used to remove the Green or Blue background colour.

The way we did this for our photos was to use the Magic Wand to get rid of most of the blue, and then zoom in and use the Eraser tool to remove the dark parts in the curtain folds and so on.


If you want to be a perfectionist on the removal of the background colour, (and deal with background green or blue being behind the edges of long hair), then watch the following twenty minute video on how to do this in Photoshop.


The following video shows how to cheaply light a green screen with shop flourescents at placed at 45 degrees on the left and right.


And while we are looking at cutting setup costs, here is a Video on how to make an ultra cheap Green Screen using Green Poster Paper:


Rather than replacing the Green background image, we can change its color in Photoshop.

This is an interesting way to create a bit of variety in a set of Photo Booth pictures, and one we will definitely try out sometime.

Here is a video showing how to change the green color of the background to other colors using Hue and Saturation:



Hire Us for Photo Booth

Photos By Passy would be delighted to do a Photo Booth for you at your Party, Wedding, or Function.

We supply all the props and can make some great fun chroma keyed images for you to post on social media and anywhere else online.

Get in touch using the “Contact” link on our website.




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