How to Make a Photo Booth!

photo booth props

How to Make a Photo Booth!

My niece is graduating from High School in a couple of months and her mother, my sister asked me to help think of ideas of having a fun graduation party.

In the area we in not many grew up with having a graduation party that involved the graduates having a safe place to go hangout and have fun without getting into trouble or any other bad decisions they may make on that night. Well both my sister and I are from Idaho and the parents of graduating seniors and junior parents would put together a grad night for the graduating seniors just to give a safe place but fun party to be at. Sure many still made bad decisions that night but not at that party.

So anyway we want do something similar but on a smaller scale and besides most of the graduates will scatter right after graduation anyway. But you only graduate from High School once lets make a big deal of it.

So to another short story my sister-in-law recently got married and at their wedding they had a Clickit Booth. It had all kinds of dress up stuff and they took pictures. I personally would not be able to afford to rent one like that and infact they places around me that do have them range from $700-$1100 per hour and here my sister has a budget of $200 for the entire grad party including rental place, food and decorations.

Now onto How to Make a Photo Booth!

photobooth props

1. Get all your dress-up props.

We has spent around $20 getting accessories! I think we are done because the rest we will make ourselves! We have about 40 items and most of them are from what we had already to finding things at second hand stores, Dollar Tree and yard sales. The most expensive thing we purchased was a Chinese hat for $2.95. I recently added to my photobooth and found tons more of my props from a Goodwill Retail store that you pay by pound. If you have one near I recommend gloves when going thru bins to safe guard yourself from broken glass. Also make sure to wash and disinfect everything before using. I like this store because you pay per weight. Most of my newest collection I have paid anywhere from 11 cents to 25 cents a piece, that is a great bargain when you think about the wear and tear on items. I may have spent roughly around another $20 for props and display stands.

2. Make a Backdrop.

So mine may look ghetto but it works! I took 2 white bed flat sheets that I got from Goodwill for $2 each. I got a White heavy duty curtain rod for $3 at DAV and it is 10ft long! I had a poster floor stand that is 8ft tall. You can find these at Walmart for about $20. I got mine at staples on clearance for $2.50 but that was about 10 yrs ago!

The bedsheets fit great on the curtain rod and then just hang it on the poster floor stand!

I have since done a review for lighting and backdrops so I have my own setup now but you can find these on Amazon for around $40 depending on what you are looking for. This Backdrop support system is 10ft (just like mine) and does not include the chromekey backdrops, it is just the support system. You can use bedsheets on it as well!

As pictured below I do use the black chromekey backdrop behind the white one to help with pictures because they are very thin and see thru. I also use a white twin sheet for the ground because the floor drop is thin and tears easily. For the sake of the company I did a review for I will not mention them here, per their request.


3. The Camera.

Since I am frugal minded I say use whatever camera you have. I took my pictures at the wedding with my ipad and my SLR and both did a great job. My SLR is 6 yrs old (now 7yrs) and only a 14 Mega pixel so there are many everyday use hand held cameras with better pixels than mine and will do absolutely great.

4. The Softboxes.

Depending on where you are at you may not have the best lighting in the world to take some great photos. For example my niece is graduating mid afternoon so her graduation party will not start still dinner time so we will be indoors somewhere (our venue is still to be determined) and we will need to rely on extra light. To be very cheap you could use floor lamnps that are $7 at Walmart or you can make your very own Softboxes for about $20. Check out How to Make a Softbox. The quality of softboxes I made in my tutorial cost about $50 each onĀ Amazon.

As pictured above in my setup I have light stands and umbrellas as part of a review. You can find these on amazon for around $40, but the lights I was given to review are not the brightest and I found brighter ones at Lowes for about $16 for 2 packs. My camera is old and it has a hard time with low light so I needed the highest I could find.

photo booth accesories

So you are now wondering how much have I put into this photo booth we are putting together. Well the softboxes were made for things like this and for my videos with Moms Saving Money when I get around to them! So with what I have done with them I would say I spent about $4 for the booth to use them for this occasion assuming I don’t do many other things in between that will deflate the cost of use before then. We spent about $20 in accessories. We spent $7 in the backdrop. I don’t count the cost of the camera because it has been used to take over 20K pictures so it has been used more than its worth. So that brings me to about $31 for our photo booth!

And just so you know I picked up the tab for this so its not part of my sisters budget.

Topic: How to Make a Photo Booth!


  1. Julee

    I love this idea. I have seen photo booths at parties, and it never occurred to me that I could make one. Thanks for the nudge and doing the brainstorming. There are so many fun possibilities for this!

  2. linda

    Love this idea! Do you have any ideas for printing out instant pictures to hand out? I want to do this for a school fundraiser and want to be able to print out the long pics, like you get from a real photobooth. Any suggestions for that and for a app or software to make them even more fun with borders?

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