Sparkbooth: Create your own photo booth with custom images


A few weeks ago I decided to create a Nerdy Photo Booth for live events, where people could take funny pictures with nerdy glasses and receive a nice souvenir of the event.

It took me quite some time, but I finally discovered Sparkbooth, an amazing (and bargain) software package that turned my MacBook Air into a portable booth. For $59, you get a professional-quality product that allows you to create custom backgrounds and overlays for your pictures.

People at my last live event were lining up to get their pictures taken, and I left the computer on the projector so the people who were waiting could enjoy the others’ antics. Here are five tips for making the best booth ever:

  1. Use Pixlr, GIMP or another graphic editing software to create the background and overlay so you can make one with a transparent background. Or hire this guy to create one for you.
  2. Gather a bunch of fun props for people to try on, and then modify the settings to give them enough time to change costumes.
  3. Think hard about the lighting for your booth. Your laptop’s webcam may create very grainy pictures in low light. I bought a small USB-powered light that I keep with the props.
  4. Figure out how you’re going to get the pictures to your attendees. At first I gave people the option to share via Facebook or Twitter, but it took too long and no one was doing it anyway.
    And I set it to automatically post to the Ask Beth Z Facebook page, but when I was testing it, I accidentally posted horrifying pictures of me in my pjs working late at night to perfect the booth! Frightening! (Luckily I could delete them).
    Finally I chose to simply collect email addresses and names, and I put all the pictures in one Dropbox folder after the event and sent out a link.
  5. You have to customize each photo template that attendees can choose, which is a lot of work. So I picked a nice template with just three pictures and locked it in. I wanted to make sure that the process was quick and fun, and that people waiting in line didn’t give up because it was taking too long.

 

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