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:
- 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.
- Gather a bunch of fun props for people to try on, and then modify the settings to give them enough time to change costumes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.