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Smile! Party Photo Booth Setup Deconstructed

The Party Elves: Photo Booth
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The Party Elves are here to tell you why you NEED a photo booth at your next party, mama. Really!

Really? I already hear you ask. Do I really need a photo booth for my ‘not even old enough to hold a camera’s’ birthday party?!

Hear me out, mama. Photos are quite cool to remember an occasion. And if you are like me, where I normally end up with blurry shots of the back of someone’s head, or a random satay stick photo (no, not in the ‘eat me I look so good’ Instagram-type way), a photo booth is a good option to consider. Plus it’s quite a fun addition to a party activity, and in our experience partygoers young and old love a little photo booth action.

Family photo booth prop

To Hire a Booth or Do It Yourself?

Of course you can hire a company who has all the bells and whistles (and cameras) to take care of all the set-up and paraphernalia involved. Hiring a booth mainly means an automatic camera set-up that is connected to a large screen and a handler to hit a button to take the photo. Of course props are a mainstay and the backdrop is an image that is superimposed when you take the photos.

These machines include on-the-spot photo-printing, and in some cases these companies share the digital images on an event web site for social media purposes. A few that I’d recommend are FourstopsAww Snap!, and Hello Stranger… But come on, where’s the fun in thatThe Party Elves have a few tips on how you can easily achieve a photo booth or photo corner for your party.

Read more: The Best Family Photographers in Singapore

So, let’s break it down. You will need

  • The backdrop
  • The props (and costumes)
  • The camera and all that other geeky stuff

Family photo at a birthday party


Don’t be daunted by the description of a backdrop. Most folks think of a stage backdrop and then don’t attempt anything. Think of the backdrop as an extension of your party theme. In fact, if your party table has a great backdrop, just move the table aside after most of the food is gone, and voila! An instant photo background.

You could also use a photo wall as a backdrop. This idea is perfect for those occasions where you want to share the year that’s been or important milestones, like this first birthday party that we did.

Photo booth props: Goodnight Moon

Or if you have some props available for the children to play with use those as your backdrop, like this adorable cardboard house and red socks that we used for a Good Night Moon party.

Don’t be limited by the need of a wall. Use the floor if you think you can make it work, like the photo backdrop (or floor scape) below that we did for a superhero party. Just make sure you set up your photo booth in an area that has lots of good lighting, which will help with the photos.

Superhero dress up

Other economical ways of achieving a dramatic look are to cover an entire wall with small blown-up balloons, or hang ribbons or streamers from a pole.

If your home or party venue has a textured or brick wall, make a quick cardboard frame and decorate it within theme and you have a cool frame to photograph people in. The best part – it’s mobile and guests are not limited to their backgrounds. There are lots of ideas out there for DIY backgrounds; your imagination is really the limit!

Props and costumes

Props add nice details to photos and are a delight to kids (and adults too!). The Internet is full of printables for props that you can stick onto sticks. Don’t be limited to fake moustaches and painted lips – look to the theme for inspiration. Handwritten catch-phrases or words for laughs work really well!

photo booth props from paris

Playing dress-up is a thrill for kids, so save those over-sized sunglasses, gaudy scarves an skinny ties for occasions like these – don’t have them? A trip to your local HDB toy store or DAISO will bring up wonders. If you are having a princess or royal-themed party consider hiring costumes for the party goers to indulge in some dressing up fun.

Place props on a table or stand nearby, or hang costumes on a rack so that they are within easy reach. If guests are really young, consider appointing a “prop manager” on standby to assist.

polaroid photos

Camera and photo printer

These days a decent camera is a given – even your iPhone will do. And photo printers are also relatively inexpensive.

If you are using an iPhone, remember you will need to download your photos to your computer, and then connect the printer to the computer to print your photos.

Alternatively invest in a Polaroid camera. These are great fun and you don’t have to fiddle with connecting gadgets – just click and print! A word of warning, though, the film for the polaroids does tend to get a little expensive.

Don’t have these gadgets? Rent them! The Party Elves rent out their photo printers, and Polaroid cameras can be rented from Rentapolaroid or RentSomethingleh.

We would definitely suggest putting someone in charge of taking the photos, so that the kids whose parents did a drop off will also get a photo taken. Think you are quite the tech savvy parent? Link the photos to a private Instagram account and guests can upload their photos straight away! That way, your guests who had to miss the party can also partake in some of the fun.

Now, say Cheeeese!

Featured image Pinterest; Image #5 via Pinterest; Image #6 via Polaroid; All other images courtesy of The Party Elves.

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