Thanksgiving is around the corner. It’s time to gather with family, friends and of course, our pets!
Thanksgiving is time for celebration and creating new memories, and what a better way to do with a fun photo booth? I just did one and it was very fun and very affordable to create. So I wanted to share with you some key tips on how to create a successful and fun photo booth for your dogs for less than $50.
- Location on your home
- A wall or DIY backdrop material
- Fall decoration
- Photography equipment: camera, tripod (optional), remote controller (optional).
- Props: optional.
- Gallery to share the photos afterwards
- 1 squeaker or noisy toys
- Knee pads (trust me, this will be your life saver!)
This is what I used for my own set:
Backdrop: I bought mine in Etsy but you can use a plain wall or you can also hang a white bed sheet.
Photo booth decoration: I used some vintage wooden crates that I already had.
The straw bales, the red leafs and the crown are from Michaels.
You can have the dogs sitting on the floor or if you don’t want to spend all the time on your knees, you can use a chair or a bench to place your pets.
I know that people really like props like faux moustaches, hats and glasses. I didn't use any of these props as it is hard enough to get the dogs to sit still with out the props. Plus, you’d see an arm coming from a corner. However, if you want to appear in the photo, then it’s much easier!
Now, let's talk more in depth about each thing:
1. Location on your home/space
Make sure that the space you choose is big enough to place the harvest decoration and for you to have some distance to take the photo. Ideally, and if you want to have this beautiful bokeh (or blurred background), you want to have the subject 3 ft from the wall and 3 ft from you.
2. The camera equipment:
A point-and-shoot camera can do the trick for a DYI photo booth. However, if you or any of your friends have a DSLR, better! DSLR are great to have a better control of the camera settings.
Since dogs and kids move fast, it’s better to have the flexibility to move around to frame the photo perfectly. But if you want to be in the photo or want this to be a self-service photo booth, then yes, you need a tripod and a remote controller.
This is the trickiest part of setting up a photo booth. Professional photo booths have fancy strobes to make sure there is enough light for a clear shot and no shadows. But since this is a DIY tutorial and the goal is to keep it under $50, we are going to use what we have around.
If you have a backyard, don’t think twice. Do it there! But make sure all of your guests have their photo taken while there’s still some sun.
If you decide to do it indoors, keep reading.
If you don’t have a built in flash in your camera or don’t want to use one, push your ISO to at least, 800. If you have a semi or professional camera, go ahead and go for ISO 1200, 2000, 5000! Try and see what works best. I have a Canon 5D Mark III and a 50mm f/1.8 that works beautifully at ISO 10000 (yep, pretty high!). So try different ISO and see what gives you the best result without much noise.
Another option would be to use a floor lamp and put it next to the camera.
If you want the blurred background, open your aperture up to f/2, f/2.8 if it’s only for one subject. If more people would like to be in the photo, close your aperture to f/3.5 or f/4; so everybody is in focus.
To make your life easier, choose Aperture priority mode. If you only have a basic point-and-shoot without aperture priority mode, you can shoot in automatic.
3. Shutter speed
If you are afraid of missing the moment (and trust me, it's so easy to miss the moment), and if your camera allows, choose "Burst mode".
You are the most important part of the whole thing! You want your subjects to look into the camera. Dogs get distracted easily, especially if there’s a huge and juicy turkey being cooked near by.
You want to capture their attention and what works best for me, is to have a squeaker in my other hand (right hand for the camera, left hand for the squeaker). If you don’t have a squeaker, you can use any dog toy or make sounds with your mouth (make sure that for this last one, you are surrounded with friends because it can look pretty awkward sometimes :) )
Time to share the joy!
Once the fun is over, it’s time to share the photos with all your family and friends!
The best way to do it is through your Facebook, so people can tag themselves and spread the cheer! If you rather want to send the high resolution photos to your friends so they can print them, you can send the photos via email or Wetransfer.
Here’s is my shopping list and how much I spent:
- Crates: Free. I already had them.
- Pine cones: Free. Found them around my neighbourhood ($2.49 at Michaels)
- Fall crown: $15 at Michaels with discount.
- Big Pumpkins: $12
- Small Pumpkins: $5
- Straw bales: $10 for 2
- Read leafs: $8 both strings (you can find real ones for free!)
- Metal basket and hairy cloth: Free. Already have it.
TOTAL SPENT: $50 (Mission accomplished!)
What will you do for Thanks Giving? Comment below and share your ideas!
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