The retro photo booth is making a comeback, and it's no wonder. It's not only a fun way to capture memories of party or wedding guests, a party photo booth is an amusing pastime all on its own. Guests climb in, strike a pose and voila, an old-school strip of photos emerges.
A number of party rental companies have begun offering photo booth rentals that include the booth itself, printing equipment and an attendant. Some even offer customizable backdrops. It's a cool concept, but it's a pricey one. A photo booth rental can cost $600 or more for just a couple of hours. A DIY party photo booth, on the other hand, offers creativity and flexibility at a fraction of the cost.
All you need to create your own party photo booth is a corner, a backdrop - a well-ironed white sheet works perfectly - and good lighting. You can build an actual photo booth out of PVC pipe and draperies (the how-tos are explained really well on Abigail Barnes' Paper & Cake blog), or simply pin up a white sheet. Hire a photographer to do the honors, or ask guests to take turns with a good digital camera. Then amp up the fun by providing great props for your guests - feather boas, sunglasses, wild hats, or props that suit the party theme.
- A Mad Men party could use cloche hats, fedoras, "pearl" necklaces and steno pads.
- A Twilight party calls for fangs, Volturi-style vampire capes, a prom dress, bridal wear, a sheriff's uniform and, of course, a wolf suit or two.
- Adorn the photo booth for a graduation party for a med student or nursing student with scrubs, masks and the contents of a toy doctor's kit.
- A 1980s party - which makes a great theme for a 25th wedding anniversary shindig - lends itself to leggings, wristlets, head bands and flouncy skirts; Miami Vice-style pastel jackets, popped collars and shades; or perhaps fishnet, fingerless gloves and a nice pointy, Madonna-like bra.
- A holiday party cries out for New Year tiaras, Santa hats and red feather boas.
- Or, for more inspiration, check out Paper and Cake's Etsy site, which includes downloadable superhero and comic book props, which might be just the ticket for an 18th birthday party. Zap! Pow!