DIY Wedding Photobooth

Yesterday, two of my friends got married, and it was wonderful. Back a couple months ago, Brandon and I were into our second Whiskerino [known to some as the Colorado Bulldog] when one of us, I think Brandon, mentioned something about having a photobooth at the wedding. I said, “I know I can pull that off.” Predictably, I procrastinated on actually testing it until 10:45 Friday night. I figured out how to get the images onto the machine, but I hadn’t fully figured out how to project them in a dual-monitor setup. But hey, I’m improvisational. Here’s a little on the setup and how I pulled it off.

The Setup

Here’s my equipment list:

  • Canon EOS-5D Mk II for my camera. I ended up using an EF 28mm f/2.8 lens, given the location I had to shoot. If my EF 50mm f/1.4 wasn’t still busted, I would have used that; my EF 85mm f/1.8 was just a touch too long.
  • Mac mini (early 2009, I believe), hooked up to the 5DMkII with a simple USB cable.
  • 20″ widescreen LCD for the primary monitor. This was used to house the software windows for the image capture and review.
  • Mitsubishi HC5500 LCD projector for the secondary monitor. This is my home theater projector, and yes, I was willing to partially dismantle my home theater for this wedding.
  • EOS Utility and their Digital Photo Review or whatever it’s called software. EOS Utility is what lets you run the camera from the computer.

EOS Utility would do image capture, pulling data through USB to the local hard drive. This kept me from having to use cards to do this. Also, I could use Live View to make sure the shot that I was looking for was there without having to check the viewfinder. This worked great when I would rotate the camera around to take shots from the dance floor. I set EOS Utility to dump photos to a specific folder. All this work happened on the primary monitor.

Over on the secondary monitor, I used System Preferences to change the desktop background picture every five seconds, randomly, pulling from the directory in which EOS Utility was storing photos. This gave us an instant photobooth slideshow without having to use Automator or AppleScript to automagically move JPGs [I was shooting RAW+JPG] into iPhoto and then do the slideshow there. That was a potential option, but iPhoto frustratingly wants to push its slideshow on both monitors. Dumb. Come on, Apple.

The bridge and groom loved it. My only sadness with it was that more of the attendees didn’t come by to have candid photos taken.