Our Favorite Equipment for Additional Photo Booth Lighting
Our Favorite Equipment for Additional Photo Booth Lighting
Disclaimer: We use the Salsa iPad Booth from Photo Booth Supply Co
Photo booths come with built in lighting in the form ring lights or flash umbrellas. Despite this, adding at least one light source to your photo booth set up is practical and a great idea for improving both photo quality and customer experience.
Additional lighting is valuable on iPad and DSLR, DIY, and 360 photo booths. We are constantly asked what equipment we are using for additional lighting in our business, and we have settled on a one specific photo booth lighting setup.
What are the benefits of using extra photo booth lighting?
The primary reason for using additional lighting with iPad photo booths specifically is to add brightness to improve picture quality. We are able to provide more consistent lighting outside of a photo booth’s built in ring light.
Improving the Subject’s Face by Reducing Shadows
Additional photo booth lighting is often used in to help create a more flattering appearance for the subject’s face. Shadows are minimized, and wrinkles and blemishes become less noticeable with an additional light source or two . This can help your guests feel more confident in their appearance and result in overall better photos.
Extra photo booth lighting can add a degree of safety by making the photo booth area more visible. This is especially important if the photo booth is located in a dimly lit area. By using additional light, guests will be able to see the photo booth easier, know where to have their pictures taken, and not trip on cords or equipment. Additionally, we suggest using wireless lights to avoid tripping hazards as much as possible.
Faster Photo Booth Setup Time
Although counterintuitive, I find that additional photo booth lighting will speed up overall setup time. Being able to create consistent lighting, regardless of location or position, means the booth camera’s shutter settings will be kept consistent for each event. Otherwise, we need to constantly readjust the lighting every time natural lighting or group sizes change.
High Quality Photos
With additional lighting, we are able to create high quality photos. This is especially important when taking photos in low light conditions or when creating a glam photo booth like this one. Additional photo booth lighting reduce the appearance of and fills in shadows, and create a more flattering overall look in photos. When a photo is too dark, the subject will often appear grainy or shadows will overtake their features.
Better Lighting Coverage of Subjects
By adding more lighting, a photo booth can be placed farther from the backdrop and capture larger groups in one shot. Guests are delighted to know they can fit eight people in one picture instead of just two or three! Larger group shots are popular for any social gathering and certainly enhance the overall customer experience.
Ipad photo booths are marketed as selfie booths, allowing a small group of people in the frame. With extra lighting, you are able to market it as a photo booth that allows for the whole party to be in the frame.
Lights and accessories are essential in drawing guest’s attention to your photo booth. Lights and accessories are a first step to create an interesting and eye catching space that will show off your photo booth and backdrop. Guests and customers wanting to take pictures will not have to search a room for more than heartbeat to find your booth.
What Photo Booth Lighting Equipment Do We Use?
The links below are Amazon affiliate links.
Photo Booth Lighting Gear List
- Light source: Yongnuo YN360 III Photography Wand Lights
- Stand: Microphone Stand – Universal Mic Mount with Heavy Compact Base
- Mic Stand Adapter: Mic Stand Adapter 5/8″-27 Female to 1/4″-20 Male for Camera Monitor Tripod
- Light Batteries: Powerextra 2 Pack Replacement Sony NP-F970
- Battery Chargers: Dual Channel LCD Display Charger for Sony NP
- Gator Case Carrying Case
Photo Booth Light
The vast majority of iPad based and 360 photo booths come with a ring light built in. We find that a single on-camera ring light does not create enough light for photos and videos. Two wand lights for a iPad or DSLR photo booth and three to four lights for 360 photo booth lights work great!
Yongnuo’s wireless led wand lights are extremely lightweight, fast to set up, compact, and very bright. You can quickly switch from a color that matches the events theme to bright white light to create high quality images.
I like the wand light style versus a ring light because of how slim they are, which translates into a compact center of gravity. This is extremely important in crowds where people (and the operator) are prone to bump into lights. I have found ring lights to be very tippy and unstable, and stick out farther and catch guests shoulders.
I would consider wand lights an absolute must for an iPad photo booth lighting set up!
We use microphone stands with adapters to hold our lights. They are sleek, extremely practical, pack down easily, and very difficult to knock over!
Mic Stand Bases vs Tripod Style Bases
- Most photographers are familiar with them
- Lighter weight
- Take up more area mic stand base
- Can be flimsy or tippy
- MUCH more likely to be tripped over
- Better on uneven ground
Mic Stand Base
- Heavy and solid metal
- Bombproof and simple
- Small footprint
- Unlikely to be tripped over
- Very difficult to knock over
- Not great for uneven ground
- Spray paint makes it look brand new!
Important! – Adapter for 1/4″ Threaded Screws
Wand lights and camera gear use 1/4″ threaded screws, so we use this adapter to make the wand lights attached to the mic stands. This will allow you to mount:
- Camera flash or lighting
- Swivel ball head
- Phone and tablet mounts
The best part about these lights is that there are no ugly wires to trip over! Our favorite batteries to use are these two packs by Powerextra. I like to always have two backup batteries on the charger as well for longer events.
We find that one full battery is able to power a light for a three hour event. These are the same batteries that many on camera flash photography equipment uses, like the Lume Cube.
We have tried many battery chargers, and our favorite is this Dual Channel LCD Display charger. We have six of these in rotation and love the fact that there is a high setting for when you need to charge batteries faster. They are compact and hide easily behind tables or backdrop stands.
The ability to see how much charge each battery has is extremely convenient and the charge rate is outstanding. We have used other chargers that were flimsy and unreliable, and the Dual Channel LCD Display Charger is absolutely the best value!
How to Set Up a Photo Booth Lighting Set
Setting up additional light sources with a photo booth is fast and straightforward. We prefer to have our photo booth set up roughly six feet from the backdrop. Subjects stand halfway between the backdrop and photo booth camera and ring light.
We place each light fixture at roughly a forty-five degree angle to the subject and backdrop. The goal is to provide bright but diffused light evenly across the subject. If the light is too direct or causes a glare in the photo booth camera, I will move the lights to hit the subject at more of an angle from the side.
I prefer to have extra lights turned up bright and then adjust camera settings to match. Bright, evening lighting ensures that we can get great performance and photo quality, even with a front-facing Ipad cameras.
Downsides of Using Additional Photo Booth Lighting
There are a few possible downsides to using an additional light source with a photo booth.
Added Weight and Bulk to Photo Booth Equipment
It is unavoidable that more lights will add weight and bulk to the equipment you have to transport. The mic stand bases by themselves probably add twenty extra pounds! I would argue that the improvement to image quality is worth the extra work! If you are looking to get by on the bare minimum photo booth business setup, then additional lights may not be for you.
We use a Gator Cases Stand Carry Bag (linked below to amazon) to hold our mic stands and bases. It helps keep them together so you aren’t carrying loose items. We use the 50′ Gator Case because we also place our pipe and drape backdrop stand poles and cross bar in the bag too. If you are not putting your poles in there, the 42′ should be fine!
It goes without saying that led wand lights are not free nor cheap! If you are serious about starting a high quality photo booth business, then additional lighting will pay for itself quickly. Additional expenses can add up quickly and be hard to swallow. If you are wanting the bare minimum photo booth setup, the extra expense may be something you avoid.
Guests May Knock Lights Over
Guests knocking over lights is a problem that is not encountered frequently, but it has happened! If the event has limited space or a drunk and rowdy crowd then external light sources can probably be omitted from the event.
Despite any of the possible downsides that adding external photo booth lighting may cause, we at NWA Photo Booth believe that it is a necessity for any serious photo booth business!
We use the salsa booth by PBSCO
Our iPad booth of choice is the Salsa Booth. We have found that they are sleek, reliable and look amazing even with the additional photo booth lighting we suggest. We are 4 iPad photo booths deep with Photo Booth Supply co & absolutely recommend their booths. You can read more about their booths HERE that goes into detail about why we love this photo booth company.
Most iPad photo booths come with built in lighting, but are often inadequate for capturing large groups in low light with more space between the photo booth and backdrop. Adding at least one light source to your photo booth business is a smart and wonderful idea for improving both picture quality and client enjoyment. Please never hesitate to reach out to use with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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