How to Build a Portable Photo Booth

How to Build a Portable Photo Booth! If you want to capture memories and make your guests happy, a photo booth is a perfect way to do it! How would you like to build your own portable photo booth? That’s what we’re going to show you in this article. We’ll give you all of the materials and instructions that will help get the job done right. You can then use these same steps for any future projects that might come up. Let’s get started!

The idea is to have a photo booth that can move from place to place and be set up nearly anywhere to take great pictures of people in their costumes. While this sounds simple enough, there were some challenges I had to overcome because not everyone has access to a magic closet full of camera equipment, backdrops, flashes, etc.

How to Build a Portable Photo Booth

Let’s Start!

The first thing I did was make some goals for myself related to this project:

  • Simple setup/takedown (This rules out studio lights and modifiers)
  • Portable (using tripods or monopods)
  • Enough power to take a bunch of pictures in a short amount of time.
  • Inexpensive

First I needed a way to trigger the cameras. Most studio flashes come with built-in transmitters but my research showed that they constantly miss fire or have limited range so I decided to go with something different. Pocket wizards are my favorite option for triggering strobes wirelessly! They are more expensive but are reliable and have a good range.

If you are on a budget, there are other options out there! There are some low-cost transmitters that will work with DSLRs but might not be as consistent as the Pocket Wizard. Any option will do if all of your strobes come with built-in triggers though.

Here are some examples of Canon and Nikon low-cost transmitters

I wanted a large backdrop for my photos. This project requires an 8-foot wide backdrop so I decided to make one myself! All you need is a roll of paper, scissors, and tape. You will also need an object to block the paper from going under the rollers when you are rolling it up at the end. I used a PVC pipe cut to size!

I went ahead and made an instructable for this part of the process so you can make your own DIY Photography Backdrops too, here is the link:

DIY Photography Backdrops

My final goal was to have a quick and easy set-up so I could take as many pictures as possible! There are a ton of tutorials out there for building your own photo booth but I wanted to keep this one simple and easy to remember.

Here is the equipment that I used:

  • Camera: NIKON D7000 (any DSLR will do)
  • Strobe: Dynalite Baja B4 400ws
  • Light Stands: Avenger A4030 with AC801 Super Clamps (found on Amazon)
  • All-In-One Umbrella Reflector: Westcott 28″ 7′ Parabolic Umbrella with Removable Cover

I chose the photographic umbrella as my soft light source because it is quick and easy to set up, easy to transport, inexpensive, and has a large surface area.

For the backdrop, I have a roll of black paper which is great for reducing light spill but if you want more control over your background, try wrapping one side in black vinyl or velvet! Just make sure it does not obstruct the lights because this will cause uneven exposure across your photos. 

You can use any kind of lights that you want for this project. You just need to make sure they are high enough wattage to provide even light over the entire backdrop.


This is an absolutely great tutorial, thanks for putting it up Steve! And the photos look great! I am really happy to see all the pictures side by side, and it’s even better to be able to do this with a single flash setup.

Thank you for reading this post…🙂

Note: Interested to know about DIY Photo Booth Lighting Setup? Read here.