12 07, 2016

What if…?

Watch for a big announcement in the coming weeks from the founders of Photo Booth Talk and Photo Booth Network (on Facebook).

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10 07, 2016

Creating or modifying photo strip templates: Part 1

Photo booth strips can be more than just a piece of paper with some photos - graphic elements add to the fun!

A booth strip with a small amount of artwork on the top layer, as it was delivered to the guest.

While many variations of photo booths create different end results, such as images distributed on social media or videos saved for the benefit of the sponsor, the primary output of your photo booth is still a printed strip. That’s a big part of the photo booth experience – the anticipation. The waiting for those pictures to slide down a chute and into your hands. The close inspection, the showing to your friends, the laughter.

Warning: Photo Shop talk ahead

There’s no getting around it. If you want to design graphics, you need to have some skill as a graphic designer and that means the ability to work with Photo Shop or one of its clones.

Can you skip this? Yes. Software such as the Breeze family and Darkroom Booth have the ability to do some designs entirely within the program, but you are limited in how creative you can be.

When you buy a template from the Photo Booth Talk store or almost anybody else, what you’re going to receive is a Photo Shop computer file. So you really have to understand this kind of program.

If you aren’t familiar with such a program, go find someone to help you.

Still here? Good.

Graphic images can be created and saved as several types of computer files, but we’ll be working with only three.

PSD (Photo Shop Document) files are the editable files in which we will actually design our layouts. You can change them as much as you want, add text and layers and special effects, and they remain editable. If you use the right tools and work flow, your images will not lose detail over many iterations.  PSD files are regarded as non-lossy. They will have names like “Chicago.psd” where the file name extension is “.psd”.

They can be saved with multiple layers, allowing subsequent editing of specific elements only. That means when you create a great layout your can add it to your library of stock designs. Offer it to your clients and all you’ll need to do is change the names and the dates.

PSD files can only be seen and used by editing software such as (surprise!) Adobe Photo Shop. Less expensive programs like Adobe Photo Shop Elements and freeware/shareware programs such as GIMP can also handle PSD files.

JPG (Joint Photographic Expert Group), pronounced “jay-peg” files, are a universally-recognized form of compressed image files. They can be seen by just about all computer programs and can easily be printed. They’re a flat file – only one layer – and can not have transparent portions. They will have names like “background.jpg” where the file name extension is “.jpg”.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) are a more recent file type. Like a .jpg file, they are flat. Like a .jpg file, they can be printed and seen by most computer programs. But unlike a .jpg file they allow transparency. So they are the best type of file for an overlay, for design elements that go in front of the photos of your guests. They will have names like “overlay.png” where the file name extension is “.png”.

The most popular type of design for booth strips can be reduced to 3 layers:

photo booth strip as it's being assembled, with an overlay layer about to be dropped onto the pictures.

The photos have been placed by the booth software, and now we’re ready to stack the overlay.png on top.

  • The bottom layer, often named “background.jpg”. If you are going to have all your custom details on an overlay, you don’t need a background layer.
  • The photo layer, which is created by placing the photographs taken during each booth session
  • The top layer, which generally has all the fun design elements – frames, logos, medallions, and possibly the names of the clients or sponsors. Usually named “overlay.png”.

On top of these layers, some software allows you to create easily edited “captions.” These captions might be details that change from one event to another, such as the name of the bridge and groom or the date.

One big advantage of using captions for the changeable data is that this process is done within the booth software rather than being done in a separate program such as Photo Shop. So if you’re at an event and suddenly realized the groom’s name is Kevin, not Kerwin, you can easily change it on the spot.

A disadvantage of captions is that they can’t have special effects such as beveling, following paths, metallic effects or other techniques possible with Photo Shop.

Each brand of photo booth software has its own way of handling your designs, and in the next chapter of this discussion we’ll go into that.

22 05, 2016

Reflectors, umbrellas and soft boxes

OK, I’m still talking about lighting. But that’s because really good lighting does more to improve your photos than buying a new camera or lens will ever do.

No matter what your source of light – continuous bulbs, LEDs, electronic flash – the light becomes better when it’s diffused, soft and big.

Umbrellas are highly portable but can’t be mounted inside a booth cabinet. Many boothers mount the flash and umbrella above the cabinet of a lolly-pop style booth.

UmbrellaIf the flash is facing toward the subject you’ll want a “shoot-through” umbrella. If the flash is facing away from the subject you want a reflective umbrella, where all the light bounces back toward the subjects.

And push the umbrella on its shaft as far back from the flash as you can. That lets the light spread out more, diffusing it and making it softer.

 

Colors:

  • White: A white umbrella gives an even diffused lighting effect with soft shadow definition. The closer to the subject the umbrella is placed, the softer the shadow will be. Thin fabric is also great for a “shoot-through” umbrella.
  • White/Silver: This umbrella softens and broadens the light output from any flash or monolight. It differs from a white umbrella in that it adds a specular highlight to subjects and slightly intensifies the light output. This is NOT a shoot-through umbrella.
  • Black/Silver: The black/silver umbrella provides focused lighting, along with soft shadow definition. It is especially suitable for bringing out structural details in materials. The black backing helps to keep stray light from escaping.
  • Black/Gold: The black/gold umbrella is an all gold reflective umbrella that produces a warm soft, wrap around style lighting perfect for single light portraits. effect.

There’s a big advantage in having the umbrella farther away from the subjects. For example, in having the flash pointing behind the booth and bouncing off an umbrella.

You’re less likely to have the people in the back too dark and the people in the front too light. That’s because the difference in their relative distance from the flash is less if the flash is farther back.

SoftBox

This ProMaster soft box folds into a small storage case about 10″ x 16″ x 3″

A soft box is an alternative to the umbrella. It mounts on the front of the flash (or the flash mounts on the back of it). None of the light is lost, it bounces around the inside of the box and comes out through the diffuser panel in front. It won’t waste light trying to fill up the entire room.

Disadvantage: you’ve got to mount the soft box fairly far back. If you’ve got an open booth at a decent distance from the background that’s OK, but these generally won’t fit in a closed booth configuration. There are soft boxes to fit both studio-type strobes and also shoe-mount flashguns.

If you mount your flash and its modifiers on top of the photo booth, it may get so high that you’re seeing major shadows when the guests wear hats.

 

 

16 04, 2016

Photo Booth Expo Special Extended – Join VIP Platinum Today

Photo Booth Expo Special extended for the next 10 new memberships. Join the Photo Booth Talk Platinum VIP Club for $50 off the regular price, plus get a flash drive pre-loaded with all 186 templates in our marketplace for just $249.  Offer expires on April 30, 2016 or when supplies run out, whichever comes first.

For more info, go to https://www.photoboothtalk.com/the-vip-club/

To all those who came to visit me at my booth, thank you. I appreciate all of you so much. xoxo

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24 03, 2016

The Official Photo Booth Expo Master Classes 2016

With the second annual Photo Booth Expo (PBX) only a couple weeks away, we are getting more and more excited.  What are we looking forward to the most?  Hanging out with our long time friends in the business (from all over the US and the distant corners of the Earth), of course!  But the Master Classes (MC’s) will also be a major highlight that just can’t be missed.  The MC’s are nearly sold-out (some are already full), so we thought it would be a good time to remind you about the additional educational opportunities that are available at PBX.

This series features hands on classes on some of the more interesting and intricate technical topics to help step up your ‘boothing’ game, and make more unique experiences for your clients and their guests.  Expanding across two days and featuring both technical and business class options.  Join industry leaders Conor Mongan, Mose James, Kelly Williams, Frances Foreman, Steve Bliesner, & Meir Israel in an intimately sized class setting where they will show you some of their hottest tips and tricks to making events great. The small sizes of these classes insure great opportunities for one on one questions, and mind-expanding ideas. Register soon, as class sizes are limited.


Green Screen Magic with Conor Mongan

Leading off this year’s course series is Conor Mongan of SUM Booth fame coming armed with all his tips and tricks to better green screen photos.  Whether you’re a kiosk boother or an event photographer, Conor’s techniques will show you how to get the most amazing results from the simpliest of lighting set-ups.  Learn how to realisticly compose photo layouts to make your images overwhelmingly eye catching in just a few short steps. Watch live as Conor demonstrates lighting techniques to help achieve dramatic results.

Class Includes:

  • 90 Minute Comprehensive Course with a 15 Minute Break
  • Complete course syllabus and teaching sheets/files
  • Green Screen Lighting Diagrams & Examples
  • Digital Swag Bag
  • Exclusive Sponsor Offers

April 11, 2016
10:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Instructor: Conor Mongan
Class Size: Only 5 remaining seats


Photoshop Tips & Tricks with Mose James

Mose James of OMG Booth fame opens his tool bag, and shares some of his greatest tips for making your print layouts stand out and create stunning branded images for your clients. Learn to get a solid grip on one of the most powerful editing tools out there while getting some hands-on walk-through lessons on how to achieve eye catching designs that reflect your and your client’s core branding.

Class Includes:

  • 90 Minute Comprehensive Course with a 15 Minute Break
  • Complete course syllabus and teaching sheets/files
  • Editable Photo Template Course Work
  • Digital Swag Bag
  • Exclusive Sponsor Offers

April 11, 2016
1:00 PM – 2:45 PM
Instructor: Mose James IV
Class Size: 50 Persons

 


Igniting Social Media with Kelly Williams

Navigating the seas of social media is a harrowing journey, and Kelly Williams is your fearless captain.  Kelly brings the entire FlipsideXperience to the table teaching on how to tackle guest engagement at high profile events, hot tips and tricks to maximize the audience for your client, and the best ways to translate Client to English.  Engage with Kelly as she instructs in the hottest up and coming trends in social spaces and app engagement, and learn how to become a sultan of social media.

Class Includes:

  • 90 Minute Comprehensive Course with a 15 Minute Break
  • Complete course syllabus and teaching sheets/files
  • Exclusive Social Media Survey Form
  • Digital Swag Bag
  • Exclusive Sponsor Offers

April 11, 2016
3:30 PM – 5:15 PM
Instructor: Kelly Williams
Class Size: 50 Persons

 


How to Love Logistics with Steve Bliesner

Steve will show you all the tools, systems, tips and tricks he uses to help run a photo booth business that does over 700 events each year. A practical class where Steve will take you through the anatomy of a job (from pre-booking, booking, event and post event stages) showing you the best way to kick its ass. Equally perfect for the smaller operator that wants to build their business for growth, or the larger organisation that wants to take things to greater places.

Class Includes:

  • 90 Minute Comprehensive Course with a 15 Minute Break
  • Complete course syllabus and teaching sheets/files
  • Digital Swag Bag
  • Exclusive Sponsor Offers

April 12, 2016
10:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Instructor: Steve Bliesner
Class Size: 50 Persons

 


Branding for Success with Meir Israel

Meir Israel joins the Master Class series once again with a very revealing class on the history of The South Beach Photo Booth Company, his secrets to success, and how ‘being the brand’ is the common core philosophy for his highly high profile company.  This specialized course will cover all that is necessary to brand (or re-brand) your business into the vision you have for it, how to create an effective perception of your company that stands out from the others, and the steps to take get your company racing to the top of your market.  You won’t want to miss this class on how to lead your market and command the highest rates possible in your area.

Class Includes:

  • 90 Minute Comprehensive Course with a 15 Minute Break
  • Complete course syllabus and teaching sheets/files & Meir’s 10 Do’s & Don’t of Photo Booth Branding
  • Digital Swag Bag
  • Exclusive Sponsor Offers

April 12, 2016
1:00 PM – 2:45 PM
Instructor: Meir Israel
Class Size: 50 Persons


SOLD OUT: ‘How To Corporate’ with Frances Foreman

Frances Foreman, VP of Operations and Partnerships for CTM – Parent Company of CTM Events and CTM Interactive, joins the elite group of Master Class instructors bringing with her the coveted topic of corporate event activations, and how to set your goals for attaining them, understanding their unique needs, and executing one-of-a-kind events.  This course will cover intricate topics such as how to effectively differentiate your social and corporate business, effective marketing strategies for reaching brands, and how to help stay relevant in an ever changing brand dominated landscape.

Class Includes:

  • 90 Minute Comprehensive Course with a 15 Minute Break
  • Complete course syllabus and teaching sheets/files
  • Digital Swag Bag
  • Exclusive Sponsor Offers

April 12, 2016
3:30 PM – 5:15 PM
Instructor: Frances Foreman
Class Size: SOLD OUT

 


 

Unfortunately Coach Frances Foreman’s class is completely sold out. But there’s still a few remaining seats open in the other classes.  Hurry up and reserve your spot now.

To find out more about Photo Booth Expo, visit the official site here.  If you still haven’t purchased your tickets for PBX, you can get them here, use code PBT to get them a discounted rate.