13 04, 2017

Using commercial templates to wow your clients

Unless you’re a creative genius, you may find that buying (actually, licensing) commercial templates is a lot easier than designing them yourself.

But what do you get when you pay for a template? Here’s a sample description using the “I Heart You” template from Cherie Irwin. Your package includes Photoshop files to create 3 image layouts:

  • A 4″ x 6″ print with 3 photos: 2 small and 1 “hero”
  • A 2″ x 6″ strip with  4 photos
  • A 2″ x 6″ strip with  3 photos

and built into the template are some important instructions.

If you’re not familiar with Photoshop, you should know that it can save images with several layers of information. Those layers can be visible or you can make them invisible.

Let’s start with the top layer of this design template.

The top layer includes the terms of use – what rights you have purchased and things you can not legally do. The biggest “no-no” is that you can’t resell this design or incorporate elements of this design into another design that you then sell. Other than that the terms are pretty liberal – you can customize it for your customers, make some signs for your own publicity purposes, put it on your website.

And you also get a list of the fonts you need to customize the layout. Usually those fonts are available free from sites like “dafont.com” but the data sheet tells you the source, too.

The bottom layer, which is visible once you turn the top layer invisible, shows you the exact coordinates to place each shot your camera takes.

Most software prints 2″ x 6″ photo strips as 2-up on a 4″ x 6″ piece of paper. So you will want to enter information as follows:

All the images will be 550 pixels wide by 412 pixels high. For the left hand strip

  • image 1 will start 45 pixels from the left border, 60 pixels from the top.
  • image 2 will start 45 pixels from the left border, 497 pixels from the top.
  • image 3 will start 45 pixels from the left border, 934 pixels from the top.

And you’ll be entering data for a second set, the strip on the right hand side.


  • image 1 will start 645 pixels from the left border, 60 pixels from the top.
  • image 2 will start 645 pixels from the left border, 497 pixels from the top.
  • image 3 will start 645 pixels from the left border, 934 pixels from the top.


The middle layers  are where you find all the design work, and you can open up layer after layer to see exacly what’s there. And you can change colors and content freely.

After you have edited the names of your bride and groom, and the dates, you will make the bottom layer invisible and save your complete template as an overlay in the .png format. Why .png instead of .jpg? Because the .jpg format doesn’t support transparency, and you need the photos from each session to show through the overlay.

If you use Darkroom Booth software, you do not need to lay out 2″ x 6″ strips as doubles. The software can take care of the composite process so you can lay out your photos and edit your text only once

There are many vendors offering well designed templates. Personally, I like the work that Cherie Irwin does (she’s the one who created Photo Booth Talk) and you can see samples in the Market portion of this website. Belonging to the VIP Club makes a lot of sense: you get bunches of templates right off the bat and as new designs are published you can get those too.




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: Photoshop 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 Photoshop 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 Photoshop computer file, otherwise known as a PSD 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.

14 07, 2015

New VIP Club Templates Released

New photo booth templates are now available for our Photo Booth Talk VIP Club members.

July 2015 Release – Beachside Bash


If you haven’t already picked up the June 2015 designs, don’t miss them.  They will only be available for VIPs to download for free until August 15.


VIPs download at http://photoboothtalk.com/members/member.  For more information on our VIP Club program, click here.



15 01, 2015

Red Carpet January Photo Booth Templates for VIPs

Roll out the Red Carpet!  Our January Photo Booth Templates are now available for VIP Club Members to download for FREE!  If you aren’t yet a VIP Club member, check out the benefits of joining here.

Red Carpet Photo Booth Templates

VIP’s we’re also taking requests for February.  If you are looking for a specific theme, post in the VIP Club section of the forum.  We’re keeping a list of popular requests, so if we don’t get to your design request right away, we will keep it in mind for future releases.