Building a Wi-Fi-enabled selfie booth with Arduino

This photo booth has a vintage look with modern-day technology.

The first known working photographic machine was a product of the French inventor T. E. Enjalbert back in March 1889. While the vast majority of today’s photo booths are digital, traditional ones typically consisted of a seat or bench surrounded by a curtain of some sort. Inspired by those of yesteryear, a Maker by the name of “kitesurfer1404” has devised a slick, Wi-Fi-enabled selfie booth.


In order to bring this idea to life, the Maker used an Atmel based Arduino to monitor the state of the buttons and handle the LED lighting, along with a seven segment display and a DSLR camera. Beyond that, he implemented a Raspberry Pi to control the countdown, scaling, filter effects and processing, which can take up to 20 seconds per image. The Pi runs in Wi-Fi Access Point mode, enabling anyone with a wireless-compatible device to connect to the photo booth and view the images live on either a screen or projector.


How it works is quite simple: As a user presses the start button, the camera and four LED lights with low brightness are triggered. A countdown begins on the 7-segment display, where after three seconds, the lights are switched for half a second to a higher luminosity. At the same time, the shutter of the camera is operated by the Arduino. From there, all lights are turned off and the Arduino shares via the Serial interface with the Raspberry Pi that a new photo is stored on the camera. The Maker does note that there is still the possibility of driving the individual functions of the Arduino via the USB connector for maximum compatibility so that another camera could, as originally planned, be controlled by the Raspberry Pi.


To achieve that antiquated look, Kitesurfer1404 crafted a front panel made of finished and self-created pieces. He used Inkscape to design a vector graphic, printed it out on thick paper, soaked it in tea for several hours, and finally let the sheet dry for several more days. This gives it that faded, weathered appearance he was seeking. Lastly, each of the electronics were housed in a homemade box comprised of 10mm plywood along with a 35mm pole socket for the tripod.


Need a similar DIY photo booth for an upcoming party or wedding? You can find an entire breakdown of the build here.

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