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Focus, Crop, & Lighting

March 24, 2016

Photo Quality, it’s one of the most important features a customer looks for when choosing a photo booth company. You can’t take a great photo without understanding your camera and knowing what settings take a great photo with your photo booth setup. Here is a quick lesson on how to utilize your camera to take amazing photos. 

What is ISO? 

ISO is the sensitivity of light to the camera sensor. The higher the ISO the brighter your images will be but may begin to appear more digitized. Lower ISO will require more lighting to not appear dark. 

Why do I need to know ISO? 

We have already optimized and tested the aperture and shutter speed setting for our photo booths. We found that an ISO of 3200 works best for indoor shooting. If your pictures appear too bright or people are glowing, an easy trick to better photos is to just lower the ISO. Some programs like the one we use have shortcut keys to let you do this on the fly, some you can change it on the camera, and some leave you stuck with bad settings. Lowering the ISO will darken your photos. This becomes particularly important when doing daytime events outdoors. Natural (outdoor) lighting can change in an instant with clouds and time of day and you may need to monitor a few photos to see if you need to raise/lower the ISO.

ISO too High
ISO Too Low

Shutter Speed 

Shutter speed is a term used to discuss exposure time. The longer the shutter is open the more light that can reach the camera sensor. The longest shutter time you should ever have is 1/160. If you went to say 1/80 your photos have a chance of blurring because the shutter is open too long. You can also lighten or darken your photos by changing the shutter speed. If your pictures are too bright (maybe because of the sun during an outside event) you can increase your shutter speed to 1/200 or even higher to lower the brightness. 

Framing a Photo 

A good photo booth photo is a tightly framed photo. The top of your customer’s heads should fit barely within the top of the picture. You adjust the frame by using the cameras zoom function. With DLSR cameras, you have to adjust the zoom manually with your hand by twisting the large part of the camera lens. DSLR’s make this so easy because if a large group comes in you can simply zoom the camera out and still make a great photo. It’s better than 1 permanent setting that only looks good for some pictures. 

Well Framed Shots


Not all surfaces are level. Chair heights vary and if your outdoors your booth may unintentionally be tilted up or down. Make sure your photo booth has a tilt feature for the camera so it can be adjusted to the situation easily. 


Camera focus is incredibly important. Generally once the focus is setup you don’t need to adjust it. However during some events, people will be compelled to touch your camera and may accidentally adjust your focus. You adjust a DSLR camera’s focus by adjusting the small lens at the very front of the camera. Generally you only need small twists of this lens to change the focus.

Mike Hansen
I've been helping people become their own boss for over 5 years. It's a truly fulfilling business that we're in. If you're in a job that is unsatisfying to you, then take control of your destiny. Be happy, be healthy, enjoy your life. Life is what you make of it.