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Lighting options for your photobooth

tips from the team at SLR Booth

lighting basics

Photography is all about light, and getting it right is going to make a huge difference in the quality of your photos … and the happiness of your guests or customers.

We want to work with improving both the quality and the quantity of light, and the angle at which light is hitting your photographic subjects. Here, you’ll find a handful of different options, increasing in complexity, that can help you to understand lighting and to improve your product.


ambient light

The easiest light to use is the ambient light in your room. Sometimes, if you happen to be doing a setup in a room with high-quality studio lights, or if you are outdoors during the daytime, this works. Usually, though, it’s just not enough light and you’ll get photos that don’t impress you.



onboard camera flash

If your camera has a flash built-in, you can use this. The problem with using the onboard flash is that you have a small light source coming at your subject from the same axis as the camera lens. This means that you will have unflattering shadows on the subject.


external flash mounted on your camera

A step up from the onboard flash on your camera, you can use an external flash mounted to your camera. Your light source will be stronger, but if you leave the flash angled the same way as the onboard flash, you’ll have the same issue with unflattering shadows caused by the light coming from the same axis.

To mitigate the shadow effect, angle the flash up so that the light bounces off of the ceiling and onto your subject. You will get a much softer light and won’t be dealing with those shadows in the same way.

external flash SEPARATE from camera

Getting the flash off of the camera body itself will further improve your lighting and shadows. For this option, you’ll want to invest in a basic lighting kit:

  • light stand

  • umbrella swivel

  • basic photo umbrella

The most common location for the flash setup is over the shoulder of the camera, and off to one side.

ring flash + external light modifiers

To really improve your photo lighting, a ring adapter for an external flash or a dedicated powered ring-flash unit will be game-changers for your photo quality. If you choose to use an external modifier such as a large light diffuser, you will notice a big improvement in your photos.

more resources

There are tons of great sources of information on photographic lighting out there, but we really like The Strobist blog.