The goal of SLR Booth is to let people take great photos and create lasting memories. By using a DSLR camera instead of the camera built-in to your mobile device, SLR Booth lets you take the highest quality images possible.
All About Light
Photography subjects, even in a photo booth wearing a fake moustache, want to look great. Most photo booth experiences are indoor, where the lighting is not great for photography. Photography is all about light, and the quantity and quality of light captured determines how your photos will end up looking.
The big problem with taking photos with a mobile device is that their sensors are tiny – a typical mobile device has a 1/3.2″ sensor with about 12mm of surface area, whereas a full frame DSLR clocks in with an 850 square millimeter sensor capturing about 70 times as much light! People look great, the pictures are beautiful, and friends (or clients) are thrilled.
Outdoors, where there’s plenty of light to go around, lighting is not always an issue. But indoors, especially at night, a DSLR has a lot more information to work with, and is able to produce images with much less digital noise.
These two photos were taken at the same time with the same ambient light, one taken with a DSLR, and one with the front-facing camera on a tablet. The tablet was using it’s F2.8 lens at 1/100 (ISO 800), whereas the DSLR had a F4 lens at 1/80 (ISO 1600). Even at twice the ISO (due to a slower lens), the DSLR gives a much cleaner image.
Better Light, and More of it: Enter the Flash
But there is more to great images than just low noise. Indoor lighting unfortunately is generally pretty dim, and standard overhead fixtures don’t produce a very flattering light either.
This is why camera flashes were invented – most entry level DSLRs even have one built in. By adding a flash to your camera you can take your photos to the next level. Learning how to use a flash properly is a big topic, and I recommend checking out David Hobby’s Lighting 101 over at the Strobist if you want to do a deep dive.
The key point is to not just fire your flash straight from your camera, so you don’t end up with boring flat light. You’ll get much more interesting and flattering light if you can bounce your flash off a wall or ceiling (if you have a flash that tilts or swivels), or diffuse it with a softbox or umbrella.