In June 2017, my sister got married. To help out with the wedding, I offered to make a photo booth for wedding guests to take fun selfies. I had seen a project guide in Make Magazine, and was eager to get experience using Raspberry Pi.
The project involved linking a Raspberry Pi 3, tablet, and camera with the Google Photos API. Guests tap the screen to begin a countdown, and four photos are taken in succession. Guests can then enter their email address if they want the photos sent to them; all photos were automatically uploaded to the bride and groom's Google account.
This project was a fun introduction to the Raspberry Pi computer, and allowed me to brush up on my Python skills while doing a bit of graphic design and hands-on fabrication as well. I largely recycled the original code provided by Make for the project, adding some code to change the look and feel of the UI and to take four photos at a time.
On the physical end, I designed the camera frame that housed the tablet. I created the camera graphic in Adobe Illustrator and had it printed on an adhesive-backed decal. I used the outline of the graphic to cut the frame out of wood on a laser cutter. I also modified and 3D printed a design for a bracket that attached the tablet to a stand.
The most important takeaway from this project was how to design a standalone interactive experience for an event. I'm happy to say that the photo booth was a hit, and that everyone from the flower girl to my grandfather was able to operate it and had a blast doing so. Still, I definitely learned some lessons. If I bring the booth to another event, I'll want to create a sturdier base. As the night drew on and wedding guests grew rowdier, the camera stand ended up taking a few falls. In this case, I didn't think about my audience enough. I would also want to re-tool the code to work with or without the Google Photos API, as the program currently requires an active internet connection. Finally, I would love to give guests the option to add custom captions or stickers to their photos, à la Snapchat.
Overall, this project was super educational and fun, and helped make my sister's wedding memorable for everyone. I'm looking forward to improving the photo booth for future events, and to building many more interactive experiences!