Monday, November 23, 2009

Blogger Tips and TricksLatest Tips And TricksBlogger Tricks


Photobooth with Pocket Wizards

Mark and I set up a photobooth in my living room for the 2nd Annual Wine & Cheese Party at my place last month. Before I proceed I should explain what a photobooth is.

Traditionally, a photobooth is a box about the size of a phone booth with a curtain on one side, maybe that's where the name photobooth came from. You enter this box, close the curtain, and give it some money and it takes a series of pictures and then processes and spits them out.

Today, people use the term to define a studio type setup usually with a backdrop of some kind with a flash. Using a remote trigger to fire the flash and trigger the shutter, you can take photos of yourself without anyone behind the camera. This is what we set up in my living room using a yellow backdrop and WL 1600 studio strobe shot through a 47" Octabox. To the right is a pic of Jeremy using the photobooth.

Since we hadn't done this before we had a little trouble initially getting it to work using Pocket Wizard Plus II's. We thought we would need one PW attached to flash, one attached to camera, and one in the subjects hand to trigger with. We set them all to the same channel but it just would not work. Finaly, thanks to Jeremy, he showed us how to do it but instead of 3 Pocket Wizards we needed 4. doh! We needed an additional PW.

4 Pocket Wizard setup:
1. PW for subject to trigger on channel 1
2. PW cabled to camera's remote trigger port on channel 1
3. PW on camera's hot shoe on channel 2
4. PW connected to flash on channel 2

Wow that is a lot of PW's for a setup! It worked and that's all that mattered at the time, but I kept thinking there had to be a way to do this with 3.

We had a Pocket Wizard meetup with Mark Wallace of Snap Factory this weekend and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to see if there was any way to do this setup with 3 PW's. I actually hadn't thought about asking about this until we were just about to walk out the door. Mark assured us you can do it with 3 and he assisted with setting it up right then and there to show us. Sure enough it worked with 3! We were so excited it could be done with 3. So this is how it's done.

3 Pocket Wizard setup (Relay Mode):
1. PW for subject to trigger on channel 1
2. PW on camera's hot shoe and cabled to camera's remote trigger port on channel 1
3. PW connected to flash on channel 2

In order to use relay mode of the pocket wizards the PW attached to the flash must be one channel higher than the other PW's. So you could use channels 2 and 3 or 3 and 4 of you want. Transmit mode on the PW's should be set to BOTH.

Here are a few shots taken with this setup. They were triggered by various people and not necessarily by those in the pic.


  1. I like the background colour. Cool post.

  2. Totally cool concept! Actually using this same concept for a wedding for the guest at a reception. It is a little surprise we both planned and it is cool to see you have beat me too it!

    Great work!