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This application is supposed to run on a linux machine which is connected to a gphoto supported camera (list).

I've build it to run on a Raspberry Pi with openSUSE/Raspbian (Debian), connected to a Nikon D60 camera. See below for install instructions.

The Angular.js frontend uses a Ruby on Rails server on the backend to trigger and process the pictures. Any tablet or notebook with a web-browser connected to the same wifi as the raspi will work as a screen.

LEDs can get connected to the Raspberry Pi's gpio ports. It uses port 23 for 'ready', the ports 4,5,6,17 for picture 1-4 and port 24 for 'image processing'.

By default, the UI runs in read-only mode (no 'take a picture' and 'delete' buttons), so that you can share the url with the users that are connected to the same wifi. So they can directly download and share the pictures with their mobile phones.

To load the UI in record (photobooth) mode, open it like this: http://<ip>/?rw/
To show the UI, there is an automatically deployed instance running on Heroku (no camera connected...).

Hardware Setup

The general hardware setup looks like this:

                                      |              |
                                      |    Camera    |
                                      |              |
                                   USB Cable |
                                             | gphoto library                                   
+--------------------+               +-------v------------+                               
|                    |               |                    |
|  Tablet /Notebook  |     Wifi      | Photobooth server  |
|    with Browser    +-------------> | (eg. Raspberry Pi) |
|                    |               |                    |
+--------------------+               +-------+------------+
                                             | gpio ports
                                       Wires |
                                      |  o o o o o o  |
                                      |  Status LEDs  |
                                      |               |

Server Setup

The Photobooth can run on any Linux server, for building a portable photo booth I recommend running it on a Raspberry Pi.

General instructions on how to install Rasbian on the Raspberry can be found in

Network Setup

You basically have 3 options how to connect your Tablet to your Raspberry Pi server:

  • Both are connected to the same wifi network. (Setup for Raspbian Stretch, openSUSE)
  • Your raspi acts as an access point for the tablet (Setup for Raspbian Stretch, openSUSE)
  • Your tablet acts as an access point for the raspi. (Manuals for Iphone and Android)

It can be tricky to find out the IP address of you raspi. An task to improve this is created. From your notebook you can use sudo nmap -sP to discover active devices in your network.

Software Setup

  • Clone the photobooth repo:
    • sudo su
    • cd /root; git clone
  • Install the needed gems:
    • echo 'gem: --no-document' >> ~/.gemrc
    • gem install bundler
    • cd photobooth; bundle install
  • Precompile the assets: RAILS_ENV=production rake assets:precompile
  • Autostart the app on boot time:
    • cp photobooth.service /etc/systemd/system/photobooth.service
    • systemctl enable /etc/systemd/system/photobooth.service
  • cp config/options.yml config/options-local.yml and set your config options in config/options-local.yml


Useful commands to run the photobooth

  • Control the app with systemd: systemctl <start|stop|restart|status> photobooth
  • See the logfile: tail -f log/production.log
  • Rake tasks
    • rake picture_set:record: Trigger a new picture from console
    • rake picture_set:recreate_polaroid_images[path]: Re-create all polaroid images in a batch
    • rake picture_set:recreate_animations[path]: Re-create all animations in a batch
    • rake picture_set:export[output,path]: Export all images into one output directory

Anything is not working when following this manual? Please open an issue in the github project!

My Photobooth:

My current photobox setup is a Raspberry Pi 3, a Nikon D60 with a Nikkor 35mm lens and a Nexus 7 tablet. All build into an old wooden suitcase. It can run completely from battery for 2-3 hours.

It was already used at multiple parties and weddings.



Images licensed by


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