Connect a USB camera
With Booth.Events you can connect a Canon, Nikon, or Sony camera via USB to really impress your guests! It's easy: no extra hardware, just use the cable the camera came with.
Your iPad must be running:
- Canon cameras: iOS 14.2 or later
- Nikon & Sony cameras: iOS 15.1 or later
To check your iPad's iOS version, open the Settings App, go to General, and then About.
You must use USB to connect your camera: not HDMI, and not wifi.
Booth.Events supports the following cameras:
- Canon DSLR cameras & mirrorless cameras such as the M50. Please note PowerShot cameras are NOT supported.
- Nikon DSLR cameras & mirrorless cameras. Please note CoolPix cameras are NOT supported.
- Sony DSLR cameras & mirrorless cameras such as the ZV-E10. Note: The a6000 is NOT supported. Sony a6300/a6500 are supported, a6100/a6400 are supported with slower/limited functionality.
We are unable to publish a complete list of all cameras supported. The app is free to use so you can try the app with your camera to see if it works before you spend any money or spend time setting things up.
Booth.Events supports the following iPads / iPhones:
- iPads/iPhones with lightning port, using the Apple lightning-USB adapter. You cannot use a direct USB->lightning cable, you must use an adapter. We recommend using this official Apple adapter.
- iPads with USB-C port, using a USB hub or cable. Please note: many USB-C hubs will not work - iPads are picky. Start without a hub, and then try adding the hub into the setup after you have your camera connected and working. We recommend this Dockteck hub.
For more recommendations please see Our Recommended Hardware.
Connect your Camera
To connect an external camera, connect your iPad's USB-C or lightning port to your compatible camera's USB port. Start the app before you turn on your camera.
Open the Camera Settings view at least once as you will be prompted only once for permission by iOS that's needed to access your USB camera (your camera doesn't need to be connected for this).
If using a Sony camera you must turn on "PC Remote (USB)" or "Remote Shoot (PC remote)" or "PC Remote Function" on the camera. This video shows you how to do this on a Sony ZV-E10:
If you have trouble connecting the camera, go through these steps carefully:
- Make sure you've opened the Camera Settings page at least once
- Power down your iPad / iPhone - hold power button(s), swipe to power off - then turn back on again. This almost always fixes the issue.
- Make sure the app has permission to "Files and Folders": Open Settings App -> Privacy -> Files and Folders -> make sure Booth.Events is turned on
- Try disabling your camera's wifi - some cameras will not allow USB tethering while wifi is enabled
- If your camera has separate video modes and photography modes, make sure the camera is in a photography mode. Your camera might have a physical switch for changing this.
- If you are using a USB hub, try a direct connection between the camera and the iPad (ie. without the hub) to rule out the hub as the issue. iPads are sensitive to hubs and many hubs do not work with the iPad.
- Check the camera has a memory card in it, and format the card using the camera. Most cameras will not allow USB tethering when there's no formatted card inserted. After formatting, take one photo on the camera so that the card is not completely empty.
- If your camera has multiple memory card slots, make sure there are cards in every slot
- Try a different USB cable - if you have the cable the camera came with then try this one
- If you're using a USB-to-lightning adapter and it's not made by Apple, try a genuine Apple part
- Reset your camera to default settings. We saw a Canon T7 connect but liveview would not start - after resetting, everything worked. Here's a link to reset many Canon cameras.
- Check your iOS version (see above for required versions)
When an external camera is connected, photos are taken with the external camera, but slow-mos and boomerangs still use the iPad camera. If you don't want the iPad camera to be used, turn off slow-mos and boomerangs in event settings.
What camera settings should you use, how to avoid blurry photos?
Note: you can adjust camera settings directly in the app, see the section below on how to do this.
Use manual focus
Did you notice how the front iPad camera always seems to take photos that are in focus? That's because (in mid-2023) all iPad front cameras are focus-free - there is no focus. Real cameras add a complexity here: they aren't focus-free. Autofocus is slow on many lens+camera body combinations, and autofocus fails in low light on all but the best / most expensive cameras. So we highly recommend using manual focus.
Here's how to set the camera's initial focus after you have positioned the backdrop & camera:
- Use an aperture with a high F-number (like F8 or higher) if you have enough light, because the higher the number the more is in focus
- Start with the camera in autofocus. Start the event in preview mode, start the photo taking process (the timer starts), and stand where you think your guests will stand (hint: make an 'X' with masking tape on the floor so they know where to stand!). Think about how a larger group would position themselves in front of the camera: you want to stand where the front-most person would stand, so that the focus will be on the person at the front of the group.
- Check the photo and make sure it's in focus. If not try step 2 again. If it is in focus, now change the camera to manual focus and do not move the camera from where it is now.
You're all set for focus!
Make sure you have enough light. Photo booth guests like to move around: the more movement, the more light you need. You usually need more light than you think! Slow-mos need a LOT of light because they run at high FPS. We recommend using manual mode 'M' on your camera so that you can use all of the settings in the app to control lighting.
Either you are using strobe flash (a flash connected to the camera) or constant lighting (like an LED panel, not connected to the camera). Note that with strobe flash you can't take slow-mos/videos (it'll be too dark).
Settings for strobe flash
If you're using strobe flash, keep in mind that many cameras will behave differently if it is a first-party flash (ie. Canon camera with Canon flash) versus a third-party flash (ie. Canon camera with Elinchrome flash): some lower-end Canons don't support firing a third-party flash while tethered (connected to any app).
For strobe flash you want a low ISO of 200 and an aperture with a big F-number - try starting with F11, and try to stay above F8. You also must use a shutter speed that your camera is capable of syncing with your flash at: try 1/125. You should notice that changing your shutter speed does not make the picture brighter or darker: if it does then your flash isn't the dominant lighting source, and that likely isn't what you want for a photo booth.
Adjust the aperture first when making the photo brighter/darker, then the flash intensity. If you still can't get the photos bright enough then raise the ISO, but with flash you don't want to go higher than ISO 800 on most cameras.
Settings for constant lighting
Some lighting units such as LED panels have an adjustable intensity: start with your lighting set at its brightest / highest intensity.
Unlike strobe flash, with constant lighting you do adjust shutter speed and ISO. Start with ISO 200, aperture F8, shutter speed 1/125. Gradually adjust these settings in that order. Don't increase the ISO so much that your photos/videos are too grainy, don't go lower than aperture F4 (higher is better for photo booths as more will be in focus), and don't take your shutter speed below 1/60 or your photos will be blurry.
My photos are blurry!
There are two main causes for this: either your camera's focus is wrong, or your shutter speed is too low. You can quickly try setting your shutter speed to 1/250 to rule out shutter speed being the issue. See the above "Use Manual Focus" section above for how to fix your focus.
Canon Cameras: liveview too dark when using flash?
If you have a Canon camera including and you configure your camera settings to shoot with a flash then you'll find that you have a very dark liveview. If your camera supports disabling "Exposure Simulation" (mid-end and up cameras like 80D support this), try this first. On older mid-end Canons you can try disabling "Silent Mode". Otherwise, in the Booth.Events iOS app's camera settings, turn on the "Liveview too dark?" setting.
Adjusting Camera Settings in the app
To configure an external camera, touch the camera icon on the dashboard (start screen) or from the first tab in event settings to open the camera settings screen.
Note that Sony cameras have the limitation that they can only view settings in the app - you must change camera settings directly on the Sony camera itself.
The mode set on your camera changes what settings you can change in the app. For example if your camera's mode is set to 'P', you likely cannot change shutter speed in the app. Change the camera mode to 'M' for the most control in the app.
Keep in mind if the shutter speed is 1/60 or slower you might get blurry photos if you're not using strobe flash.
You can configure the following settings:
Camera mode. For most cameras you cannot change the camera mode in the app, you can only see what it is set to; this is because the mode is set with a physical knob on many cameras.
Auto-exposure lock aka AE lock. If your camera & current camera mode supports AE lock, you'll have the option of turning it on. This causes the camera to use the same exposure for every shot.
Focus mode aka AF. For many cameras this will remain locked if autofocus can be toggled on the camera body or camera lens.
ISO. ISO means how sensitive the camera sensor is. A higher ISO means grainer photos which is usually not what you want, so we recommend making sure your booth has enough light that the ISO is lower. iPads max out their ISO at about 1728 (it differs for each model) - if you're seeing 1728 ISO then you're at the limit, and photos/videos are probably going to be too dark.
Shutter aka shutter speed. The faster the speed you select, the more light you need to make the photos come out. Make sure your booth is brightly lit.
Aperture. The lower the number, the wider the lens aperture is, which means the more light enters the camera & the brighter the image becomes. As you make this number lower the depth of field becomes narrower, which can create problems if you have larger groups of guests in the photo booth. There's also flash to consider: if you are using strobe flash, you'll find that lower apertures cause very tight depths of field, which means that not much is in focus. With a flash you probably want to stay in the range of f8 to f16.