Notes on using the photo booth mode in DSLR Remote Pro, PSRemote, Webcam Photobooth and NKRemote

Part 8: "How To's" and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

First article: Photobooth Overview
Previous article: Greenscreen Shooting

Photobooth Setup Wizard: The quickest way to get started is to use the photobooth setup wizard which creates all the screens and the print layout needed to run your photobooth. Simply select "Photobooth Setup Wizard..." from the "File" menu to run the wizard. Please see the help files for full details. The help file can be displayed by running the program and selecting "Contents..." from the "Help" menu.

"How To's" and Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why can't I save screen images in the photobooth images folder using my image editor?
  2. The software is unreliable and keeps crashing half way through the shooting sequence. What's wrong?
  3. How do I add a header or footer or a logo to the prints?
  4. Why does the photobooth stop responding to keyboard input after printing the first set of prints?
  5. How can I reduce the processing time after taking the photos?
  6. Can I use two printers to print out the photo booth strips?
  7. Why does my booth keep resetting to the wrong settings?
  8. Why does my booth freeze after capturing a video clip?
  9. Why do the camera settings change when using a touchscreen on Windows 7?
  10. Why does Hotfolder Prints display "{user_data} empty: not running command on saved layout" or "XML file not found" ?
  11. How do I save a green screened copy of the photos taken by the camera and where are they stored?
  12. How can I prevent a black bar at the bottom of photos when using external flash with DSLR Remote Pro for Windows?
  13. Can I run a video and stills photo booth and let users choose which one to use?
  14. Is it possible to switch between color, B&W and sepia when capturing videos?
  15. Can users choose between video and stills modes when running DSLR Remote Pro for Windows or Webcam Photobooth?
  16. How can I display a welcome screen with live view disabled when the booth is not in use?
  17. Why does the booth display an error message saying "Unable to release shutter"?
  18. Why does my new camera not work with my copy of DSLR Remote Pro (Canon cameras) or NKRemote (Nikon cameras)?
  19. Why are the photos zoomed in when running DSLR Remote Pro for Windows in photo booth mode?

  1. Why can't I save screen images in the photobooth images folder using my image editor?
    The security settings on Windows Vista and Windows 7 do not allow normal users to modify files in the "Program Files" folder or any of its subfolders. The default location for the photobooth images folder is the installation folder (e.g. C:\Program Files\BreezeSys\DSLR Remote Pro\PhotoboothImages) and so you will be able to load the screen images into your image editor but Windows won't let you save them. To avoid this problem copy the photobooth images folder to another location (e.g. your "My Documents" folder) and update the location in the photobooth settings dialog.

  2. The software is unreliable and keeps crashing half way through the shooting sequence. What's wrong?
    This is almost certainly due to problems with the USB connection or the power supply to the camera or computer:
    USB cable: Excessively long, damaged or loose USB cables can cause problems. If possible use the USB cable that came with the camera and plug it in directly to a USB port on the computer. Ensure the cable is not damaged and is firmly connected at both ends.
    USB hubs: These can cause problems particularly if they are self-powered. If you do need to use a USB hub it will probably be more reliable if it is externally powered.
    Active USB cables: These are actually a USB cable with a self-powered single port USB hub on the end (see USB hubs above).
    Computer power supply problems: Some laptops don't have enough power to run the USB ports properly when running from batteries. Usually running the laptop from a mains adaptor will fix the problem. Some desktop computers have additional USB ports which don't receive as much power as the main USB ports. If you are having reliability problems it is worth trying different USB ports on the computer.
    Camera power supply problems: Some cameras may become unreliable as their batteries begin to run down. This is more likely to be a problem when using live view as this uses more power than normal camera operation.
    Voltage spikes from other equipment: Some equipment such as studio strobe units can put spikes on the mains supply which could cause the camera or computer to become reliable. Using a good quality mains surge protector should reduce the risk of this.
    Faulty equipment: Sometimes a faulty camera or computer will work most of the time but randomly cause the software to crash. This sort of problem can be difficult to trace and often the only way to find the source of the problem is to methodically change one element at a time and test the system e.g. change the cables and test, try a different camera and test, try a different computer or connect the USB cable to a different USB port.

  3. How do I add a header or footer or a logo to the prints?
    The simplest way to do this is to create a background.jpg image the same size in pixels as the printed output, edit it in an image editor to add the logo, header or footer and then save it in the photo booth images folder. You can create a JPEG which is the right size by setting the output option to "JPEG copy only" and shooting a test sequence. Alternatively run the photobooth setup wizard and select the option to "Add a background.jpg image which can be edited to add logos etc." option and the software will create a background.jpg image of the right size.
    Then load the JPEG copy of the prints into an image editor and add the header, footer and logos etc. as required. Finally save this image in the photobooth images folder and name it background.jpg.
    Please see the section on prints and print layout for more information.

  4. Why does the photobooth stop responding to keyboard input after printing the first set of prints?
    This is probably caused by the printer driver displaying a print status window during printing and acquiring input focus and then not returning it to the photobooth software when the window closes. (The window that has input focus is the one that receives key press events when keys are pressed on the keyboard). Normally this can be fixed by changing the printer driver settings to disable the print status display. If this doesn't work please try running the photobooth_reset_settings.ahk script.

  5. How can I reduce the processing time after taking the photos?
    The time it takes to prepare images for printing depends on a number of factors:
    a) The size and quality of the original photos. It can take a couple of seconds to read a 20+ mega pixel JPEG and resize it for printing and so setting the camera to a lower resolution could save several seconds. However, please take care not to set the resolution too low if you want to be able to offer users full size prints later.
    b) The resolution setting on the printer. Inkjet printers often offer photo quality printing at resolutions of 2400 dpi or more and dye sub printers offer resolutions up to 600 dpi. It's tempting to use the maximum resolution offered by the printer to get the best quality output but in practice it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a 600 or 1200 dpi inkjet print and a 2400 dpi print or a 300 dpi dye sub print and a 600 dpi print. Doubling the resolution of the printer quadruples the number of pixels to be printed which adds to the time it takes to prepare the images for printing and to send the data to the printer. Please experiment with different print resolutions to find the best compromise between quality and speed.
    c) The speed of the computer and the amount of RAM. Any modern dual core PC or laptop should be fine for photobooth use but you may find netbook computers or computers with limited memory take significantly longer to prepare the images for printing. Ideally, a computer running Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista should have at least 2GB of RAM.
    d) Windows print spooler settings. When print spooling is enabled Windows puts the document in a queue and only prints it when the printer is ready. This allows the program to submit a document for printing and then carry on working without having to wait for the printer to be ready or to finish printing. To check the settings on Windows 7 select "Devices and Printers" from the Windows start menu then right click on the printer and select "Printer Properties". Next click on the "Advanced" tab and check that "Spool print documents so program finishes printing faster" is selected:


  6. Can I use two printers to print out the photo booth strips?
    You can do this using the printer pooling built in to Windows provided both printers are the same make and model. To enable printer pooling select "Devices and Printers" from the Windows start menu then right click on the first printer and select "Printer Properties". Next click on the "Ports" tab and select the "Enable printer pooling" checkbox. Then select the other printer in the list of printer ports. The printer properties window should look something like this:

    Click OK and then repeat the process to enable printer pooling for the second printer. Once setup, selecting File->Printer Setup... in the photo booth software should look something like this:

    The "Where:" section should list the USB ports for the two printers (e.g. USB005, USB004). Windows will now treat the two printers as a single print queue and will send print jobs to the first printer if it is available or to the second printer if the first is busy.

    Please see this site for more detailed instructions or search the web for "Windows printer pooling".

  7. Why does my booth keep resetting to the wrong settings?
    The most likely reason for this is because you have defined a deault profile which is loaded every time the photo booth starts and at the end of each shooting sequence. This is very useful if you want to reset your booth to a known state after each set of shots, but can be confusing when you change the settings but don't update the saved profile. To check whether you are using a default profile click on the "Profiles..." button at the bottom of the photobooth settings dialog:

    In the screenshot above profile 1, C:\PhotoboothImages\default.xml, is the default profile and its settings will be applied when the booth starts up and after each shooting sequence. To fix the problem either save your current settings to the profile file again or set the default profile to "none".

  8. Why does my booth freeze after capturing a video clip?
    If the "Display playback screen after capturing video" option is selected the booth will display the playback screen after downloading the video and will wait until the user accepts or rejects the video before returning to the ready screen. The video can be accepted by typing "a" or selecting the "Accept video" touchscreen action, if defined. The video can be rejected and deleted by typing "x" or selecting the "Reject video" touchscreen action, if defined. The user can also type "p" or select the "Play video" touchscreen action to replay the video.
    A timeout which automatically accepts the video after a certain time can also be defined. Please see the section headed "In Operation" on the "Videobooth shooting" page of the DSLR Remote Pro for Windows help file for more information

  9. Why do the camera settings change when using a touchscreen on Windows 7?
    The default "Pen and Touch" settings in Windows 7 enable flicks to navigate on the screen and this results in PageUp and PageDn commands being sent to DSLR Remote Pro which will change the camera settings. To avoid this select "Hardware and Sound" from the Windows Control Panel and then select "Turn flicks on and off" from the "Pen and Touch" section and disable flicks:


  10. Why does Hotfolder Prints display "{user_data} empty: not running command on saved layout" or "XML file not found"?
    This can happen if the "Delay before processing images" setting in Hotfolder Prints is too short when using the touchscreen keyboard option in our photo booth software to allow users to enter their email address. You can avoid this problem by selecting the "Wait for XML file before processing images option" in Hotfolder Prints' settings.
    This option was added in Hotfolder Prints v1.4.2. If you are running an older version of Hotfolder Prints and don't wish to upgrade to the latest version please try setting the "Delay before processing images" setting to 30 secs or 60 secs to allow users more time to enter their email address.


  11. How do I save a green screened copy of the photos taken by the camera and where are they stored?
    Select the "Save copy of greenscreened photos in photo booth mode" option in the greenscreen settings dialog to save a green screened copy of the photos taken by the camera:

    The green screened copy of the photos will be saved with the original unmodified photos from the camera in a subfolder named "greenscreen". e.g. if the the first photo taken by the camera is saved as C:\Photos\2011-12-08\IMG_0001.JPG the green screened copy will be saved as C:\Photos\2011-12-08\greenscreen\IMG_0001.JPG

  12. How can I prevent a black bar at the bottom of photos when using external flash with DSLR Remote Pro for Windows?
    When "external flash mode" is used in DSLR Remote Pro for Windows different shutter speeds are used for live view and for taking photos to ensure that the live view images are not too dark. The shutter speed used for taking photos is one value below the 1/250 flash sync speed on most Canon DSLR cameras. This gives a shutter speed of 1/200 sec if the camera is set to 1/3 stop exposure level increments or 1/180 if it is set to 1/2 stop increments. If the triggering of the flash is delayed for any reason (e.g. when using a wireless flash trigger or a non-Canon flash) you may get a black bar at the bottom of the pictures caused by the flash going off after the camera's shutter has started to close. If this happens please try setting your camera to 1/2 stop exposure increments so that it uses a shutter speed of 1/180 sec. This can be set using a custom function in the camera (please see the camera manual for details). If you are still having problems you can use a slower shutter speed by increasing the value of the following setting in the Windows registry to 2 (or more):
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\BreezeSystems\DSLRRemotePro\100\PhotoboothExternalFlashModeStops
    Please make sure DSLR Remote Pro is not running when changing the setting. This option is only available in DSLR Remote Pro for Windows v2.3.1 and later.

  13. Can I run a video and stills photo booth and let users choose which one to use?
    Yes, you can do this with both DSLR Remote Pro for Windows and Webcam Photobooth. You can use touchscreen actions or the following keyboard shortcuts to switch between video and stills modes:
    Ctrl+V - switch from stills photobooth mode to video booth mode
    Ctrl+P - switch from video booth mode to stills photobooth mode
    Ctrl+S - toggle between video and stills photobooth mode and back again
    Please see the help files for a list of keyboard shortcuts: DSLR Remote Pro for Windows keyboard shortcuts, Webcam Photobooth keyboard shortcuts

  14. Is it possible to switch between color, B&W and sepia when capturing videos?
    You can do this using DSLR Remote Pro for Windows by selecting different picture styles in the camera e.g. the standard picture style for color video, the monochrome picture style for B&W and then define one of the user picture styles for sepia by setting the style to monochrome and the toning effect to sepia. You can then use touchscreen actions or the following keyboard shortcuts to select the picture style:
    Ctrl+F1 - select the camera's user 1 picture style
    Ctrl+F2 - select the camera's user 2 picture style
    Ctrl+F3 - select the camera's user 3 picture style
    Ctrl+F4 - select the camera's standard picture style
    Ctrl+F5 - select the camera's portrait picture style
    Ctrl+F6 - select the camera's landscape picture style
    Ctrl+F7 - select the camera's neutral picture style
    Ctrl+F8 - select the camera's faithful picture style
    Ctrl+F9 - select the camera's monochrome picture style
    Please note: If you change the camera's picture style it will also affect photos taken in stills photo booth mode

  15. Can users choose between video and stills modes when running DSLR Remote Pro for Windows or Webcam Photobooth?
    Yes, there are keyboard shortcuts and touchscreen actions for switching between video and stills photobooth modes:
    Ctrl+V - switch from stills photobooth mode to video booth mode
    Ctrl+P - switch from video booth mode to stills photobooth mode
    Ctrl+S - toggle between video and stills photobooth mode and back again
    F4 - start video booth capture sequence in video booth mode or photobooth shooting sequence in stills mode
    F8 - switch to video booth mode and start the video booth capture sequence
    F9 - switch to stills photobooth mode and start the photobooth sequence
    Select the "Startup up in video booth mode when selecting full screen photobooth" option if you want the photobooth to startup in video mode. Uncheck this option if you want it to startup in stills photobooth mode. Save the settings to file and set this up as the default profile if you want the booth to return to the same state at the end of each shooting sequence.

  16. How can I display a welcome screen with live view disabled when the booth is not in use?
    You can do this by defining two profiles: one with live view disabled to be used as the welcome screen and one with live view enabled for the ready screen. Then make the first profile the default profile which is loaded when the photobooth starts up and at the end of the shooting sequence. Please see this page for more details.

  17. Why does the booth display an error message saying "Unable to release shutter"?
    When using a Canon DSLR you may get the error message below if the camera is set to auto-focus:

    This error message is displayed if the camera is set to auto-focus and the camera is unable to focus properly. A Canon DSLR will not take a photo if it is set to auto-focus and cannot focus properly and this will cause the photobooth shooting sequence to fail. There are two ways to avoid this problem:
    1) Set the camera to manual focus by moving the AF/MF switch on the lens to the MF position or by setting the AF mode to "Remote Manual" in DSLR Remote Pro. Then pre-focus the lens to the correct subject distance by rotating the focus ring on the lens or by holding down the Ctrl key and using the mouse wheel if the AF mode is set to "Remote Manual" (requires DSLR Remote Pro for Windows v2.5.2.1 or later).
    2) Increase the camera's chances of being able to auto-focus by ensuring all focus points are active and there is sufficient light in the booth before taking the photo (cameras find it harder to auto-focus in poor light). Also avoid having a plain background otherwise the camera may not be able to auto-focus if people leave the booth before it has finished taking photos.
    Method #1 guarantees the camera will take the photo but it does not guarantee that the subject will be in focus. If people move too close to the lens they may appear out of focus in the photos. Increasing the depth of field by using a smaller aperture (e.g. f/8 or f/11) should help.
    Method #2 does not guarantee the camera will be able to focus and that it will be able to take a photo. The only way to guarantee that the camera will take a photo is to use manual focus.

  18. Why does my new camera not work with my copy of DSLR Remote Pro (Canon cameras) or NKRemote (Nikon cameras)?
    If you are running an older version of the software it may not support the latest camera models and you may need to upgrade to a newer release. Please check the release history page to see when support for each camera model was added:
    Canon DSLR cameras: DSLR Remote Pro for Windows release history
    Nikon DSLR cameras: NKRemote release history
    Please see the upgrades page for information on upgrading to a newer release.
  19. Why are the photos zoomed in when running DSLR Remote Pro for Windows in photo booth mode?
    You may have accidentally selected digital zoom when in photo booth mode. You can zoom out again by holding down the Ctrl and Alt keys and then pressing the cursor left key when in full screen photo booth mode. The digital zoom settings are saved to file and so if you are using profiles to switch settings and want to change the digital zoom setting you need to load the settings from file, adjust the digital zoom setting and then save the settings back to file.
    Please note: If you are running DSLR Remote Pro for Windows v3.3.3 or older you need to press the cursor left key (without pressing the Ctrl or Alt keys) to zoom out.

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