Sparkbooth Photo Booth Software News

This update adds a new Halloween theme and Witch voice to Sparkbooth. To enable, go to Settings > General > Theme > select "Halloween", and Settings > Voice > select "Witch". Hope you enjoy this new theme and matching photo layout background:

Halloween template for 2 x 2 Top, 4 x 6 Portrait
Halloween template for 2 x 2 Top, 4 x 6 Portrait

This update also includes a number of changes to the Photo Album:

  • In Photo Album Kiosk, it displays a notification when the connection to a remote folder is not available. And will recover the connection when the remote folder is available again.
  • New "Home" button on the Photo Album screen to help jump back to the first page with the most recent photos.
  • New Photo Album maximum thumbnail setting (go to Settings > Photo Album). If you are experiencing lock ups, it could be too many photos are being loaded at once. Use this setting to reduce the number of thumbnails display which will use less memory and might prevent lock up issues

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I have been using Sparkbooth commercially and exclusively for over two years at over 70 events. I now operate two full size photo booths.

With the new photo album feature of Sparkbooth 3.5 it is possible to run a photo booth and a separate reprint/upload station/kiosk that guests can manipulate. This allows the photo booth to run very fast, and gives guests the ability to interact and share their pictures independent of the photo booth through the easy to use touch interface. I would like to share my first experience with this and give a general overview of the setup and finally my vision for where this technology will take my business.

My Setup

The setup is very straightforward.

The photo booth uses a laptop running Sparkbooth with a printer, webcam, and USB button for starting the photo booth.

Epic Party Booth's Photo Booth
Figure 1. My photo booth

The print/upload station uses a second laptop with printer where guests can browse the photos, print photos, and upload photos to their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Epic Party Booth's Print and Upload Station
Figure 2. My print/upload station

The next step is to network the laptops using a wireless router. [Note: You can also create an ad-hoc wireless network on one of the computers, and the other computer can join that network. No wireless router required.] On the photo booth laptop, I set up the Sparkbooth "save" folder as a shared folder. Then, on the print/upload station, I set up the Sparkbooth "save" folder to the photo booth's shared folder and turn on the "Album kiosk" mode. Now, the print/upload station can display the photos as the photo booth creates them. Guests simply select the photos and print, or choose whether to upload it to Facebook or Twitter. If they decide to upload, they use their own credentials to do so. Another really great part is that you can customize the upload to include your company website. When users upload to Facebook or Twitter, it will link back to your web site.

Sparkbooth is cleverly designed to be touch screen friendly, and intuitive to use. The album feature is no different.

The Future

This was my first iteration using Sparkbooth as a separate print/upload station. My intention is to build a real touch screen kiosk using a Windows tablet or an all-in one PC, and a printer in a custom housing.

My plan is to strategically limit my base packages to be less expensive with unlimited sessions, and no reprints. The reprint/upload station will be an add-on to my base photo booth package - adding unlimited reprints and uploads. This add-on essentially doubles the amount of photo strips that can be printed at an event.

This broadens my market and increases my profits on any upsell I do for the reprint/upload station.

In Conclusion

Separating Reprint functions from the photo booth really boosts the user experience. Now there will be zero wait time for guests. Before, if somebody wanted a reprint I had to disrupt the photo booth line and reprint before the next session started. I have a large booth often on location at events with many attendees, and many times there are 8 or more people that all want copies. As you can imagine no matter how fast the printer, there's no keeping up. Plus, there are 8 or more people standing around the booth waiting. A separate station for reprints eliminates many of these concerns. The intuitive interface allows guests do their own reprinting/uploading. This provides me a better opportunity to add to the experience in ways other than custodial printing duties.

Sparkbooth 3.5 is polished, and poised to put you right where you need to be today and in the future as a photo booth operator.

Jason Soles Owner - Epic Party Booth www.epicpartybooth.com


Facebook's service recently changed application access of your Facebook account to expire after 2 hours. If you are using the Sparkbooth's "facebook" uploader, this can be an issue if you have to re-authenticate Sparkbooth with your Facebook account every 2 hours. This update will extend the expire date of the access. Since Facebook can change their rules on access, Sparkbooth now shows the expire date and time after you sign in. Some other issues to be aware of:

  • If you are currently signed into Facebook in Sparkbooth, you will need to logout and log back into Facebook to extend the access time
  • If you are using the Commercial custom Facebook App, you will need to provide your App's Secret. You can get that value at your app's detail page at https://developers.facebook.com/apps
  • This change only affect the "facebook" uploader. If you are using the "Guest Facebook" or "Guest Upload Chooser" to upload to Facebook, the expiring access token does not affect you.

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Changes to 3.5.37 include:

  • Today Facebook will be enforcing breaking changes to their authentication process. This affects the Commercial custom Facebook app sign in. Facebook has also started showing a scary the security warning text on their sign in success page. This update fixes the custom Facebook app for these changes, and you will no longer see the security warning. If you have previously setup a custom Facebook app, you will need to add an application domain at http://developer.facebook.com/apps for your app and add a callback url in Sparkbooth. The video tutorial for creating and setting up your custom Facebook app has been updated for this. If you have an existing Facebook app, here are some update instructions.
  • New prompt setting to allow photo to be sent to multiple accounts (by emails, guest Facebook, guest Twitter, or Send It Later prompts). Go to Settings > Prompts > check "Upload photo to another account". This is useful for sending the same photo to multiple guests.
  • "Send It Later" uploader has option to not clear uploaded photos. This option is useful if you want to upload photos to more than one destination. For example, if you had prompted for email address - you can now email guests their photos, and then upload to your Facebook page
  • Remove delay between count down and photo being taken. Previously there was a half second delay from the end of the count down to photo being taken.
  • Auto enable Show banner when selecting banner image.

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Sparkbooth 3.5.35 is now available. Changes include:

  • Improve layouts for small screens (smaller than 800 x 600)
  • Add touch/hold lower left corner to toggle lock. Useful for touch screen users!
  • Auto lock app on start up option
  • Re-enable virtual keyboard to app lock password
  • Cancel session during prompts and preview
  • Improve refreshing of album mode
  • Ready email provider for Guest Upload Chooser
  • Spaced not allowed in settings url and api input fields
  • Spaces not allowed in license unlock dialog
  • Ctrl+F should not toggle fullscreen when locked
  • Prevent minimizing when locked

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Sparkbooth 3.5.33 is now available. This is a maintenance update to address the following:

  • Hide toolbar on app lock
  • Re-display start message after changing photo effect
  • Re-enable click/touch to start setting
  • Re-enable reprint keyboard shortcut
  • Optimize layout selection button and keyboard shortcut
  • Photo layout list sorted by favorites, paper size, and name
  • Change 'Video' tab to 'Photo Effects' to avoid confusion
  • View save folders in Saving options
  • View log.txt in Prompts options
  • Layout button should show same preview layout
  • Preview layout should update when background or overlay is changed
  • Prompted data correctly saves to log.txt
  • Mandrill logout clears access key - preventing logging back into Mandrill
  • Settings dialog now displays in small window
  • Add background to photo album page label for readability
  • Fix 'Guest Uploader Chooser' uploader

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Sparkbooth 3.5 screenshot
Sparkbooth 3.5 screenshot

Sparkbooth 3.5 is now available in both Consumer and Commercial editions. Both deliver an easy and affordable way to set up an instant photo booth at any location or special event. The new Commercial edition includes advanced capabilities for event planners, business professionals and service providers.

Change new to Sparkbooth 3.5:

  • New animations for countdown and previews
  • Added new Retro theme
  • Added Photobucket uploader
  • Added Google+ / Picasa uploader
  • Added more 4 x 8 layouts
  • No longer need to pre-install Adobe AIR runtime
  • Commercial only features:
    • Photo album kiosk mode
    • Take wide 4 x 6 photos, not just square photos
    • Customize Facebook uploader share link
    • Customize Twitter uploader share link

Sparkbooth 3.5 is available immediately. The Consumer edition is priced at $59, and the Commercial edition at a special introductory price of $100. Free trial versions are available for both.

If you have already own a Sparkbooth 3 license, this is a free upgrade. Sparkbooth 3.5 is a separate install, so you will need to activate it with your license key. If you want to upgrade your license key to a Commercial license key, please stay tune - upgrade pricing will be available soon.

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Facebook recently made some changes to their service that affected the Facebook uploaders in Sparkbooth. Sparkbooth 3.4.28 addresses these changes which include:

  • Clear previous Facebook session for "Guest Facebook" uploader. So the previous guest's email is no longer displayed on the sign in screen.
  • Fix "Malformed access token" error when signing into Facebook.
  • Fix saving of max guest print setting
  • Prevent application minimize when locked

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Sparkbooth 3.4.26 is a maintenance update to fix a few issues:

  • Print button in Photo Album/Gallery screen now displays "Printing" message
  • Skipping share in Photo Album/Gallery screen no longer displays "Not Uploaded" message
  • Guest Twitter uploader has caption setting
  • Fixed authentication error message for Flickr and SmugMug, so you can see why the sign in failed
  • Fixed Flickr uploader to allow sign in via Google or Facebook
  • Improved handling of photo saving so if folder path does not exist, it will be created

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Running Sparkbooth on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
Running Sparkbooth on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

If you are running Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, you will need to temporarily turn off Gatekeeper to run Sparkbooth. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Go to System Preferences
  2. Select "Security and Privacy"
  3. Change "Allow applications downloaded from" to "Anywhere". You can switch it back after running Sparkbooth for the first time.
  4. Install Adobe AIR 3.1 or later from http://get.adobe.com/air
  5. Install Sparkbooth from download page
  6. And that is it!

Note: On some Macs, you will need to disable "Automatic Graphics Switching" under "Energy Saver" in System Preferences for Adobe AIR to run correctly.