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The Mini Photo Studio

Dennis Drenner - I’ve been putting up a mini photo studio at most of my weddings these days and my clients and their guests are loving it!  The practice is becoming increasingly popular.

washington dc photo booth


The idea is simple: I mount a camera on a tripod, point it at a nice clean background and attach a cable release (a long extension cord that allows you to trip the camera’s shutter button remotely). I then add a studio light, put a piece of tape on the ground telling your guests where to stand, and then give a quick lesson to a few people (“Stand here, push this button”). After that, things just sorta take off on their own…
At a recent wedding at the Fort McNair Officers' Club near Washington, DC, the photo booth was a fun activity that helped keep guests entertained between dances and speeches. At another recent event in at the Residence Catignano near Siena, Italy, I put up a photo studio the day after the wedding, using the beautiful orange-hued wall of the 500 year old villa as my background. As the day wore on, and the wine flowed,  guests wandered through and had a blast taking photos of themselves and their friends. (Full disclosure: Some of the best photos were taken while I was napping!)
I often choose a background for the photo studio to reflect the character of the venue, and of the wedding. For example, at an elegant wedding at the Walter’s Art Gallery in Baltimore, there were classical statues in the background, whereas at another event at the Field School in Washington, DC,  funky art deco wallpaper. For an reception at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club,  we put the studio outside with the sky and the bay in the background.
Incidentally, this photo studio is not to be confused with a photo-booth, which produces small prints on the spot and rents for upwards of $1000 for four hours. With the mini photo studio, I and many of my colleagues put the hi-res photos online after the wedding – and charge nothing for setting it up.

Sometimes my assistant or I will take the reins and shoot more formal portraits in the studio, though more often we just let guests do their own thing. I have found the studio to be overwhelmingly popular, both during the wedding, and afterwards when my clients and guests have a large set of portraits that help them remember the day.

Here are two links to online samples. A Tuscany photo booth & A photo studio at Fort McNair



Dennis Drenner is a photographer based in the Baltimore/Washington, DC area. When he isn't photographing weddings, he is taking pictures for newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times, and traveling to places like Colombia and Pakistan.  You can see more of his work at and



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