Jack Barber / Website Design

The Best Wedding Photos I Didn't Take

The Best Wedding Photos I Didn't Take

Last summer my younger brother got married. It was an amazing wedding day - full of surprises and little details that only Will and Claire could have created.

Earlier in the year they'd asked me if I'd like to help document the day in some way. In the past I've take a few wedding photos - but it's not something I've done for a few years now, and they already had a photographer lined up.

As it happened I'd been wanting to build a 'Polaroid' camera using a Raspberry Pi for a while - and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that!

I'll save the code for a more in-depth blog at some point. I just wanted to share some images of the build and the photos the camera managed to take during Will and Claire's wedding day. I was delighted with the results.

The Components

The build was relatively simple. It was based around:

  • A Nikon D7000 DSLR camera and flash
  • A Raspberry Pi v3
  • A thermal receipt printer
  • A massive red button

Getting the Technology Working

The first thing I did was to get the technology working. I hooked up the camera to the Raspberry Pi which was connected to the printer and the button. Having found a few useful pointers online I managed to get the following program working:

  • Person pushes red button
  • Button light flashes as timer counts down from 10 seconds
  • Raspberry Pi triggers camera to take photo
  • A copy of the photo is moved to the Raspberry Pi and printed out on the thermal printer
  • The full-sized colour image is retained on the camera memory card

Here's some evidence of this stage of the build:

2018 08 06 20.37.51

Building a Box

Having got the technology working I set about building a suitable box to put everything in. I wanted to retain the Polaroid feel, so opted to build a big version of an original Polaroid camera. My proportions are wrong and it took a bit of fiddling about to get everything sufficiently well mounted whilst ensurring all the wires could get where they need to go, but it all came together in the end:

2018 08 11 13.58.03

2018 08 18 15.36.57

Out in the Wild

With the camera built and functional it was time to put it to work! I didn't have a huge amount of time to test it before the event. And I really didn't know how it would cope with a full day of use - I had warned everyone not to get their hopes up! However, during the course of the day it took over 160 photos - most of which were great!

I had set the camera to use it's flash with every shot so the photos taken during the day are well balanced. I used a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lens which gave a really wide angle - ensuring all the action was captured and close-ups look really dynamic.

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If anything, as darkness fell and I moved the camera indoors, the colour improved - I love how the disco lights are still vibrant even with the guest being well-lit in the foreground.

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This is Will and Claire - dressed as a pepper and a hot dog to announce the arrival of the vegan hot dogs during the evening reception. This pretty much sums up the day!

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