Yes, you can connect a real camera to your iPad
All you need is a USB cable
Got a DSLR or a mirrorless camera like the Canon M50 or the Sony A6300? It's super easy to connect it to your iPad to make an awesome photo booth experience.
We'll get into the details but spoiler-alert: just plug in a USB cable to your Canon, Sony, or Nikon camera, and connect the other end to your iPad. Then start the Booth.Events app.
When photo booths first got popular the iPad did not exist: PC-based photo booths came first. They were (and largely still are) difficult to use, because Windows is a complex operating system. It has mandatory updates that can suddenly reboot your device during an event, the requirement of installing & updating device drivers, and the possibility of being infected by malware/virus. Apps made for Windows tend to use older approaches to user-interfaces that aren't intuitive or easy to learn.
Argh not now Windows, i'm doing an event!
Fast-forward to 2010 and the iPad is released: a simpler & more user-friendly device that's easy to manage. But it wasn't until 2015 when we released Wifibooth - the world's first photo booth app to connect to real cameras - that you could get great picture quality or use a proper lighting system via your camera's hotshoe. Until then you were limited to the iPad camera and constant lighting.
Ancient App Store photo of Wifibooth unearthed from one of our digital time-capsules
And back then even Wifibooth wasn't plug-and-play! You had to connect over wifi, because Apple at the time did not allow apps to connect to cameras over the lightning port of the iPad. Wifi didn't exist on many cameras back then so we supported Eye-Fi cards, an SD card that added limited wifi support to the camera. Next came support for Canon cameras with built-in wifi, then Nikon, then Sony.
But wifi was still finicky: you had to get the camera and the iPad connected to the same network which is difficult for many people, and the wifi on older cameras wasn't great - it could drop the connection in the middle of the event.
Then finally in late 2020 with the iOS 14 update Apple allowed apps to use the lightning and USB-C ports of iPhones & iPads to connect to cameras. We updated Wifibooth and released our modern photo booth app, Booth.Events, with plug-and-play USB support for Canon cameras. A year later with changes we needed in iOS 15.2 we were able to support Nikon & Sony cameras too!
I cannot tell you how excited we were to finally get access to this
Download the App
Download the Booth.Events app by searching "Booth.Events" on the App Store or clicking this link on your iPad.
The best 89.6 MB you'll ever download, guaranteed
You can easily sign up with your Google account or Apple ID, and you don't need to pay anything or start a trial to check how your camera works with the app.
Use your Google or Apple account and you'll be up & running in 3 touches or less
Connect your camera to your iPad
First make sure you have iOS version 15.2 or newer, which you can do in the Settings App -> General -> About. Then check if you have a lightning port or USB-C port iPad.
If you have a lightning iPad then you need the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter from Apple, which allows you to charge your iPad while it is connected to the camera.
If you have a USB-C iPad then you can either connect a USB cable directly from the iPad to the camera, or you can use a USB-C hub that has a power-in and other ports too so that you can charge your iPad while it is connected to your camera. Take a look at our Recommended Hardware page to see the cheapest most reliable hub we like.
Finally, start the Booth.Events app on your iPad and make sure you've opened the camera settings screen at least once because that's where we ask for your permission to connect to the camera.
Hit 'Front Camera' to open the camera settings screen in the Booth.Events app
If you're having trouble connecting the camera please check out our help article Connect a USB Camera and carefully read the Troubleshooting steps.
Once you're connected you can control the camera's settings directly from the app. The app will remember the settings you've chosen and apply them when the camera reconnects. If you don't want the app to remember the settings and apply them like this, then change the settings directly on the camera. Otherwise we recommend using the app to change the settings.
One of our test rigs with a Canon M50 connected to an iPad Pro with a USB-C hub from Dockteck, showing the camera settings page
You can have the camera in landscape orientation (as seen in the photo above) or portrait orientation, as the app supports both. You should have the iPad in the same orientation as the camera so guests can easily see their whole photo.
So which cameras will work with Booth.Events? While we don't have an exhaustive list we can give you this guidance:
- Sony cameras don't support shooting video while tethered but Canon & Nikon do, so we recommend Canon cameras in general. See our Recommended Hardware page.
- if it's a Canon older than the Canon T6i (750D) from 2015, it probably won't work; the Canon T6 (1300D) does not work but the T6i works well
- the older Sony a6000, a6100, and a6400 work for some people but not for others - we recommend you try the app out carefully before making a purchase if you have one of these cameras. Other Sony cameras like the a6300, a6500, and ZV-E10 work well.
One of the greatest advantages of using a real camera with your iPad is that your camera can connect to a strobe flash lighting system, allowing you to take studio-like shots like this!
Strobe flash brings out a lot of great detail in hair, clothes, and faces
RAW workflows & where photos are saved
All photos & videos taken with your camera by the app will be saved on the camera's memory card (e.g. SD card) as well as downloaded to the app, and the app saves all photos & videos to your iPad's camera roll (accessible in the Apple Photos App). So you always have a copy of your photos on your SD card, as well as on the iPad's camera roll.
The app doesn't download RAW files from your camera because they're too big and take too long to process, but you can still use a RAW workflow to do custom processing on your event photos: set your camera to save both RAW and JPG files (RAW+JPG setting). The RAW files will be available on your memory card after the event for whatever processing you want to do, and the app will still download the JPGs.
Let us know if you have questions
We're excited to see what you create with Booth.Events! If you have any questions while you're trying out the app don't hesitate to hit the '?' in the app or on the website, and then "Ask Us". That's the fastest way to get our attention. Don't forget to check out our many help articles too.