While some folks enjoy posting photos to social media during events, there are still plenty of people who appreciate having their photos printed. After all, it’s the classic photo booth souvenir! It’s also fun for guests to walk away with a tangible item.
Printing from your Simple Booth digital photo booth app uses AirPrint (Apple's printing protocol) and requires a WiFi network to work. WiFi networks at venues can be full of surprises, which can make things tricky. For example, the signal on a public network can become weak and slow if others are connected to it, or there may be a firewall on the network that prevents printing.
Worse still, it’s possible that you may not even know whether WiFi will be available until you arrive at the event. If you don’t have a hotspot or if you know that service will be unreliable at the event, you may think you’re out luck.
Printing might sound intimidating, but if you’ve been asked to print at your event there’s no need to stress. The good news? Creating a wireless network to print over is easier than you might think!
This article will help guide you through how to print during your event, even when a wireless network might not be available.
So, what's WiFi, anyway?
There is a common misconception that WiFi and internet are the same thing, but there is an important difference. Internet is a global system of connected networks, and internet access allows you to do things like browse websites or send emails. When a WiFi network is not connected to the internet, it allows multiple devices that are in range to communicate with one another, but not with any device that is not on that specific network.
As an example of the difference between the two — many people have both a modem and a router in their home. The modem plugs into the phone or cable jack in your wall and connects to the internet. At this point, your computer can connect directly to the modem with the proper cord.
A separate "router" can be plugged into your modem, which creates the WiFi network and allows you to connect your device to the internet wirelessly. Without a modem, the wireless router will not allow you to connect to the internet.
For example, if you power up your router but unplug it from the modem, you will see that you can still connect to it from your devices around your home, but you won’t have any luck going to your favorite websites!
When a WiFi network is not connected to the internet, it is sometimes referred to as an ad hoc network or Local Area Network (or LAN).
How to create a LAN
Mac laptops, and most PCs, include a feature that enables you to create a LAN. This can be a really convenient way to go about creating a WiFi network if you already bring your laptop with you to events in order to print to a dye-sublimation printer. Instructions about how to create a LAN from MacOS can be found on Apple's website.
Instructions about how to create a LAN from a PC will vary depending on operating system. We encourage you to explore your computer's support documentation. There are also numerous articles or blog posts on the internet that include helpful screenshots to point you in the right direction.
Connect the iPad (and your printer if applicable) to the network you've just created. At this point, you'll be able to select your printer in the Print Panel in your Simple Booth settings.
We touched on this earlier, but routers are the most common and standard way to create a LAN you can access by WiFi. Routers are relatively inexpensive these days (about $30 for a home model that will work for a small event at a venue with no or few other competing WiFi networks) and can typically be set up very easily.
Your router will come with more detailed instructions about setting up, but the process will involve plugging the router in and then connecting both your laptop and iPad to the network that is created.
A note about hotspots
If you use a hotspot or have data on your iPad, in most circumstances you’re able to use that network to connect your printer to your iPad. We’d encourage you to test your hotspot before the event to make sure the connection will work.
Printing may be disrupted if the hotspot doesn’t have a great signal at the venue.
Sending Digital Copies
Anytime you use Simple Booth and aren't connected to the internet, the app will queue your uploads, text messages, and emails during your event. When you return to a reliable internet connection and open your app the queued items will start to send out.
If you’re looking for more help on printing from your photo booth, here’s a great article on how to print two photo strips per sheet.
Still have questions? For more support related articles, visit our Support Center.