Best Microphone for Your DSLR or Mirrorless Photo Booth

Choosing the right wireless microphone system can significantly enhance the audio quality of your photo booth, ensuring every moment is captured clearly and professionally. In this guide, we explore the top wireless mic system that are perfect for photo booths, highlighting their key features, benefits, and what to consider when making your selection.

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If you’re a photo booth rental business owner looking to enhance the quality of your video guest feature, you’ve come to the right place. In most photo booth applications, the video confessional or video guest service often remains underutilized. However, it holds immense potential as an exciting and engaging addition to your array of services.

Based on my own experience testing many different systems in various conditions and environments, I can attest to the transformative impact of using a high-quality wireless microphone. Video has become a highly popular format, offering a dynamic and fun way for guests to leave messages and share moments. By incorporating a top-notch wireless microphone into your DSLR or mirrorless camera setup, you can significantly elevate the audio quality of these video features, ensuring crystal-clear sound that enhances the overall experience.

It’s important to note that this article focuses specifically on photo booths that utilize DSLR or mirrorless cameras for taking pictures/video, rather than webcams or tablet-integrated cameras. If your setup includes the latter, be sure to check out our other article tailored to those needs.

Enhance your photo booth service offerings and make the most out of the video guest feature with the best wireless microphone solution available.

What to Look for in a Photo Booth Microphone?

When selecting a microphone for your DSLR or mirrorless photo booth setup, there are several key features and qualities to prioritize. These considerations will ensure you deliver exceptional audio quality for your video guest feature, enhancing the overall experience for your clients.

Audio Quality: The primary goal is to achieve clear and realistic audio. We want the microphone to capture voices accurately without altering the tone or introducing any distortions. High-fidelity sound that remains true to the speaker’s voice is essential.

Noise Rejection: Events are often noisy, so a microphone with excellent noise rejection capabilities is crucial. It should isolate the voice of the person speaking while allowing a slight amount of ambient noise to create a natural and lively atmosphere. This balance helps maintain a professional yet vibrant audio experience.

Reliability: There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering a malfunctioning microphone just as the event is about to begin. We need a microphone we can trust to work flawlessly every time. A reliable microphone that consistently performs well reduces stress and ensures a smooth event setup, allowing you to focus on your clients.

While other features can enhance a microphone’s performance, these core characteristics—audio quality, noise rejection, wireless convenience, and reliability—are essential for an effective photo booth microphone. If a microphone meets these criteria, it will be a valuable addition to your photo booth services.

Sennheiser EW 135P G4

For those looking to get straight to the point, the microphone system we’re recommending is the Sennheiser EW 135P G4 Camera-Mount Wireless Cardioid Handheld Microphone System. This microphone system stands out for its exceptional audio quality, reliability, and ease of use, making it an ideal choice for enhancing your photo booth’s video guest feature.

In the following paragraphs, we will delve into the specifics of why we chose this system, highlighting its advantages and potential drawbacks. We’ll also provide real samples from actual events to showcase its performance in various settings. Whether you’re dealing with noisy environments or looking for a system that’s simple to operate, the Sennheiser EW 135P G4 has proven to be a reliable and high-quality solution for many photo booth professionals.

Pros and Cons

This section will provide a balanced view of the Sennheiser EW 135P G4, outlining its advantages and possible limitations to help you make an informed decision.

Pros

Reliable: I have used this microphone for at least 17 events, and it has never failed. As long as I check the batteries and plug in the receiver, I’m ready to go. This mic works every time, regardless of the conditions, even in rooms with multiple wireless systems.

Capsule and Polar Pattern: Even with speakers close to the photo booth, you can hear people’s voices clearly, while background noise is minimized. The dynamic capsule requires physical sound waves to create sound, which helps focus on noises closer to the mic and reduces unwanted ambient noise.

Trustworthy Brand: Sennheiser has been in the business for many years, with unparalleled experience and knowledge in sound devices. The reviews for this product and many others are excellent, their support is top-notch, and the warranty is solid. It’s a brand you can rely on.

Integrated Transmitter: Unlike many other systems where the transmitter plugs into the bottom of the mic, this microphone has the transmitter integrated. This results in a less bulky setup and makes it easy to sync with the receiver. Plus, it has fewer buttons and options to cause confusion.

Hidden On/Off Button: Previous microphones I used had the on/off button on the handle, leading to guests accidentally turning off the mic. This mic has a hidden button, preventing accidental shutdowns and ensuring that you don’t have to constantly check if the mic is on and working.

Receiver Size: The receiver is compact and thin, almost like a cell phone. This makes it easy to place inside the photo booth without any issue. Despite its small size, the signal remains strong, ensuring there is no compromise in sound quality.

Wireless: As photo booth owners, we understand the hassle of managing multiple cables. A wireless microphone significantly simplifies setup and operation. It makes it easier for both attendants and guests to handle the mic without the risk of tripping over cables or accidentally dislodging the booth setup. The convenience of wireless technology enhances the overall user experience.

Cons

Very Expensive: The Sennheiser EW 135P G4 system can be prohibitively expensive for many, with a price ranging between $650 and $700 USD. While all wireless systems tend to be pricey, this one is among the most expensive at the prosumer level. There are, of course, more expensive professional-grade microphones available, but those aren’t necessary for most photo booth applications. Depending on how much you charge for the video guest feature, you can likely recoup this investment after 3-4 events.

Short Battery Life: The battery life for both the microphone and receiver is not great. After a 3-hour event, the batteries are usually around 80% drained. You’ll need to invest in a high-quality set of rechargeable batteries to avoid the continuous expense of disposable ones.

No Case Included: Despite the high cost, the system does not come with a hard case for storing and transporting the transmitter and receiver safely. You’ll need to purchase one separately, which can add at least another $50 to your investment. It’s crucial to get a case to protect your equipment.

Not Drop Resistant: Although the microphone is well-built with metal and hard plastic, it is not particularly resistant to drops. Its relatively heavy weight means that falls could cause significant damage to both the transmitter and the microphone itself. This is a common issue with many professional microphones. To mitigate this risk, consider using a mic stand to prevent guests from holding and potentially dropping the microphone.

Camera Settings

When using a DSLR or mirrorless camera for your photo booth, it’s important to understand that the audio for your video will come directly from the camera, not from the tablet or PC running the application. To ensure optimal audio quality, follow these guidelines:

Audio Connection: Ensure your camera has a 3.5mm jack to plug in the audio signal from the Sennheiser EW 135P G4 microphone system. Most modern cameras include this feature, allowing for easy integration.

Optimizing Audio Input: The preamps in most cameras are typically not of the highest quality and can introduce noise. To combat this, you want to send the clearest and strongest audio signal possible from the microphone while minimizing the camera’s internal audio gain. This setup helps reduce noise and improve the overall audio quality in your video.

Testing and Adjusting Levels: You’ll need to experiment with your camera to find the optimal audio input level. The goal is to reduce the incoming audio volume on the camera to avoid unnecessary noise, but without compromising the final volume in your video. It may take a few tries to find the perfect balance.

Example with Canon M50 Mark II: Here’s how you can set it up on a Canon M50 Mark II:

  • Plug the wireless receiver’s output into the 3.5mm mic input on your camera.
  • Go to the camera’s menu and find the audio input settings.
  • Lower the camera’s audio input levels to a minimum.
  • Gradually increase the output volume from the wireless receiver until you achieve a strong, clear signal without distortion.
  • Record a few test clips and play them back to ensure the audio is clear and at a suitable volume.
  • For my photo booth volume 5 works perfect.

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