Okay, I don't have any pictures set up yet, so I'll try to be simple about my explanation of what I'm planning to do...

First, this idea started a few years ago when one of the hometown reporters came and did an article on us, complete with a photo of customers getting scared, right on the front page of the Community section. It got me thinking about putting in a camera and taking photos for people to purchase after they exit the house.

I looked around at getting a used system from an amusement park that closed near me, but couldn't get through to anyone who would know about it. I looked for used systems online, new systems, just about anything I could think of. EXPENSIVE was not even close to describing it.

So, here's what I've done to make my own:
Bought a DSLR (canon) camera on craigslist for about 100 dollars. it's 5 years old, but it's REALLY nice, and the guy kept it in great condition.
I went with a Canon because they have a utility to see the pictures on a computer screen, and to even take the pictures through the computer, so no need to hotwire the camera shutter button :-)

Quality printer and photo paper, also from Craigslist, for about $150

Two old computers, win2K and NICs were free, cause I'm a packrat and never throw old and outdated stuff away.

a relay to a sensor that's already in the House. That's pretty much the main stuff. THere's also mounting bracket for the camera, a little cart/Kiosk for one of the computers and monitor, where the customer gets to see their picture and decide if they wanna buy it.


Okay, here's how I've got it set up(well, still setting it up atm..) first, the relay will trigger one computer to click the shutter on the camera. THis is done by a weird concoction that's simpler to show with a picture, so we'll skip ahead.

The camera takes the picture, and via usb it sends the info back to the first computer, which is located around siix feet away from the camera, hidden... NOW, THE TRICKY PART. I have to network the two computers so that I can get the distance to the Kiosk, since usb has a max distance of a few meters without a hub or repeater. With the network, and ethernet, I get a LOT more distance for no extra cost. But since I'm using two old computers(read: single core cpu's), the constant writing of the image files to one computer, and trying to access it from another becomes a hassle.

To ease the stress off of one computer, I'm saving the files to the second computer, in the kiosk,via the network. The kiosk computer has a better processor, but it's still not the greatest, so I may even go so far as to use one of my own dual core pcs for that. This way, I have the computeing power to show the pictures to th customer and print them out, while the data is being transmitted to the kiosk from the House.

It's not pretty, it's not the best way, but it's something affordable and easy enough to set up.