What to consider when shopping for a Photo Booth
Photo Booth usage has exploded in the last few years. From weddings to corporate events and brand activations, it’s almost a given that there will be a photo booth to experience at some point in the night. Which also means there has been an explosion in photo booth choices. That’s good news, because you are able to shop and compare many different services and find the best fit for your wedding or event. But now for the bad news, not all booths are created (or priced) equal. Here are some quick tips for what to look for when hiring a photo booth company.
Open air vs enclosed Photo Booth.
Some people insist that it’s not a photo booth unless it’s enclosed and your guests are trying to cram as many people into the booth like a tiny car at a clown convention. We use to think this was the case too, until we started to see the quality and advantages to having an open air booth. Open air booths can accommodate more people, be placed almost anywhere at a venue, and offer better lighting and backdrop solutions than a traditional booth.
Did you find a booth that offers service for much lower than everyone else? Or maybe you found them on Groupon or Thumbtack. Many of these booth companies are not professional booths. They offer poor quality photos, have outdated software, use less than average lighting, beat-up props and often don’t interact with the guests at all. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Speaking of lighting.
Some freestanding or enclosed booths offer a simple front facing light or basic flash, which doesn’t always create the best lighting environment. More often, open air booths, offer real photo studio quality lighting. Providing superior results when it comes to the final print out. Some of our clients have even referred to this as “magic” lighting. Which is why we prefer the professional studio lighting. If you don’t care so much about the final quality output of your photos, there are less expensive booths out there that offer this type of solution.
Props and backdrops.
If good props are important to you, make sure to ask the vendor about their prop selection. We’ve seen some pretty sad, low quality prop collections out there, so not every booth is the same when it comes to options for your guests. We are always adding to our prop collection and retiring older props that look overly used or broken. Also, when considering your backdrop selection think about your theme and don’t get too complicated. We sometimes find that people really pop against the more simple backdrops.
The Booth Attendant.
Does the booth come with an attendant who is fun and engages with your guests? Are they there all night? Do they get those social juices flowing with those shy guests who need an extra nudge when posing for the camera? Make sure to find out how many attendants you get with your package and ask them how they interact with the guests.
Are they a legit business?
Is the booth you are hiring insured? Some venues will require that your vendor provides proof of insurance. If the booth can’t offer proof of insurance, run the other way! Most often venues require at least a 1 million dollar policy. And if for some reason the booth causes damage to the venue or a guest gets hurt and sues, you could be liable for the damages if your vendor is not insured. Of course, check Yelp, WeddingWire, the Knot, previous customers, etc. Do they have good reviews? Are people generally happy and engaging with them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter?
Event coverage time.
We generally recommend 3 hours for a party of 100-150 people. If the booth is near the bar and accessible during cocktail hour this is a great time to get the party started. But sometimes having the booth right next to the reception area and dance floor get the most bang for your buck. Some booths offer idle time at a lower rate to save you money if the booth is idle during the ceremony and dinner, so make sure you ask about this.
What add-ons do they offer?
Do you want a scrapbook or photo book of your photos? What about video, animated GIFs, green screen, external monitors, social media? Todays booths do so much more than just spit out a 2×6 or 4×6 print out.
Unlimited photos vs unlimited prints.
Yes there is a difference. Many booths offer unlimited photo sessions all night. That is, no one is restricted to how many times they can come through the booth. But how many print outs do they actually get? One or two per session seems to be the norm. Some booths, like Photo InstaBooth, offer unlimited prints to all guests, all night.