1. Know your event type. Yeah… this seems obvious, but not all photos booths are ideal for all events. What’s right for a sweet 16 may not be ideal for an elegant wedding (based on look or functionality). Some of the photo booths have automated “fun” comments that appear on screen. A message like “your outfit is on fleek” may be great for a teen event, but outright dumb for a mature adult crowd.
2. How much space you are working with? Some venues have limited space especially when your RSVP guest count nears a room’s capacity. Modern “open air” styled photo stations often have a small footprint, especially the Mirror styled booth. Know your back-drop size too. Very often a photo booth back-drop can be eight to ten feet long and tall requiring proper wall space to set it. When you have a big room, though, take advantage and fill dead space with a custom and spacious photo station.
3. Cheaper isn’t always better. Competition amongst photo booth vendors is getting fierce. Prices have been dropping to remain competitive, giving clients the ultimate win as they get to save big money! However, know what you are getting. Ask the following questions:
- Will the photo booth be available for the entire event or only limited hours?
- Will a dedicated attendant be on site the entire time? (not the same person who should be focused on DJing your event)?
- Regardless of how quickly you can setup your booth in an ideal situation, will the attendant be on site a minimum of an hour early to setup and deal with unexpected hurdles that can arise?
- What’s exactly included? Scrap book? Frames? Unlimited Prints? Ability to post to social media and text to the images? Props for guests to use?
4. Speaking of props… are they fresh or re-used? This may sound silly, but all too often sweaty guests put on hats, boas, sunglasses, etc. and pose for photos. At the end of the party, the props get boxed up and sent to the next event. Gross!
5. Ask to see setup photos of the booth prior to booking it. In many cases, (especially with upscale events) hosts spend a fortune on decorations, theming, and an attractive venue. There’s nothing worse than a giant hideous photo booth becoming a focal point and eye sore within a party. Many services offer a “pipe and drape” enclosure for a booth. Too often, though, the setup is cheap looking, old or even clashes with the event’s color scheme. A close friend of mine has said to clients “do you want an attractive photo booth to match your event’s feel? Or, would you rather something that looks like it should be at carnival for Madam Cleopatra’s tarot card reading?” While he says this in jest, the point is 100% true. To make this point clear, I suggest you to go to google images and type “pipe and drape photo booth” and look at some of the results.
6. Ask if backup equipment will be on site. Most photo-booths consist of a complex combination of computer hardware and software combined with camera equipment, lighting and printers. Technology has a mind of its own. From time to time, things happen. It’s imperative to have back up equipment at the event.
7. Is the company you are hiring insured? While this may not seem important to some, if you are hosting your event at a reputable venue, it’s very likely they will ask all of your vendors (including photographers, DJs, decorators, and photo-booth) to provide a certificate of insurance. Without it, they may not be allowed in the venue. This is certainly not something you want to be dealing with the week of your celebration.
Don’t make a mistake hiring the wrong business when it comes to photo booths for your once-in-a-lifetime event. Commonly, photo booth pricing range from $500-$2500 per event. Custom photo “activations” are really a huge hit when an event calls for an out of the box concept. Now-a-days, the technology allows for giant photo stations and petite roaming kiosks. In fact, you can even hire a photo-bot to stroll your event taking pictures of guests. Prints, Gifs, Texts, and Social Media posts are all options for the output of your booth. Do your homework. Work with professionals and most of all enjoy!
Written by Michael Langsner, Vice President of Xplosive Entertainment, an upscale DJ based entertainment firm based in NJ. Xplosive Entertainment hosts over 300 events annually with photo booths or photo stations roughly at 50% of these celebrations.