You've got a big day coming up and you know that you really want a photo booth, but thats about it. You don't have any clue where to begging looking? We'll i've just been through this painful process and hopefully the things I learned will help you make a better decision.
The tough part about finding the right photo booth for us non technical folks is that with something like a photo booth the technical details are actually important. The quality of the picture and your experience will depend on some of the technical details. We're going to walk through some of the important questions to ask yourself and also the photo booth company to make sure that whoever you hire is a perfect fit for your event.
Firstly you need to start with some basic questions about the purpose of the event and how you want the photo booth to be used. This is pretty simple, but I always find lists helpful so I thought I might as well provide one.
- Purpose of event?
- How will the photo booth enhance the event?
- How/when will my guest use the booth?
- Where will the booth be placed for maximum usage?
- Do I want prints or socially shared photos?
- How much am I willing to spend ?
- Do I need the booth all night or just for a few hours?
These questions may seem basic, but take the time to put real answers down I promise it will help out in the long run. Getting thoughts down on paper always helps me when I'm working through a decision like this.
So now that we know exactly how this booth is going to be used and why it's going to be totally awesome for our guest we can start drilling down into some of the details about the booths themselves.
First thing you're going to need to ask the photo booth company is
What Type Of Camera Are You Using?
This question might seem daunting to the non technical user, but believe me it's an important one. I'v been to plenty of events when this question was not asked and the photos printed were of terrible quality. Most professional companies these days will use a DSLR which stands for Digital Single-Lense Reflex. DSLR camera's are known for their high quality images. If a company is using a DSLR it means they were not afraid of spending money on quality, which is a good sign for you. If they are not using one, then simply ask some questions about why they do not. Many other camera's are capable of taking high quality shots and the company may have a valid reason for using a different type of camera. The purpose of these questions is to get the company to start talking with you about their equipment and to see if they really stand behind their quality. And also to see if they really know their equipment well. Another great tip here is to check out the photos on the companies sight. If you look through several different companies you are bound to see some that are dull and lifeless and some that really pop. Notice those differences and look for the company that has the vibrant colors that you expect out of your photo booth. If a company displays poor quality images on their website guess what, that was the best they had. Meaning you're going to be getting something that quality or lower.
Checking into the camera is definitely not a step you want to miss and remember even if you're not technical the point here is to get the conversation started and let them educate you. You want to make sure that when you choose a vendor you feel comfortable with their equipment and expertise. You are not the expert, so let them prove it to you. One of the best ways to let them prove it to you is by viewing their previous events.
Here are two examples which one do you think is using higher quality equipment?
What Type Of Printer Are You Using?
Not asking this question up front has undoubtely caused tremendous amounts of pain over the years. Grainy and blurred images are not every brides dream, yet sadly it happens more then you'd think. Typically printers will fall into one of two categories, Ink Jet printers and Dye Sub printers. The qaulity is often hard to distinguish at first, but the processe's behind each printer yield very diffrent long term results. Ink Jet printers have wet ink on the photo when they print out and are likely to smudge. They also are not as durable long term as Dye Sub prints. Dye Sub prints also won't fade in the sunlight or be damaged by spills.
Dye Sub printers also print faster then ink jet printers which can mean more people get through the photo booth and get their photos. When your talking to your vendor about the printer make sure they know the pro's and con's of their machine and ask them how they deal with printing speed if their using an Ink Jet? Maybe they have two running so that people won't have to wait so long for prints.
How Long Will You Be At My Event?
This question is one of those classic fine print type of questions. I've seen photo booths being rented in all types of diffrent time frames. I've seen them rented by the hours, for four hours, by the half day, by the week ect. It's always important to know exactly how your company is going to charge you. Do they include set up and tear down in that time? Or is that time only including the photo booth taking shots? A friend of mine hired a photo booth for her wedding reception and they thought they had the booth for four hours, but apparently that included an hour for set up and an hour for tear down. Be wary of the fine print!
Other Things To Look For
Do they charge extra for props and backgrounds?
Can their booths post directly to social media? I've found this company offers social media posting or even the ability to text you the pictures.
Do they offer scrapbooks or flip books?
Hope this little guide helps you make a better photo booth decision and helps you avoid some of the common pitfalls!
Here's a fun picture of the photo booth at my wedding!