You've seen them in movies, at Vegas Casinos, Disneyland, anywhere there is fun happening! Now, on the most fun day of your life, you too can have your own photo booth. Yes, photo booths are a hot item at finer weddings today. This trend is growing as brides look for ways to make their wedding reception special and fun for all.
Part 1 – WHY A PHOTO BOOTH?
For over 100 years the traditional four-shot photo strip has captured and preserved unique memories like no other photographic product. In addition to capturing memories, its real value is as a form of entertainment.
Not everyone likes to dance at a wedding reception; goofing off in a photo booth provides just enough privacy to allow people to loosen up and play without feeling self-conscious. What's more, its appeal is cross generational; everyone enjoys it! If the booth has a gimmick like props, green screen or the booth speaks to them, visitors are much more likely to let their guard down. This makes for more spontaneous pictures. There is just something about getting shoulder-to-shoulder behind a curtain which creates a sense of camaraderie and fun, where people feel they can let go a little and enjoy a shared experience.
As the photo strip prints out, everyone loves seeing themselves. Most companies include the name and date of the couple at the top of each photo strip so each goes home with a keepsake of the wedding. In many ways this replaces the need for cameras on the tables and usually provides much better and more interesting pictures. The Bride and Groom typically get a collection of all photos taken by way of a photos disc, photo book or through online access. Not only does this offer them a look at how much fun their guests were having, but it captures those rare moments when family and friends, who are not often together, intermingle through the fun of the photo booth.
Part 2 – HOW TO SHOP FOR A PHOTO BOOTH?
First understand that not all booths are created equal. There is a large range in pricing, which is usually (but not always), an indicator of quality. A select few are full-time businesses, but for most this is a side business. While this means that there is a photo booth for every budget, to avoid being disappointed it is important that you define which features YOU feel most valuable and that you compare several companies and ask plenty of questions. Here are some differences to ask about:
- APPEARANCE – There are booths, boxes, tents, pipe & drapes, kiosks and even a "pod"! Some photographers will set up a photo station where they take portraits and call it a photo booth. Be sure you see what the booth will look like; if none is featured on the website, there is probably a good reason. While the rate may be better for your budget, be aware of what is going to show up at your reception first! What you do not want is a surprise. Most brides spend months creating their perfect reception and do not want it spoiled by an unsightly product.
- FUNCTION – Each company will have their own special features to make their booth stand out. Find out what's available and decide which features you like best. Ask what special features come with the booth; Props, Green Screen, Speaking Booth, Video, Scrapbooking, Etc. Also ask how many photos it takes, whether it prints single or duplicate, are props sanitized (there are health concerns with reused props) and ask how the photos are delivered (DVD or online). Be sure and see examples of photos taken in the booth.
- PACKAGES & PRICE – There will be many similarities from company-to-company but each will include different extras for the price. Some will up-sell from a menu of options, some are all-inclusive. In my opinion, best practice is that there should be no extra charge to receive the digital photos from the event. A key feature of renting a photo booth should be that the photos are included. At the very least, know ahead of time what you will be getting. The prices range anywhere from $ 700 to $ 2000, but a quality 4-hour booth rental usually starts around $ 1200. When choosing, factor in booth design, special features and number of hours included. Do not assume it's the same number of hours for each company.
Part 3 – HOW TO USE A PHOTO BOOTH FOR A WEDDING?
Place the photo booth in an area of the reception where it will not interfere with other events like the cake cutting or dancing. It should be easily accessible, but out of the way of the action and service staff.
As is true with a wedding DJ, 4 hours of photo booth entertainment is usually just right. I recommend starting the booth during the cocktail hour. This gives people something fun to do and they become aware of the booth which will draw them back through the evening. Unlike the dance floor, the photo booth will attract guests throughout the dinner hour. After dinner there is usually a surge at the booth, so starting your 4 hours at cocktail hour gets the most out of your photo booth.
Usually in the last hour of a reception more interest in focused on the DJ and the dance floor. If traffic to the booth is slow, a simple announcement from the DJ will usually get things going. Not all booths look like a typical photo booth so guests might not be clear what it is. Once invited, it's usually a big hit!
Photo booths are fun, they make people laugh and provide everyone with valuable memories! Informed shopping requires a little buyer knowledge and some comparison. If you are working with a planner, be sure and let her know your interest in a photo booth and get her opinion as to which companies she is comfortable recommending.
Rest assured that wherever your focus is on quality of photos, appearance of the booth, entertaining features, price or a combination thereof, there is a solution out there which is just right for you. Be informed about what you are buying and be sure that you are comfortable with the professionals you've chosen to hire, and you'll have a great experience with your photo booth! For years to come, you and your guests will treasure your special day each time they run across their photo strips. Rent a photo booth today!