When searching for a photobooth for your event you may find yourself asking questions like, “Where should I look for one” or “How much should I spend” Before you ask those questions, you need to ask yourself a more important question, “what are my goals to reserving a photobooth?”  If your goal is to have some enclosed thing that takes images and spits them out on paper for your guests to take home with them, then your search is simple.  Go to Groupon or go to an event-specific website and find the cheapest booth possible.  Your goals will be achieved, and you will be happy.

Most people do not have any goals in mind.  They know they want a photobooth and are not aware that there are differences so they choose the lowest bidder.  Most assume that all photobooths are created equal.  They are not!  People have been enamored with photobooths since they have been introduced to private events at a fair price point.  During my interactions with hundreds of clients, planning special events ranging from communions to weddings and every possible corporate type, I realized one important thing people want a “photobooth experience” not a photobooth.  I almost forgot this when I was expanding my photobooth inventory. Initially, I was tempted to purchase a cheaper solution to increase profits.  This aspect of the industry was new and there were not that many manufacturers.  I remember purchasing booths that never made it to an event.  We always run through test customer experiences with our staff and there were at least two booths that failed horribly.  Customer experience is everything!  Golden Note does not have a photo booth division, we have a photo booth experience division.  I am thankful that I do not make any purchase decisions until our production, sales, and customer service staff are consulted and that our new products or services do not go on an event until our entire team experiences the new enhancement as guests.

What photobooth experience should you look for?

This should be your mission statement.  

I want to rent a photobooth that will allow the maximum number of my guests to enjoy everything that a photobooth offers.  It should add to my event, not subtract from it. Also, it should give me and my guests memories and keepsakes that I will fondly enjoy forever.

You may think that this is a tall order, but this is the exact statement that I used to purchase my booths.  So, this said, here is what you need to look for.

Minimum or 4 hours

Many of your events will be either four hours or four hours plus cocktail hour.  That said, you want your booth to be there for your entire four-hour reception.  Many photobooth providers will offer a two-hour package. The only reason to offer a two-hour package is to offer you a cheap option to get your business and then get the other two hours when you see how much fun your guests are having.  You will find that the additional hours may be at higher rates than the initial two hours.  You will often find it would have been cheaper booking a four-hour package.

Aesthetically pleasing

You have taken the time and effort to pick the perfect tablecloths, linens, and what seems like 1,000,000 dollars spent on centerpieces.  Your entertainment company has provided decor and effect lighting that makes your room look stunning! You gaze over your room and in the corner, you see a huge metal box that says, “photo strips here”. You will see strips on the booth of people that you do not know who happen to be related to the manufacturer.  Another possibility is that there is no booth, but just a big green backdrop that looks like an eight-foot by ten-foot car air freshener next to the bar.  Why would you add a blemish to your perfect room?  The right choice would be a pipe and drape system that can blend into your decor or even better it can be accented by your lighting provider to match the rest of the room’s lighting.

Good camera – image quality

What takes a better picture, a $29.00 web camera or a $650.00 DSLR camera? Yes, that was a rhetorical question.  The answer is obvious.  Many booths use web cameras.  Why? To reduce costs.  Try this…take a picture of yourself standing 5 or 6 feet away from your computer with its webcam, then print out a 1.5 by 1.5-inch copy of it.  See if you can recognize any of your facial features.  That is what one of the photos on your strip will look like.  Do the same with a DSLR.  Let your eyes be the judge.  If you are going to create memories and keepsakes, let them be worth keeping.

Can be expanded or reduced.

I am a big guy…getting smaller…. but still above the average height and weight of males.  My wife’s height on the other hand is below the average of women.  There is nothing worse than not being able to fit comfortably in a metal photobooth. While attending an event as a guest, my wife said to me, “What idiot designed a booth that a 6-foot-4 guy has to be in by himself?”  Your booth must fit at least 2 normal-sized people comfortably.  On the other side of the spectrum, there are booths out there that can only be the size of a NYC studio apartment.  The one-size-fits-all idea does not work for mobile photobooths.  It needs to fit the vision of the client and the constraints of the venue.  A booth with a range of 4 by 5 up to 6 by 8 is a good booth.

Always an attendant

Some booth providers will offer a “no attendant “option.  Why? It’s cheaper.  See the recurring theme?  Having a booth attendant is not an option, it’s a necessity!  This person is the ambassador of “the experience”.  Their responsibilities include items such as ushering the guests in and out of the booth, putting together your scrapbook, and handling the technical aspects of the experience such as reprints and paper refills.  Without the attendant, who will explain to grandma how it works, prevent friends from work, who hits the bar one too many times, from putting their finger through the screen, put together your photo album keepsake and immediately fix the paper jam caused by a shaving stuck in the roll from the production line?

When choosing a photobooth or any other upgrade to your event, do it right, or don’t do it.  If you cannot satisfy at least these criteria, do without a photobooth.  You will find that if you keep the “experience” in mind, your whole event will be more enjoyable. When your event has concluded, make sure you can say to yourself, “My event was perfect”. Don’t say, “Everything was great, but the photobooth…”