Selecting the Best Photo Booth for Your Event

Why would I want a photo booth at my event?

Renting a photo booth for special events is becoming increasingly popular. The Examiner summed it up well in an article last spring:

“They serve as both entertainment and historian, serving up fun to guests while recording the event’s memorable moments.”

A photo booth captures a side of your guests that they feel comfortable letting loose with a little privacy and is the perfect way to have photos of all your guests and give them a fantastic keepsake. At a wedding a photo booth does not replace a traditional wedding photographer, it enhances the event experience for guests while capturing high-quality photo images for the wedding couple (and guests!) to enjoy for years to come.

What should I look for in a booth?

A photo booth should be suited to three main aspects of your event: your location, your expectations, and your budget.

  •  LOCATION The first thing that you have to assess is whether or not there is a photo booth available in your area (the answer is likely yes!) and if so whether there are any additional costs for transporting it to your venue. Then the question is where you will put your photo booth. Some photo booths are unable to be moved up or down stairs and across grass, while others can accommodate more remote locations. They will always require a power source, usually a standard wall outlet, so make sure one is available. And while you are checking for wall outlets, make sure the space can accommodate a fairly large object as most photo booths take up about 5’x5’ or more and often require space for a table beside them. Popular locations are entrances and foyers.
  • EXPECTATIONS What are the products that you expect to have at the end of your photo booth experience? Any photo booth rental should provide an on-site attendant to make sure the booth is functioning properly and to assist your guests if needed. Most photo booths offer a variety of services that may include props for your guests to use, photo guestbook-making services, online galleries, and digital copies of your photos. And different booths produce different prints. Some produce a traditional 4-frame vertical strip, some have 6-frame prints, and some produce two identical 4-frame strips. Most companies offer customized borders that allow you to have your names, a special date, or a brief message. Be very clear about your expectations and a good company will try to accommodate you as much as they can.
  •  BUDGET Depending on where you are, a photo booth will typically cost between $700-$2000 for an event. If your date is flexible, many photo booth rental companies have great sales in the wedding off-season (November-March) as much of their business comes from weddings and graduations. If your date is during the high-season you will most likely have to pay the full rate and it is best to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment. The price may seem high but as long as you shop for the features you want and find a price that fits your budget you will be handsomely rewarded with rave reviews from friends and family who had a fantastic time making memories in your photo booth!

What can I do to ensure my photo booth is fun for my guests?

The most important thing you can do to ensure your guests will have fun with the photo booth is to let them know it is there for them to use! Have someone make an announcement about it or have a reminder on place cards, make sure it is somewhere accessible, and encourage your guests to use it. Most photo booths are free for guests to use and include unlimited photos once they have been rented People can be shy about asking how much the booth costs to use, so make sure people know that it is free!

You can add personal flair to your photo guestbook by providing your own props and accessories for people to use. Props that reflect your hobbies or a theme for your event really help to bring out everybody’s silly side and make for very memorable pictures. Going somewhere special for your honeymoon? You can’t take everyone with you (thank goodness!) but you can have them there with you in spirit by having honeymoon destination-themed props!

Finally, make sure that you book enough time for all of your guests to use the photo booth (without feeling like they are in line at the grocery store...yawn!) and choose a period of time that makes sense for the rest of your event schedule. Having a photo booth during a meal hour can be a waste unless you have it booked for the entire event and a slow period is acceptable. Having the booth available for your guests to use while you are having formal photos taken can be a fun way to fill their time, and after-dinner and into the evening is popular as people have a had a chance to relax and often the official wedding photographer has left.

Where can I find a fabulous photo booth?

There are currently two businesses offering photo booth rentals on Vancouver Island:

Garden City Photobooth is located in Victoria and uses an Open Air Photobooth & Privacy Enclosure. www.gardencityphotobooth.com

Island Photobooth is located in the Comox Valley and uses a Model 12 Photobooth. www.islandphotobooth.com

I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you have any questions at all please feel free to contact me directly. Good luck with your special event planning!

Eden Ratson, Co-owner & Operator for Garden City Photobooth gardencityphotobooth@gmail.com

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