start photo booth business

The Ultimate Guide: How To Start A Photo Booth Business

In Marketing & Business by Jon Connolly2 Comments

start photo booth business

I think we all can agree that making more money and escaping your day job would make life a whole lot better!

We all want to have more freedom, set our own hours, be our own boss and do work we love.

Right?

Well… Starting a photo booth business can make that a reality for you!

I’m not promising you’ll get rich off this idea or that it’s a piece of cake. Everything good in life takes hard work.

Maybe starting a business is a little overwhelming at this point. As a matter of fact – don’t buy a photo booth until you read this.

You might also want to make a simple photo booth for fun and think about the business side later.

Well that’s how we did it!

We started our photo booth business a few years ago after making our own DIY setup. With little effort in our first official year we 12X our revenue and easily paid back what we put into it. In our second year we 2X our revenue from the year before and now we’re on track to do it again.

I’m not going to lie – It wasn’t easy at first. We made a ton of costly mistakes!

These set backs cost us a lot of time, money and brand reputation. Several times we almost threw in the towel. Thankfully we didn’t give up!

Had we known what we know now, things would have been SO much easier!

Here’s The Deal:

The photo booth industry is still under saturated and those who are succeeding are either too busy or too afraid to share their secrets.

But we’re here to change all that!

We created this step-by-step guide to help photo booth business owners through every step of the way.

Think of this article as your ultimate guide to starting, running and growing your photobooth business.

We pinky promise to keep it fresh and free from ever getting outdated.

STOP! Bookmark this link before you forget!

What we’ll cover:

• The full inventory list of all the equipment you will need.
• How to start a photo booth business.
• How to make your own photo booth.
• Why you should start a photo booth on the side.
• Secret tips about choosing the right manufacturer.
• How to begin with very little money.
• All the costly mistakes we made.
• Various types of booths and features to make your brand stand out.
• How much money you can make expect to make.
• Real product reviews on all the best photo booth equipment.
• Where to find all the equipment and supplies at the best price.
• How to get started on a logo and website.

Our goal in this is simply to help you with any questions, concerns, challenges or frustrations you’re dealing with no matter what stage your at.

If you have a question at the end of this please leave a comment below. We’ll do our best to respond back with an answer to your question.

Ok so enough talking… Let’s jump right in!

Why Start A Photo Booth Business?

According to MPI about 18 million events and meetings are organized in the U.S. every year. This produces $280 billion in spending and $66.8 billion in labor income.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the event planner profession is expected to grow 10% from now to 2024 — a faster rate than the average growth rate for all occupations. Source

Here are a few reasons why we started a photo booth business:

1. The newer style of open-air photo booths are on the up-rise of popularity at events.

2. Easy to sell and simple to purchase

3. Easy to differentiate your photo booth company from the competitors.

4. Photo Booth rentals can be for all different types of events.

5. There is an urgency on the client to lock in their date with you because of the limited supply.

6. Good model to scale and repeat for growth.

7. The equipment is compact enough to store in someones house and portable enough to transport in a normal size car.

8. The learning curve for training and hiring attendants is cheap and easy.

9. All bookings take place over the phone or through email.

10. No need to trade your personal time for money and be at every event myself.

11. People can rent a photo booth any time of the day and any day of the week. It’s not just for weekday evenings.

12. Upfront costs to enter are minimal in comparison to other businesses.

13. You can quickly recoup your investment after several events.

14. People are obsessed with selfies and social media.

15. You can get accounts with clients who have recurring work and repeat business.

16. Good business model to scale up and sell.

17. You can start making extra money on the side.

What types of events will rent a photo booth?

Like I was saying before photo booths are not just for weddings. Weddings always seem to be the easiest client to get because its the thing to have at every wedding. So when you first get started most of your work will come from weddings. However, there are so many other opportunities where people could hire you. The entire event industry is massive! Every morning, day and night there is some type of event happening. Here are only a handful of events to consider going after:

Life Celebrations:

Birthday Parties, Sweet Sixteen Parties, Quinceanera, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Religious Celebrations, Anniversaries, Kids Parties, Baby Showers, Gender Reveal Parties, Pet Parties, Holiday Parties, Family Reunions, Family Celebrations, Graduations, Proms, Weddings, Wedding Showers, Rehearsal Dinners, Engagement Parties, etc.

Corporate & Non-Profit:

Seminars, Conferences, Trade Shows, Retreats, Workshops, Charity Events, Fundraisers, Church Events, Appreciation Events, Team Building Events, Promotional Events, Product Launch Events, Networking Events, Press Conferences, Award Ceremonies, Themed Parties, Office Parties, Holiday Parties, Trade Fairs, Grand Openings, etc.

Recreational Events:

Social Events, Community Building Events, College Events, School Events, Fun Nights, Galas, Festivals, Car Shows, Family Events, Fairs, Carnivals, Concerts, Park Events, Sporting Events, Theme parks, Travel Events, Cruises, Shopping, Formal Parties, etc.

Is there a demand for photo booths?

Heck Yeah! If you take a look at any event with teenagers or millennials you’ll see just how crazy they get! Google Trends even show us that photo booths have been rising in popularity over the years both in the US and Worldwide.

United States – Photo Booth 

google-trends-photo-booth-us

Worldwide – Photo Booth

Photo Booths have been around for a long time and are becoming the thing to do at almost every event. If you look at all the events in most major cities across the US it would be hard not to find photos being taken whether from a photographer, photo booth or smart phone. I think the concern usually comes from the term “photo booth” itself. This term is generally associated with the old school booths you went into as a kid. The industry has kept the title of photo booth but what they offer for events is far more advanced than one might think. So don’t let the term fool you! The classic photo booth has been reinventing itself time and time again. Need some validation before starting check out this article – Should YOU start a photo booth rental business?

How much money can you make on a photo booth rental?

You can find photo booth services on the low end ranging anywhere from $250-$500 on places like Groupon or Thumbtack. These are usually low end clients wanting deals. Companies selling photo booths at this rate are usually offering a lower end service or something with limited features. The more realistic clients who aren’t price shopping will be willing be spend $500-$1000.  Really nice events may have deeper pockets and are willing to spend $1000-$3000. It just depends on what all the client wants to include in their booth and if the booth offers something very unique.

How I got started in the photo booth rental business

We’ve been doing wedding photography for the past 10 years and back in 2012 we started noticing how much fun our clients were having with photo booths at our events. However, nearly every photo booth seemed like it was straight out of a carnival from the 90’s. Something just didn’t add up! They were tacky looking and the picture quality wasn’t good. However, we noticed regardless of these limitations all the guests were still enjoying it and having a good time. My theory is people love taking selfies and photos with their friends. So when you combine that with alcohol and social media, it does something magical. Nonetheless, we thought this would be a great add-on service to make our brand more memorable.

So we started searching around for the perfect photo booth manufacturer. At the time we couldn’t find anything on the market that met our standards so we ended up making our own DIY photo booth. In the beginning stages of building it our image quality was probably the highest priority. Since we were already doing wedding photography for our clients we wanted a seamless look between the two. However, because of this narrow focus we ended up buying really expensive gear and making decisions which shaped our entire setup.

Challenges We had to overcome

Our first photo booth setup

The full setup ended up becoming more like a pop-up photography studio. We had a 5d Mark II camera on a Manfrotto Tripod with a remote trigger. For lighting we had an Einstein Flash Unit wirelessly triggered with Phottix Strato II on an Avenger Light Stand with a 60” Westcott Umbrella. From there we added an Apple laptop with cables from Tether Tools toimport the images and display them on a second screen. We also ran the images through Lightroom to apply a personalized preset. Before you knew it, we added a printer, props, paper backdrop roll/stand, sandbags, tables, signs, backup gear, etc.

open air photo booth

Needless to say, it got really complex, really fast! Our image quality was awesome but our setup was overkill.

This challenged us but it didn’t stop us. It actually made me more invested in seeing it work. We kept doing more and more events and making small improvements over time. Eventually people began hiring us exclusively for photo booths outside of our existing clientele.

Here are some valuable lessons we learned through this experience

1. “Image Quality” though important doesn’t separate you enough from the competition. Don’t hang your hat on it. If you have to prove or educate to clients each time than it’s probably not worth your time putting effort toward it.

2. Offering a photo booth as a wedding photographer, DJ, planner or venue puts you at an advantage for “weddings” since most brides aren’t always thinking about getting a photo booth in the beginning.

3. An existing customer is more likely to buy something again from you since they trust you and are familiar with the buying process.

4. Every additional feature you add to your photo booth creates several other layers of complexity. Keep it simple.

5. We were limiting ourselves by focusing only on weddings which primarily take place on Saturday evenings. We wanted to start filling up our weekday calendar with other types of events.

6. Having a photo booth as an add-on of our photography brand was limiting our growth potential.

Final photo booth setup

Taking all of this knowledge and experience into consideration we set out to take things to the next level. We created an entirely new business and tested out several different photo booth manufacturers. After about a year of working through all the kinks it helped us to learn what we really needed and wanted in a photo booth:

1. We needed a photo booth that we could grow into and upgrade as new technology comes out. Buying an entirely new unit every time a tablet or camera updates was just not a practical investment.

2. We needed a system that would empower us to be self-sufficient. Being stuck to another companies way of doing things was causing us to become way too dependent.

3. We needed to bring the cost per unit down so we could get a faster return on investment and buy more booths.

4. We needed to fully understand what we owned so we could identify and fix every problem, make improvements, build systems and simplify our setup for training and hiring attendants.

5. We needed the guts (tablet, software, app, camera, lens, light) of our photo booth proprietary to our brand so we could differentiate ourselves from others.

open air photo booth

Because of our previous experience we were a bit skeptical but lets just say this company set the expectations right from the beginning. The photo booth arrived quickly. The setup was simple enough to figure out how to install it. There were some personalized things we did overtime to make it our own but once we got the hang of it we were off and running. It took more time on our end to research and put this one together but through it all we ended up having a much better understanding of our gear.

*If you’d like get a full list of all the products, prices and links email me at hello@photoboothtraining.com and I’d be happy to send you a copy. 

How much is a photo booth?

It’s hard to give a rough estimate without going into detail on what’s included. There isn’t one perfect way to make a photo booth. You could make it a thousand different ways and still get the job done. Here are some rough numbers though on what you could expect to spend:

* A DIY Photo Booth may run you anywhere from: $500-$2,500
* Pro Photo Booths with all the features may run you anywhere from: $5,000-$10,000

Again, these numbers are rough estimates because there are several ways to do this and there are several different products available both expensive and inexpensive. Our entire photo booth setup cost $7,000 and includes everything we need to launch a photo booth in a new location. This includes everything from the tablets, software, cables, accessories, supplies, camera, chords, flash, backdrops, stands, kiosk, photo booth, printer, media kits, carrying cases, bins, props, tables, signs, data card, tools, dolly, shipping costs and necessary backup gear.

*Note – Some professional photo booth manufactures will include packages that have everything needed at a lower price but usually when you dig into all the details of what you need for running it at events there are several lingering products and accessories that are not included. We encourage you to get your hands on a copy of our full list to get a better idea of everything you could expect to need at an event. Again, email me at hello@photoboothtraining.com to get a copy. I promise to make a downloadable version of it in the near future.

How much does it cost to start a business?

I must start off by qualifying things a bit by saying if you search other websites you may get differing opinions on costs. Most of these places are trying to sell you on buying one of their photo booths. So you will see prices that appear a bit more appealing at first glance. I am not trying to sell you on any particular photo booth shell. My goal is to share with you my costs for my particular setup. I am trying to give you the full start up costs of a photo booth business and all its accessories so you can make a wise financial decision.

Also, starting this type of business really isn’t that expensive or risky in comparison to other start-ups. I would anticipate having no less than $3000 to get this business off the ground. $1000 would make things official whereas the other $2000 can go toward start-up costs, initial ad buys, ongoing costs and a little cushion for cash flow. Your overhead on a business like this is next to nothing and you have the option to spread these costs out over time and only get the absolute necessities as you need it. In total if you were to get our entire photo booth setup for $7,000 plus your $3,000 start-up costs you’d be looking at spending around $10,000. These are conservative numbers yet we provide you with enough cushion in there to play it safe. You could use this as a base and add a little or take away some items but don’t be too frugal. You don’t want to get started on something like this unless you have the money to back it. Here are 5 Ways to Pay for your Photo Booth should you run into a pinch. Again, our photo booth setup is more in line with what you would expect to get from the Professional Photo Booth setup which I briefly detailed above. You could always DIY it or buy a used booth but you may end up having to charge less or make upgrades in the future because of limitations which may end up costing you more in the long run.

 

How long until I see a return on my investment?

Most businesses take several years before ever seeing a profit. However, if you do things right you should see a profit in your first year. But you have to focus on sales.

People won’t be knocking at your door the moment you own a photo booth. You have to go after them. Depending on how much you charge and what your market demands you can figure out your ideal pricing strategy.

Lets just say at the cheapest you ended up charging $500 per event and your profit was $300 after paying $50 for expenses and $150 for an attendant to run the event. You would have to do 40 events before seeing a ROI. Lets say you decide to do all the events yourself and not pay for an attendant and only incur the $50 expense. Then you would have to do only 27 events. Lets take it a step further. Lets say you charged $1000 per event. Your expenses were still $50 yet this time you pay your attendant $200 putting your total expenses at $250. This would give you $750 per event and only needing to do 16 events before seeing a return. Again, if you did all the events yourself you could have the photo booth paid off in 13 events.

What to expect for overhead and ongoing expenses

This is the best area where you can be cheap and clients won’t really care. There are plenty of ways to keep your overhead low and use free versions of software to keep things operating at a bare minimum. Here is a short list of some potential business expenses:

• Insurance
• Internet
• Annual Business Fees
• Props & Supplies
• Client Management Software
• Photo Hosting Gallery
BlueHost (Web Hosting)
• Photo Booth Software
• Social Kiosk Software
• Ad Buys

Choosing the right type of photo booth

There are generally two main types of photo booths: Open-Air or Enclosed. Everything else beyond this is usually a style, theme or feature.

Enclosed Photo Booths:

The enclosed photo booths are generally the more traditional photo booth people are familiar with. Sometimes you’ll see them in shopping malls or bowling alleys. They come in all different shapes and sizes. They have both a modern and old school looks. Enclosed booths are good for smaller groups. They are generally intended for couples and provide more privacy. At most we’ve seen 4 people go in at one time depending on how big they are. Enclosed booths work well both indoor or outdoor. The image quality usually isn’t as good because of the options for lighting are limited to direct flash. The enclosure frame can be just about anything… We’ve seen everything from old school VW vans to simple pipe and drape curtains surrounding a kiosk. The features of what an enclosed booth can do are sometimes limited but the styles and themes are endless.

Open-Air Photo Booths:

The open-air photo booths are generally more modern. They provide more flexibility and customizations. They are intended for individuals, couples and large groups. It all depends how big the backdrop is and how wide of a lens you have. Most photographers prefer open-air photo booths because they have more control over the lighting and backdrops. Having more room to work with provides photographers with more gear options and lighting setups. Just because it’s open does not mean the picture quality is better. It still depends on what kind of gear they have. Some open-air photo booths are even run by photographers. Indoor use is usually preferred but not always necessary. We have a photo booth lighting setup that works great for both indoor and outdoor use.

Photo Booth Styles:

Styles or themes are just that. They have more to do with the appearance. Some booths have LED lights that change colors, some are all white, some are vintage looking, some are made out of wood, some can be wrapped in custom vinyl graphics, some are framed mirrors, some are made out of old school phone booths, some are put inside of campers or vans. Styles are more about the visual attraction it can have at your event. These styles or themes can make booths very attractive but they may not have all the best features or gear you’re looking for. However, having something that is very different looking really can help set you apart and create instant buzz. You want people to remember your photo booth so having some type of style can be a great thing for your brand but it can also limit your audience. For instance a black tie event may not want something funky looking. You get the point.

Photo Booth Features:

Features come and go and their always changing. Think of features like when Instagram adds different options to their app like boomerang, live video, hashtags, filters, etc. Photo Booths at the end of the day are all about taking great pictures but sometimes there are new features that come out that make a photo booth more entertaining. Having a platform that is versatile enough to offer some features is great but you really want to perfect your core product feature. So choose what core feature you want your brand to focus on and become the best in the world at that.

Still Images – This is the most common feature a photo booth offers. It’s where one image or a series of images can be taken during a session. These images are then printed out or become digital files like jpgs.

Slow Motion Video – This feature will record video footage and play it back in slow motion. These make for very intriguing clips of people doing funny things. Depending on how many fps your camera can handle may determine what type of lighting setup you will need. After your event the video clips can be compiled into a trailer like video with music.

Video Recording – Some photo booths offer video recording where guests can record a short video of themselves. It can be to say a few nice words or do something silly. This setup usually has a constant light source and mic for recording audio.

GIF – This is a combination of images combined to make an animated GIF file. It can be anywhere from 3-5 shots taken just after a countdown timer. The software will combine and compress the images in order to create the GIF or video formated file for playback. GIFs are usually set to loop continuously.

Green Screen – A large green fabric material will be setup for your backdrop if you want to allow your guests to drop in custom images in the background. The software will transpose the green material for a graphic of your choice. It can be set to one image or multiple images where the guests can pick from. The green fabric at your event might not compliment your colors but the wow factor after they see their images is exciting.

Boomerang – This is like a GIF in that it compiles a series of images to play on repeat. The only difference is it’s recorded sometimes with video instead of still images and it plays through the scene normally then in reverse order then it cycles through on repeat back from the beginning. Anytime you play a video in reverse it makes for an interesting video.

360 GIF – Several cameras will capture an image from different angles at once and combine them into a GIF or video where you can see someone frozen in time but the the camera is moving around them to provide a almost like a 360 degree tour. This look can be done also with a camera on a sliding rack.

Instant Sharing – This feature is available with some photo booth apps and allows guests at the event to share their images via text, email or social media. This feature does require an internet good connection. Your venue would need to provide wifi or you may have to bring your own data card.

Kiosks – Kiosks or stations are typically tablets setup near the photo booth for sharing images. They keep the line at the photo booth from getting over crowded and guests can keep coming back to the tablet throughout the night to grab photos. Guests can usually share their images or make additional prints right from the kiosk. Multiple kiosks can be used for large events as well. Internet access would be necessary as well for something like this unless your app can share via bluetooth or a connection that doesn’t require wifi access.

Instant Prints – These are also referred to as print strips or printouts that print out instantly at the event. Normally they come in standard sizes like 2×6″ or 4×6″. Each print strip has its own unique template personalized for the event. The template normally includes anywhere from 1-4 images from the photo booth session. Printing can be set to automatically print however many copies just after the photo booth session concludes. Doing multiple images on one print strip allows for guests to get several shots without wasting much paper. Having 3-4 images on a printout is usually the way to go.

Single or Double Prints – Single printing usually allows for each session to receive one print strip regardless of how many people were in the photo booth session. It does not mean that everyone in the group will get a printout. Double prints usually means two print strips will come out after each session. The client can decide if they want the guest to take both or designated the additional print for themselves or a guest book.

Unlimited Prints –  Unlimited prints usually means the guests can print out however many prints they want from a session. However, one photo booth printer can only handle a certain amount of prints per minute. Taking requests for lots of copies isn’t always feasible at large events unless you have multiple printers. Be clear in your marketing and contract with how you define “unlimited” because expectations can be misunderstood both from the client as well as the photo booth owner.

Unlimited Sessions – You don’t always see this as a feature but sometimes it helps to communicate. This means there is no limit to the amount of times a guest uses the photo booth. Provided they wait in the line each time. It does not mean they can continue to hold up the line by doing several sessions.

Hashtag Printer – This feature is usually intended for stand alone hashtag printers. You choose a picture from your phone and upload it to Instagram with the events custom hashtag. (ie. #jackjillforever) The hashtag printer will then see your image and print out a copy instantly. This gives the guests more control over what images they want to print out.

Consider Storage Space and Vehicle Size

Before choosing a booth it’s important to consider what kind of storage space you have. At first it’s easy to assume all you need for an event is the photo booth but there can be a bit more that goes along with it. Having everything fit into a regular size car can totally be done. You just have to be smart about what products you buy and how you pack your gear. With everything piece of equipment we purchase it gets tested several times before making it an official part of our inventory. Here are some things we look for when testing out new products:

1. How compact can it get
2. How light weight is it
3. How time consuming is it to setup and take down
4. How well can it fit within our cart, car and storage space
5. How many times can we use it before having to purchase another unit or make repairs

The secret mystery behind Photo booth manufacturers

Essentially most photo booths are just fancy shells or casings. The actual guts of a photo booth consists of third party equipment that you put together. It’s not like you’re buying an apple product where it just works right out of the box. You will have to troubleshoot and understand the inner workings of your photo booth before doing an event. Give yourself some lead way before doing a paid gig. Possibly do a few free events to work out all your kinks.

What you will find inside your shell is usually a DSLR camera, tablet, app, strobe, printer and cables to connect it all. Once you understand how it all works you will have more confidence to understand what you can do to make your booth different and stand out.

Here are some important things to look lookout for before settling on a manufacturer:

• Make sure their cost per unit is priced well for a good return on investment

• Make sure they have a wide range of product offerings

• Make sure their product does not limit you to use only their technology

• Make sure their product can support future technology upgrades

• Make sure your business isn’t tied to rely fully on one manufacturer

• Make sure there are no ongoing monthly service costs

• Make sure you own it outright so you can sell it however you want

• Make sure you’re buying it wholesale or directly from the manufacturer

• Make sure it can take a beating and last a long time

• Make sure it’s compact, light and easy to transport and setup

• Make sure your manufacturer doesn’t have long wait times on their products that way you can scale for growth

• Make sure you have the freedom you need to make your brand how you want it to be

Don’t always believe the setup time

Another misconception we had before buying our first booth was how long the setup time takes. Some marketing videos don’t show you the full time it takes in the setup process.

To be honest the slick open air booths break down really well but they take more time to piece it together. Some of those boxy looking booths are actually easier to setup.

 

Should I Buy A New Photo Booth?

If your the type that is willing to learn on your own than buying a new photo booth would be ideal. Just make sure they stand by their product and provide a good return policy in case your not happy with it. Otherwise, it’s like buying a car without test driving it. Do your research and ask other photo booth owners what their honest opinions are and if they have any frustrations about their manufacturer.

 

Should I Buy A Used Photo Booth?

There are several places where you can buy used photo booths. I have never done it this way. The difference in price between buying new and used isn’t huge. If you go this route just understand you might be buying an older version of a product. Some models will look like their the latest version when in fact subtle changes have been made to newer versions that might not be as apparent. Remember these are just small businesses creating these booths and their having to be agile and adapt their product line to keep up with improvements. Since most manufacturers don’t provide model numbers you may have to figure out when they purchased the booth or contact the manufacturer directly to verify differences. Not trying to steer you altogether away from buying a used photo booth. Several people get into this and circumstances happen where they no longer need or want the photo booth. In those cases it might be an ideal situation to buy used especially if it’s one of the latest versions on the market. Try to find one locally so you can test it out.

 

Should I Buy A Franchise or License?

To be honest I don’t have much experience with buying a Franchise or Licensing business names or systems. If your the type that has very little experience owning a business and is terrified of messing up this might be a good alternative to look into. The value in going this route is your buying into a proven formula that has been tested over the years by other successful business owners. If your a rule breaker and want to be free to explore and do your thing then this might not be a good solution for you in the long run. Typically the rules, systems, products and brand guidelines are put in place for the purpose of helping you succeed and keeping things consistent. If you go this route just make sure to do your research and commit to the process.

 

Should I Build My Own Photo Booth?

Yes!!! As much as we love our professional setup we also are several years into this and our needs are much different. Building your own photo booth isn’t very difficult or expensive. We chose to build our first photo booth expensively but learned over the years you can build one in a very simple and cost effective way.

We’re going to be putting together some diy photo booth tutorials where you can learn step-by-step how to create your own photo booth. In the meantime check out the recommended gear page. In the meantime here are some of the main components that make up a photo booth excluding the photo booth enclosure or stand:

Photo Booth Camera

This is the most obvious of them all. The camera in your photo booth can be anything from a point and shoot camera to an entry level DSLR. We like to use the Canon Rebel T5i with our setup. iPad’s are also being uses on all the newer simple booths since you can integrate it right into an app. Really any camera you can get your hands on is going to be your best bet. You can always upgrade this later on as your needs change.

Photo Booth Lighting

Depending on what camera you get will determine what kind of lighting setup is needed. Flash and Constant lighting are generally the two different types of light options. If you’re using a DSLR then a flash strobe is going to be ideal. If you go the route of using an iPad then a constant light source may be more appropriate. I personally prefer using flash because it prevents motion blur and tends to make the images brighter and sharper. You can also get away with having an inexpensive camera or lens if you have a really nice lighting. However, flash is more confusing to learn and has potential for causing technical issues. A constant light source is typically easier to understand and is a great place to start. Constant lights also allow you to work with video features where flash lighting doesn’t allow for. Ring lights are being used on all the new ipad photo booths with a dimmer to set the brightness level. They both have their pro’s and con’s. If you’re interested in learning more about photo booth lighting check out our Secret Tips to Improve Your Photo Booth Lighting Setup.

Photo Booth Computer

If you’re using an Apple iPad or a Windows tablet like a Microsoft Surface Pro this will serve as both your computer and display screen. This tablet will typically sit just under the camera so people can see their images immediately after taking a photo. If you wanted to have a bigger screen to display your images you could get a projector or big screen monitor but you will still need a computer to run the software and manage the images as they are being taken. Again this means more gear an setup time which isn’t always ideal. The most basic form would be to ditch this altogether and just use the camera to take the images and deliver them after the event without showing them instantly. It’s not as fun for the guests but its certainly makes for an easy photo booth to setup.

 

Photo Booth Software

Depending on what type of computer setup you go with you’ll need to figure out what the best software or app to use. There are several new programs on the market for this. Check out this article to find out What Photo Booth Software is Right for Your Business? Most of the programs provide free trials for you to test out before making a purchase. I definitely recommend you try before you buy. What I mean by that is test the program out at several events before committing. We had so many issues with our second photo booth. After about a year we figured out the biggest issue was the software. We highly recommend you give Darkroom Booth a try if your setup uses a Microsoft Surface Pro. You can check out our full review on Darkroom Booth and why we love it so much.

 

Photo Booth Printer

Not every photo booth comes with a printer. Sometimes clients just want the photo booth itself. Meaning something to take and display photos, props and a backdrop. However, if you’re wanting to run a business renting photo booths then it might be hard to not offer any prints. Prints are the one thing guests get to take home with them. Anyone throwing an event will really value giving their guests something tangible to take home as a keepsake. There are several printers on the market but the DNP 620A is our favorite. We purchase them from B&H since they usually have the best prices. This printer is pretty compact and can go an entire event without having to change the roll. It all depends how many prints your doing and what size print strips you choose. Media Kits for these printers run about $50 per two roles. We get all our media kits at Foto Club. Again cheapest we could find on them.

Photo Booth Backdrop

A backdrop can pretty much be anything. Sometimes clients will opt out of you having to bring a backdrop to their event because they DIY their own. Or their venue has an interesting looking wall they can use instead. My favorite backdrop is an 8×8 Portable X-Frame with the white muslin material. I love this one because its so easy to setup and transport around. It can also take a beating and no big deal if it falls over. One thing I learned from a photographer friend to spray it with a bottle of water about an hour before the event. That way you can get all the wrinkles out. The downside to this setup is your limited with backdrop options. Our second favorite backdrop stand is the Backdrop Stand X Bases by ShutterQube. This one is really durable and crazy fast to setup. Great for using with a wide range of backdrops. The poles are a bit long. We’ve been using this ski bag to protect the poles but are still looking around for something better to carry them in.

Photo Booth Props

propsProps can be the difference maker between looking cheap and looking professional. If your unsure about adding props to your brand don’t do it. Let your guests get creative or bring their own. People generally don’t mind bringing their own props to their events. Sometimes they like the idea of personalizing the prop selection for their guests. If you decide to provide props make sure to choose ones that will hold up. We have two booths at the moment and we spend about $350 a year to refresh them. Anything that has delicate details will break and need to be replaced. Wood, pvc, hard plastic and sturdy foam core tend to hold up best. Make sure the material doesn’t have a shine to it because the flash will pick up glare. You can find some really cool stuff on Etsy and Amazon. Be sure to check our full list of props at the bottom of our recommended gear page.

Additional Supplies & Accessories

So you’ve seen first hand some of the core elements that makeup a photo booth setup. But what about all the other accessories and supplies? What about the photo booth enclosure, the cables, adapters, stands, tables, signs, bins, dolly, tools, cases, etc. For all that and more it’s probably best that you download our full inventory list (see below) which details out every single product we use for our complete photo booth setup.

Conclusion

If you’re feeling like this is something you could see yourself doing full time or on the side then what are you waiting for? Is it fear of failure, lack of finances, busyness, laziness… Whatever it is don’t let it stop you from achieving your dreams. I’ve heard someone once say, hesitation is the enemy of hustle. The good news is your not in this alone. We’ve been in your shoes and we’ve helped a ton of other entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses.

Here are some simple next steps:

1. If you have serious questions we want to help. Ask any question in the comment field below and we’ll do our best to respond back promptly.

2. Choose to tackle one thing from this list this week. Put it on the calendar and hold yourself accountable. Starting is the hardest part!

3. Email us at hello@photoboothtraining.com if you want the full inventory list.


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Comments

  1. I have been looking at the “magic mirror” booths. Do you have a view on those? They seem like they have some real attractions for users/

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