With so many photo booth companies on the market, it can be quite stressful to be sure you’re booking the right one. You should have the necessary knowledge to weed out those that are not worthy of your hard earned mullah! Our team has created a list of what to ask before renting a photo booth for your wedding or event.
IS YOUR BOOTH ENCLOSED OR OPEN?
A Retro Booth is what is considered ‘enclosed’. It is literally enclosed with a hard shell, a built-in bench, background, and privacy curtains. Much like the photo booths you would find in a mall. Mostly they are hard to move around because of their size. We built ours so it can come apart and be set up just about anywhere. Even if we need to climb a flight of stairs to get there. While they are harder to move around and setup, they actually take up less space than their open style counterparts. Our retro booth takes up only 5ft x 3ft of floor space, and can fit as many as 10 faces in a photo!
An open-style booth is one where the components are setup in a pedestal style enclosure that is place about 8ft away from a large backdrop. This is the more popular version these days, as it allows larger groups to fit in to each photo. Everyone in the event can see what is going on at the booth. It’s not closed off by privacy curtains. This in turn attracts more guests to the booth.
Check out our Open Air Vs Retro Booth post to better understand the difference between the two before booking.
What size are the prints? How many are included?
Photo printers can shoot out prints in as little as 10 seconds each, but what size is and how many are you getting with your rental? Many companies will say they include unlimited prints but does that mean each person in the photo gets a print, or is it unlimited sessions and each session gets one print? Are the prints 2×6″ duplicates or 4×6″ cards? Can you upgrade to larger sizes? What about square prints? Can you get one image per print or does it have to be a multi-photo layout? Will having one image per print cost extra?
Depending on your budget and the type of event you’re hosting, you may want a ‘casual’ print style like the retro 2×6″ 3-photo-duplicates, or you may want a nice large print for guests to put on a shelf or hang on the wall.
To add to the mix, you can also choose from different paper finishes: Glossy (default), matte, pearl, luster, and even metallic!
Be sure to ask what kind of printer is used. The printers we use for our photo booths are the same ones you’ll find in a photo printing kiosk like at Walmart (those blue and yellow ones). They use a technology called Dye Sublimation and print out a 4×6″ photo in about 10 seconds. The photos are ready to handle immediately with no drying time necessary.
What is included with your package?
Before booking you need to know everything you’ll be getting at the listed price. A low price can sometimes mean hidden cost or poor service offerings. A list of services provided should be given to you.
What kind of camera takes the picture?
Some booths use a high quality DSLR camera with professional lenses, some use a medium level camera, some even have a tablet that takes the photos.
You can get fairly good images from a tablet’s camera, but these are mainly used for digital-only services such as a boomerang gif booth, or special FX videos where the key is to create shareable content at a corporate event or promotional activation.
For events where the photos are meant to be long lasting keepsakes such as wedding, bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversaries etc, a good DSLR should be used.
What kind of lighting do you use?
Without good lighting, the photos may be illuminated, but does that mean you and your guests will actually look good?
Many booths have lighting built-in, but it might not be the best quality lighting. It’s usually very direct and harsh, blowing out details, and creating shiny hotspots on foreheads, noses, and cheeks.
We use our experience with portraiture to setup studio lighting that is flattering to the subject, and creates a keepsake your guests will cherish.
The photo booth can look amazing set up in the venue, but if the output doesn’t make your guests happy you could have skipped the booth altogether.
will i get all the images after the event?
Some companies offer a USB key with all the images, some upload it to their facebook page or a separate gallery page. We post your photos to a password protected gallery. We include the composite photos (the digital copy of the prints) AND the individual high resolution photos from each session so you can make large reprints or albums with high quality files.
Will there be an attendant with the booth?
Some companies will assign one or two attendants to provide the best experience for your guests. Some others will have one available in case something goes wrong. And some will leave the booth unattended. It’s a good idea to know what to expect. If you ask this question inquire about the dress code as well.
How long does setup take?
Are there any places you can't get the booth into?
Depending on the complexity of the booth, background, props, and load-in route into the venue, setup can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Some companies might charge extra to load in to a place that might require a flight (or more) of steps to get into.
Are you insured?
Some venues require outside vendors to have insurance to provide services on the premises. The Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum have this policy. Make sure you know if your venue needs it, and that your photo booth vendor has it before it’s too close to the event date for them to get one.
What is your backdrop selection? How is your background hung?
The background can make or break your photos. After all, it’s a prominent part of the photos, showing a lot of it when a small group is taking photos. A well designed and produced background is key to getting photos you’ll love. Make sure you know which background you’re getting, and make sure they are showing the one you’re getting, possibly with samples where they used it before so you can see the real outcome.
Ask how it will be hung. Will they use flat bases for the stands, or tripod legs that may be a tripping hazard? Will the bases be weighted so the background wont fall over easily? How wide will it be? You need a minimum of 8ft of width to get a group of 5 to fit comfortably.
What does the setup look like?
One of the most important things to ask! When planning an event you take special consideration and spend good money making sure it’s has the look and feel you’re after. Room background, centre pieces, floral arrangements, signage and branding for corporate events, and so on. Make sure the booth, background, printer stand, and prop table will look like they belong at your event. The look of the equipment is as important to the experience as is the output.
Also ask about the booth attendants’ attire? Will they show up in a t-shirt and jeans, suit, uniform?
Do you have a contract I can read before booking?
Make sure you know all the terms and conditions of your agreement with the vendor so everyone is on the same page an knows what is expected.
Also ask how they take payment, what kind of deposit you need to give (if any), ask about their cancellation and refund policy. All these things should be covered in their contract. If they take only cash, and have no contract for you both parties to sign, be wary!
IS this your full time business or a side gig? How many years have you been in business?
Ask the vendor if this is a fun side hustle for them or if they are relying on the success of this business to pay their bills. This will tell you how seriously they will take your event and trust.
Ask about the length of time they’ve been in business: Is the vendor a seasoned pro or just cutting their teeth and learning how to run the equipment at your event?