Photo Booths
Article thanks to Kaitlin Jones Bride Online Columnist

Everything You Need to Know About Photo Booths

Photo booths are a cool and contemporary way to capture fun, staged images of your wedding guests.  Though this method of photography is a modern wedding trend, the photo booth “boom” actually occurred more than 80 years ago!

(Courtesy clubhenblog.com)

The Allure of the Photo Booth

For smaller weddings, the photo booth may take the place of the reception photographer, but more commonly than not, the booth is an added bonus for guests and the married couple alike.  Playing to the celebrity in us all, photo booths give guests a chance to really show off in this momentary bit of limelight.

The best attribute of a photo booth, like an old Polaroid camera, is the instant gratification of seeing the printed image strip immediately after the photo is taken!  Guests are usually provided with one copy of the photo strip, while a second is immediately secured in an album for the newlyweds.  A photo booth album is sure to bring lots of laughter for the wedded couple for years to come!

The Photo Booth is Your Oyster

Much like traditional wedding photographers, there are hundreds of photo booth vendors with hundreds of different styles of booths ready to make your wedding photo dreams a reality.

The most common set-up is a “booth” made out of hanging black curtains.  The company comes with the curtain rods and drapes for three walls, placing the camera in the open space (usually against a wall at the venue).  This creates a seemingly 4-walled “booth.”  The camera is then hidden inside of a large box-like cover that also contains a television monitor that shows a preview of the image.

More expensive models resemble the actual booth, with wood or plastic walls, a portion of curtain that you draw back to enter the booth, and a small bench to sit on while a similar monitor shows guests a preview of the images and a countdown prior to the picture being taken!

Less expensive models may have only one large curtain backdrop, and a professional digital camera set up on a tripod, with no monitor preview.  These cameras usually operate on a timer, or via a remote shutter release (like a 1-button clicker).

Because of the varied styles of booths and custom package options, the pricing of a wedding photo booth may range from $500-$1200.

When to Book

Like traditional photographers, you should consider booking with a photo booth provider at least 6 months prior to your wedding at the very least!  The 8-12 month window puts you in a prime position for securing a booth on your special day, along with ample cushion for your wallet in placing a deposit!

Commonest Photo Package Options

Photo packages are customisable for your desires, but photo booths usually come with unlimited prints and a minimum of 2 hours of operation.

Standard Options Include:

•    Personalised photo strips with names, dates, short phrases, monograms, or logos.
•    Photo strip printing in color or black and white.
•    On-the-spot printing with most companies!  Simpler models (see above) may take hundreds of photos that are edited by photographer and presented at a later date.
•    Make-as-you-go Scrapbook!  Photo strips are printed twice, one for guests and one that is immediately placed into a scrapbook for the newlyweds!
•    A USB flash drive or cd with all images for newlyweds to keep.

Bonus Options (may include extra fees):

•    Extra customisation with photo strip frames, advanced design work, etc.
•    Prop collection for sillier images.  Props from fake mustaches to feather boas add a little extra spice to the film strips!
•    Extra film strips or enlarged prints, printed after the event.
•    Online image gallery (for 3-6 months).

Standard and bonus options will vary from company to company, but you’re practically guaranteed unlimited prints at the event, and all of the images in some sort of digital form after the event.  It’s a pretty great deal for a crowd-pleasing, high-energy “photographer.”

Extra Tips to Take into Account:

•    SPACE!  Make sure your reception venue has enough space for your booth, props, and album-signing table if you choose those options!
•    Outlets!  Some booths operate via camera battery, while others have television-preview setups.  Be sure your reception location meets the electrical requirements for your booth prior to booking.
•    Attendants!  I’m not talking about your bridesmaids and groomsmen.  For larger, bulkier booths, or for those with lots of bells and whistles, it is important to have an attendant to man the booth.  Attendants may help set-up and break-down the booth, organise props, and keep the photo-snapping and album-signing running smoothly.
•    Personalisation!  You may note the kinds of photo packages shown above, but some companies will also allow you to use the final image in the strip for your monogram, logo, or artwork.  Most couples have their names and date of the wedding imprinted on the top or backside of the strip!
Finally, the booth is a place for fun!!!  As the newlyweds, you should take the reins and show off how cool the booth is with some funny starting images!  There’s nothing worse than paying however much for a high-tech photo booth, and having guests be too timid to use it!  With a little nudge from the happy couple, the rest of the group is sure to have a great time snapping silly sets of photos in the photo booth!

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