The Photo Booth rental market is easily one of the fastest growing parts of the event industry. With minimal overhead to get started, and a dramatic increase in the amount of resources available to photo booth entrepreneurs and owners, new companies are popping up weekly. As this market becomes more saturated, competition has become fierce. This is good and bad for the consumer who is looking to book a photo booth for their event. As my Grandfather once said, “Good ain’t cheap, and cheap ain’t good.”
Selecting the right company to provide your photo booth can be overwhelming at first, but just remember a few things. Even though a cheaper rental rate is desirable, you shouldn’t solely shop by price. Visit photo booth websites that service your area, narrow it down to 3-5 companies you think are a good fit, and then start asking questions.
Here are 8 questions you should ask every company before booking your booth:
- How long have you been in business and are you solely a photo booth company? Every new photo booth company has to work out the kinks, similar to a new restaurant. Its takes at least two years to create a problem-free photo booth business and should be a guideline for booking. You want a company with a nice track record of successful events. You should also find out if this company ONLY books photo booths, or do they also book DJs, lighting, trolleys, etc. A lot of event companies try to wear too many hats and don’t focus solely on one thing, like their photo booth rentals. We have seen this time and time again and sometimes you give up a lot of quality with these types of companies.
- Do you have reviews /references? Any reputable company should have no issues directing you to their past reviews and previous clients. We live in a world where consumers live and die by reviews and just being able to read other clients feedback always provides insight and peace of mind.
- Are you local to my area, or are you a national chain? This is always an area of concern as national photo booth companies lack local knowledge of venues. Its so important that your company knows your venue and understands where the best place to set up would be. Most of this is dictated by an event planner but again, local knowledge is invaluable.
- Are you licensed and insured? The majority of event spaces and venues will require all vendors to carry liability insurance. This is an easy way to eliminate less professional businesses and ultimately to protect yourself from incidentals. The chances of something happening during a photo booth session are clearly low, but stuff does happen and when it does, your photo booth company should have you covered.
- Do you have a contract? Probably a no-brainer, but every single photo booth booking should always be governed by a contract. A lot of companies will have verbiage in their contracts regarding photo booth malfunction during the event. We have seen contracts that state that as long as the photo booth functions properly for up to 50% of your event, they are covered. We encourage you to read before you sign as a photo booth that works half your event, doesn’t make anyone happy.
- What is your back up plan when there is a problem at my event? Remember that every photo booth has dozens of moving parts and is comprised of a lot of equipment thats is working simultaneously. Stuff will malfunction and break, especially with less experienced operators and lesser quality equipment. Do they have a back up booth available in case of an emergency or malfunction?
- What exactly is included in my rental? ALWAYS make sure you know what you are getting. Its common practice for companies to charge a base fee for a photo booth rental and then “a la carte” the extras. These items should never been considered “extras” because you are booking the whole photo booth experience and they should always be included. I will elaborate a bit more in the next question but always make sure you receive: 1) Free access to all of your media, 2) A photo booth attendant, 3) Unlimited photo strip printing, 4) All props to be included 5) No additional charge for delivery, set up, and break down 6) How many hours is my photo booth rental?
- And finally, how much do you charge? So many companies charge “hidden” fees for just about everything listed above and more. These are used car salesman tactics and when you start to see these types of fees applied on top of a photo booth rental rate, run for the hills. These types of companies will nickel and dime you to death and frankly are not worth the time it takes to understand their “hidden” fees and the hassle of trying to figure out what you are receiving.
- What kind of equipment do you use. are your booths homemade? This absolutely, 100%, is the MOST important question you need to be asking. First off, homemade booths CANNOT operate at the commercial capacity that is needed. The components of a photo booth make or break its performance and the majority of companies cut corners or simply use equipment that is not commercial-grade and isn’t designed for the volume and wear and tear of commercial events. Furthermore, you will give up SO much quality in your media. The camera and the printer being used are of utmost importance! Here are the questions you need to ask:
- What kind of camera do you use in your booth? EVERY photo booth should have a DSLR or SLR camera. Period. The use of web cams, iPads, or any other type of camera will lead to the same quality you could be taking with you own smart phone. Ask what kind of camera they use and google it.
- What kind of printer do you use? Another critical component of any photo booth is the printer. The only printer any professional photo booth company should be using is called a Dye-sublimation printer. No questions asked. Here is an article from a very reputable company outlining the type of printer your company should be using. “Top 7 Dye-Sub printers for Photo Booths“
- How often do you refresh your props? Photo Booth props get overused and can become disgusting. You do not want your guests to have to put on a viking hat thats been worn for the companies past 27 events. Always ask. Dirty, old props are no bueno.
- Does your photo booth utilize a “pipe and drape” box? This is really a matter of preference, but always ask. Pipe and drape booths can really be an eye sore in your carefully decorated venue. They also tend to be confined and limit how many people you can have in one picture. Pipe and drape booths also make the photo booth experience much more difficult for your older guests and lastly, no one can see whats happening! You don’t want your guests on the side to miss the fun because they are all hidden in a box!
HAPPY PHOTO BOOTHING!
If you ever have any other general questions regarding photo booths, feel free to give us a shout! We will always provide our “2 cents. “