Need Help Renting a Photo Booth?
So you're ready to rent a photo booth for your wedding, bar mitzvah, party, or _______(fill in the blank). What now?
It's time to look at all the different photo booth features, possible hidden costs, and most importantly what you want in your photo booth rental.
Importance of Quality
1. Quality Construction of the Photo booth
After spending thousands of dollars on your special extravaganza, the last thing you want to see is an eye sore in the middle of your banquet hall.
Make sure you see pictures of the photo booth that will be at your event. Some photo booths are made of aluminum and cloth and you would stand in them or there will be a bench inside it for you to sit. Others are made of wood and you can sit inside it. And lastly there are the original, metal, classic model 12 & 14 photo booths that were popular in the 60's.
a. Size Matters
Find out the dimensions of the photo booth and the weight. Some photo booths can only fit 2 people snuggly while some photo booths can fit up to 8 or 10 people. (Tip: It's more fun with more people). The height and width is important because you want to make sure it clears the entrance and any narrow hallways.
The weight is important because this affects mobility of the booth. If your event is upstairs, it might be impossible to bring the photo booth upstairs. For example, the original model 12 photo booth weighs 700 lbs!
2. Quality Camera Shots: DSLR Cameras vs. Point & Shoot
Find out if the photo booth has a DSLR (Digital, Single, Lens, Reflex) camera or a digital, compact camera aka a Point and Shoot camera. DSLR cameras cost more but produce much better quality shots. DSLR cameras have better lenses and a larger image sensor which produces sharper, professional shots especially in low light conditions like inside a photo booth.
3. Quality Prints: Dye-sublimation AKA Thermal Printers vs Inkjet Printers
Another important question to ask is the type of printer used in the photo booth. Dye-sublimation printers are better than Inkjet printers. Here's why:
- Special UV coating - delays fading from sunlight
- Water and fingerprint resistant - pictures estimated to last 50 years
- Prints faster - less wait time for your guests & more pictures taken/hr (Our dye-sub. printers spits out pictures in 8 seconds.)
- Photo-lab-quality prints - these same machines are used in retail stores
(Possible) Extra Charges & Extra Options
Be sure to read the contract and ask about any additional charges. Photo booth rental packages vary from company to company and it's easy to overlook or confuse which features are free and which aren't.
a. Extra Hours - The average photo booth rental is usually 4 hours, sometimes 6. The rate for additional hours is usually $100-$150/hour.
b. Early Setup Time - Photo booth rental companies usually set up an hour before the scheduled start time. If you want them to come earlier, there could be a charge of $25-$50/hour for "idle time". (FYI-This money compensates the onsite technician for working earlier).
c. CD copy - Some companies offer this as part of their package, some companies charge upwards of $75 for a CD.
d. Personalized Artwork Banner - This is an important feature to ask about. This should be included as part of your package. Adding a special personalized message to the photo strips makes them more meaningful and fun!
e. Delivery Charge - Delivery is usually free within 40 miles round trip. This means if your event is further than 20 miles then you will be charged $1.00 to $1.50 per mile.
f. Double Prints or Copies - This is not to be confused with double strips (which is one print with 2 strips of duplicate pictures - See Image Below). This is definitely an extra cost because it requires more printing supplies. This is typically offered in a higher priced rental package.
g. Different Picture Layout
The most popular formats are the 4 pictures print in a 2 by 2 layout and a scrapbook format with 2 duplicate strips of 3 pictures. The 2 strip copies are perfect if you are having guests make a scrap book. The print is cut straight down the middle. The guest keeps one strip as a party favor and the other strip gets glued into a scrapbook. Some companies might tack on an extra fee for this format, so ask which print format you get with their packages and ask what other formats are available.
h. Online Gallery Hosting
The availability varies from company to company. Ask if this is an option and if you can access one of their galleries.
Check to see if:
- it's easy to use - a slideshow option makes it easier to view
- it's password protected - this protects the privacy of your guests
- the images are of high quality
- the images can be downloaded for free or not (Rockstar offers them for free)
- reprints can be ordered
i. Choice of Color or Black & White Prints - The black and white prints give the pictures the an old fashioned look. The color option is usually what most people prefer.
j. Inside Live Preview Monitor - You want to make sure you get an idea of how the photo booth actually operates.
k. Outside Live Preview Monitor
- How do guests start the photo booth?
- Will guests know when the pictures are taken?
- Do they have enough time to pose?
- Will they see what their poses look like?
- This option also varies from each company; some companies might not even offer it. (Rockstar offers it free of charge).
It's a plus to have because it keeps guests outside the photo booth entertained. Curious guests waiting in line can catch a glimpse of the zaniness inside.
l. Props - Props can add another dimension of fun to your photo booth rental. Guests can adorn novelties such as over sized sun glasses, feathered boas, and crowns. This option is usually extra or in a higher priced package. If you are looking to save some money, you can always purchase your own props. Here's a list of possible props:
- feathered boas
- king crown
- funny glasses (oversized, nerdy, mustache, etc)
- hats (sombrero, pirate, viking, fireman's, farmer's, etc)
- Hawaiian flower leis
- inflatable toys (swords, musical instruments, etc.)
m. Projector and Screen - Another way to liven up your event is to showcase all the pictures taken from the photo booth in a slideshow. It's usually an added cost or offered in a superior package.
n. Scrapbook - This is arguably the best part of having a photo booth at your event. At the end of the night you get an instant photo album filled with candid pictures, heartfelt messages, and beautiful memories. Sometimes this is offered as part of the package, while other photo booth companies charge for it. Ideally you should purchase your own, since it's something you will look at for years. You want it sturdy and one that you can decorate and customize to your own liking.
Tip: Craft stores like Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics have great scrapbooks. Get one in your favorite colors or one that matches your wedding colors.
If you have any questions or comments on this article feel free to message us below. We love to hear what you want in a photo booth rental.
Happy Photo Boothing!
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