Adding a Photo Booth to my Biz

Hey again everyone!  I apologize that I have not posted in a while, I have been busy living and loving life.  In a couple of my past posts I know I have mentioned a company that rents photo booths in the Ann Arbor area of Michigan.  I actually ended up working with them for a bit on a couple projects and after seeing their set up I have decided that I am going to move forward with the purchase of my own booth.

There are many ways to go about the whole photo booth business.  I can not believe how many options there are.  It is just like anything else though, once you start learning you start to have a better understanding of how everything works and then you can decide which direction to take.  My biggest issue is trying to decide whether or not to build my own booth or if I should purchase a fully inclusive unit where they include it all.

For anyone else out there that is a bit confused I will share what I have figured out.  There are several different parts that make up a photobooth.  I am probably generalizing quite a bit but for simplicity sake I think that will be the best way to go.  Listed below are all the separate parts that make up the most common type of photo booth set up.

  • Case/Enclosure
  • Webcam/DSLR Camera
  • Laptop computer or Desktop with Touchscreen Monitor or a Tablet/iPad
  • Photo Booth software for running the booth.  Darkroom is the name of the most widely accepted software.
  • Some type of Flash or Flash Ring
  • Dye Sub Printer or Laserjet- the former is the best option since it is much faster and does not smudge after being printed.
  • For enclosed booths you will also need some type of curtain and rod system to give the guests more privacy.

That pretty much sums up everything that when compiled into one package is a photo booth.  There are many companies out there that offer all of these things in one package to make it easier to purchase but with that convenience comes a higher price tag.  I am still trying to decide if the convenience is worth the trade off in cash.  Something else to keep in mind is customer support.  If you do have trouble with some part of your booth is the company that you purchased from going to actually help you or will they send you to the individual companies that originally made the part that is damaged.  I found one company that offers a one year warranty that is redeemed directly through them and then after that one year they promise to lend you any part that you need while your part is being repaired which I thought was pretty cool.

The 3 most important things to me while I look at this purchase are…

  1. Versatility– Since this is my first booth I would like it to be a lot of different things. I want it to function as an enclosed booth, an open air booth, a video booth, slow motion booth, green screen booth and social media sharing station.  I have come to find out that most of these functions are just a matter of the right software and not so much anything else.
  2. Portable Size– I do not own any type of trailer or truck so it is very important that the booth that I purchase is small enough to carry and transport in a passenger car.  Now a days there are plenty of options for this so it has helped me narrow down my choice but still not to the point where I know exactly which model to purchase.
  3. Price– This part is tricky because I know that I could save quite a bit of money if I buy an empty shell or enclosure but it does seem to be much easier to just buy the full package. Also, time is money so if I do put one together myself how much time will I be spending on putting it together and going around buying everything.  That is all time that I could be spending on finding potential customers.

I will be making a decision within the next couple weeks and will be sure to update when I do.  I know that most people will say that you can not get a great booth for under 10K but I am not sold on that line of thinking just yet.  The models I am looking at are around 8K and they seem to have very similar attributes.  I am also looking on Craigslist and eBay to see if anyone is getting out of the industry.  Maybe that way I can find something similar for around half the price.  If you have any insight on the matter I would love to hear from you.