So you’re finally taking the leap. You’re ready to spice up your event with an awesome photo booth! I’m sure you have enjoyed one or two at a friend or family, wedding, birthday party, or formal event, and you’re wondering what elements you should pick for the right photo booth. There are so many photo booths in the Chicago area and beyond, and it’s also hard to understand why somebody is charging $300 and somebody is charging $1500, for pretty much the same services. That’s why we came up with some questions that will help you get a better idea of how to differentiate all of them.
Here are some questions to consider:
- First and foremost: Is the date available? There is no reason to continue the conversation as long as the company doesn’t have your date available.
- What packages do you offer? Different companies in the Chicago Land area (and not only) offer different photo booth experiences, obviously every company does it it’s own way. Most of them have them posted on their website already, so you might check them out before starting a conversation! We are adepts of upfront pricing, and that’s why we even posted that info on our website – so that you, as a customer, can easily understand which package you like more (and also fits your budget).
- How many hours of actual “live” photo booth time is included in the price? You need to know for sure if the set-up is included or not in the price. Most photo booth companies out there include the set-up and tear down in this time… but you definitely need to know all the details before booking a photo booth company. Also, make sure you ask if the Set-up and tear-down are included in the final price.
- Are the booths enclosed or open? Enclosed booths have a camera, props, and backdrop inside a structure. An Open booth does not have a structure for privacy and can be in coordination with the event.
- Will there be an attendant at the booth? Know what to expect at your booth. Some companies send an attendant to manage the photo booth and the props table, in order to offer your guests the best experience possible. There are photo booth experiences – like our Social Booth, that don’t need an attendant… just because it’s so simple to use! Kids, adults, even older people can figure it out on the spot how to do that!
- Will the props be included? Some companies include props with the photo booth. Some may even customize the props with the theme.
You need to be aware that some experiences come without props (especially the digital photo booth).
- Is there unlimited printing? You and your guests can enjoy the booth for as long as the event runs. Make sure there is not an extra fee for the number of photos you may want to take.
Don’t fall in the trap of unlimited photos & unlimited printing, where the company will print just a set of 2 strips for every photo taken. Make sure that everybody that takes a photo will receive a copy.
- How large are the prints? The traditional photo booth print size is the strip (2×6 inches) with either 3 or 4 photos on it or a bigger 4×6 inches print – which is perfect for only 1 photo, 3 photos or 4 photos. Besides that, with the advanced technology, you can either get 5×7 prints, 6×8 prints, or a square print (5×5 or 6×6 inches).
You also need to be aware that some packages don’t offer any printing at all (for example our Social Booth – that will allow you and your guests to send the photos straight to your phone as a text message or email so that you can post them to social media)
- Do I get all the digital photos? There are 2 ways of receiving the photos: either get a link with an online gallery, or some companies might give you a USB stick. We stopped giving USB stick, just because people tend to lose them, and the online galleries are way easier to share with your friends and family.
- Have you been to my venue before? Do you know where to set-up and how much space do you need? We recommend a 10 x10 space for all the photo booth types available (especially for the inflatable/bubble ones). The more space you will dedicate to the photo booth, the more comfortable your crowd would be. We’ve done parties in all types of environments and places, and we remember one party where they had the photo booth in the laundry room. All the guests felt great and had a great time, that’s what matters.
- Do you charge for traveling? Most companies (based on where they are located) might charge a fee for the events over a certain amount of mileage (usually over 25 miles). Make sure you ask that before booking!
- How far in advance should we book your services? We recommend booking your services as much as possible in advance in order to have the option that you are looking for available. Sometimes, this is not the case, that’s why we started to specialize in last-minute events, in order to offer our guests the best experience possible, with very short notice.
- Do I need to put down a deposit? Every company requires a deposit, or full payment prior to your event in order to book the date for you! We require a $100 retainer – the day we book the date for you, and the rest needs to be paid 2 weeks prior to your event, when we start designing the template, and choose the backdrop that fits your event. Most important is to have an agreement with the photo booth company, so that they are liable. It happened to us before, when companies don’t answer the phone(or even the website is down) after taking people’s money. That’s just not acceptable!
- Do you have insurance? It is important to have insurance because you never know what can happen, so it’s better to be prepared. Most venues will require an insurance certificate from all the vendors that show up at your event anyways, so make sure you go with the ones that do photo booth professionally, not just on the side.
- What should I provide for the photo booth? Pretty often, everybody requires a power outlet, and sometimes just a table for the props. Some options, like our social booth, can run on their own battery for up to 4 hours if you have an outdoor event, and you don’t have any generators available.
Happy Photo Booth hunting!