Pros & Cons of Different Wedding Photo Booth Setups

photo booth scrap book

Here’s something I know for sure: Photo booths are a hit at weddings. I’ve seen them take all different shapes: The traditional photo booth that spits out photo strips, a camera manned by a professional with photos you can grab online later, a DIY option with a camera and a remote for you to take photos yourself, a Polaroid on a tripod that gives you a single photo, etc. ¬†

Robert and I know we want some sort of guest photo setup — we’re just not sure what to prioritize when it comes to photo booths.¬†Here are the pros and cons, as we see them.

Traditional Photo Booth

Pros

  1. People LOVE to cram themselves in photo booths.
  2. Enclosed spaces can result in sillier photos. (People are willing to make all sorts of faces when shielded by a booth.)
  3. It’s fun to take three photos in a row.
  4. Your guests get a hard copy.
  5. Photos can double as an addition to a guest book.

Cons

  1. They’re usually expensive! I’ve seen photo booths run around $1,000.
  2. You’re dealing with the finite parameters of the booth, which could prove tricky in some spaces.
  3. There’s often no online presence, which is too bad in a Facebook-fueled world.
  4. For us, a photo booth wouldn’t take advantage of our log cabin venue, which I think could make a fun backdrop.
  5. You rent photo booths by the hour, so if you want to keep costs down, your photo booth could be packed up during your reception.
  6. You can only fit so many people into a booth.

Professional Photo Taker

I’ve seen these called “party booths” before, but there’s probably all sorts of names out there for this service, which involves a good camera and a professional photographer.

Pros

  1. This will give you the best photo quality.
  2. It will be manned, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
  3. Many professionals have their own backdrops and array of props. (That’s another thing you don’t have to worry about.)
  4. All images will be posted online, and guests can grab what they like and go hog-wild on Facebook.
  5. The photo-taking space will be professionally lit, which is essential for a nighttime wedding.

Cons

  1. They’re pricey — think in the many hundreds. That said, there’s a couple of ways to go about this. You can hire a service that specializes in these sorts of photos, or some photographers offer a “photo booth add-on,” where someone from their team will man the booth. You may be able to get a discounted rate through a package deal. That said, it still won’t be as cheap as a DIY option.
  2. Your guests won’t get a hard copy (most likely).
  3. If you don’t get a hard copy, then your photo booth can’t be a component of your guest book. (I really like the idea of guests placing photos in your guest book. I saw it in action last weekend and it worked out great!)
  4. Usually, photos are taken one at a time, which can feel a little anticlimatic when you’re used to taking photos in triplicate.

DIY Photo Booths

There are many ways to DIY a photo booth — including setting up a camera, Polaroid, iPad or computer — but the pros and cons often overlap.

Pros

  1. They’re budget-friendly! For example, you can buy an iPad app for $10 or less that will serve as your photo booth.
  2. You have complete freedom with the particulars of your booth. So our log cabin venue can be our backdrop. We also have specific ideas for props that would be apropos. If you like being creative, you might prefer to get the props yourself.
  3. Your booth will run all night long because it won’t have an hourly rate.

Cons

  1. You need to either find someone to man your photo booth or write very clear instructions for guests to follow.
  2. You may need to purchase more or borrow more items than you might anticipate — from props to appropriate lighting. Make sure you have the budget and the desire.
  3. A DIY photo booth includes a lot of stuff — camera, tripod, light, props, guest instructions, etc. Someone will have to remember to bring all this on the wedding day. It’s not a task for the forgetful.
  4. Photo booths take some time to set up — make sure you have the bandwidth or place a trusted friend or family in charge.
  5. You may have to troubleshoot. Robert and I tested out a photo booth app and it kept freezing. We’re glad we discovered this before setting it up on our wedding day and having to stop what we’re doing and mess with it.

Now that I’ve presented the different options, which do you think we should go with? And please share any good or bad photo booth experiences you’ve had!

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

The blog will be taking a break during Thanksgiving week, so see you after that!

 

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3 Comments

  1. I worked in the arcade industry for years, with a ton of photo booths and there are a few things I’d like to add:
    Traditional photo booths come in all types. There are ones that make stickers of your photos, ones that give you funny captions, even ones that video tape your session as you take your pictures and are automatically uploaded on to the web! The “no online presence” isn’t always true.
    If you have the availability, it might be worth checking with local arcades or family fun centers to see if they might rent you a machine for the night. I know that we did that on occasion and it was cheaper that what you might pay hourly.

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