When you think of photo booths, do you conjure up memories of big boxy “cabins” that people pile into to get photo strip printouts? You’re not alone. The idea is that people can pose for fun photos, upgrade them with fun stickers or frames, and get instant digital or print copies. But digital technology advances are changing the face of photo booths, and by extension, the business opportunity they present.
The History of Photo Booth
Did you know that early photo booths got their start in Japan in the 1990s? From there, they spread to the US and Europe. These booths, for the most part, were the cabin style enclosed booths with a bench and curtain for privacy.
Although you can still find those traditional, or “vintage,” bulky booths, new technologies have rendered them a thing of the past. Now, app-based software like Onebooth is the hottest trend for event hosts and photo booth businesses alike. Photo booths are now increasingly lightweight, small, mobile, and as a result, incredibly versatile.
Photo Booth Events You Can Market
Because newer photo booths don’t take up a considerable chunk of real estate, you’ve probably seen them in a wide variety of settings. After all, it’s a fun way to engage people in just about any atmosphere.
Photo booths keep the party alive at private events like weddings, baby showers, prom nights, sweet sixteen, bar/bat mitzvahs, and every type of party imaginable. Whether your next event centers around a holiday—Halloween, New Years, Valentine’s Day, etc.—or just a fun gathering like summer pool parties or winter apres-ski festivities, a photo booth can set the mood for fun while capturing endless memories.
The hottest new apps allow fully customized backgrounds, overlays, and that users can interact with right on the screen. What’s more, you can create images, GIFs, boomerangs, and even short video clips. All are available instantly for social sharing with a hashtag like #homecoming2019, #jackandjillgethitched, or #babyjones.
Photo booths are a powerful marketing tool for corporate clients as well, taking corporate events, store openings, and brand activations to the next level.
The possibilities are endless:
- Your clients benefit from a highly entertaining and engaging lead-generation opportunity that simultaneously builds PR buzz.
- Retail offers tons of opportunities for photo booths. (Learn more about experiential retail here.)
- If you’re looking to grow your client base or brand awareness, photo booths complement each of these 26 marketing event ideas.
- You’ll also find photo booths at festivals and sporting events, too. They are perfect for keeping fans engaged.
- And of course, corporate parties and gatherings are another great application. (Learn how to attract corporate clients here.) The video feature is ideal for engaging employees and clients while also capturing testimonials for marketing and HR campaigns.
Ultimately, no matter what type of corporate event your client is hosting, a photo booth can be a powerful business tool.
DSLR vs. iPad Solutions
If you look at all of the available apps, you’ll find solutions for both DSLR cameras and iPads. There are, however, some key differences you’ll want to keep in mind.
While DSLR can undoubtedly give you high-quality photos, iPad-based software is so much more accessible. iPad apps like Onebooth are easier to use, meaning that you can send a less experienced team member out to the event, and they don’t need a ton of technical know-how to operate your booth. You can simultaneously operate photo booths at multiple different locations.
Finally, Pad app-based photo booths are incredibly inexpensive and mobile. You can get started for less than $200 and easily carry most setups with you on a subway or even a bicycle.
We’ve talked about the bulky traditional cabin-style photo booths that are trending downward. They’re costly to purchase, difficult to transport, and require a great deal of space for setup. Moreover, they don’t blend in with most decor, leaving clients with a massive box in the middle of the room.
Inflatable booths are another option. On the plus side, they are significantly more lightweight than the cabin booths, and they allow for some fun and eye-catching installations. However, once again, they cost more to get started. Set up is more complex and takes longer than most newer app-based booths.
If you still need a static set-up that doesn’t require an attendant at all times, an iPad stand can be a great option. These are relatively inexpensive, easy to transport, and easy to set up. What’s more, while eye-catching, they blend in with nearly any type of decor and can be set up in high traffic areas while still being relatively unobtrusive.
A roaming photo booth device gives you an easy way to bring the photo booth (and lighting!) to the party instead of the party to the photo booth.
New and emerging technologies are taking photo booths so far beyond the social activity of their early days. With the advent of augmented reality, photo booths are at the forefront of innovation, allowing brands and individuals to interact with reality in new ways. (Find out how new technologies are future-proofing photo booth businesses here!)
360 Photo Booths offer an opportunity to capture all of the action from every angle. These work in a variety of different ways, whether it means using multiple cameras or a rotating camera.
Beyond the (jpg) Photo
While photo booths started out offering static images, the app-based software is launching options into the future. In addition to jpegs, you can now create:
- Slow-motion mp4s
- Video clips
If your clients want a touch of nostalgia with printable images, that’s something you can offer in addition to the popular digital downloads.
Going Into Business
Photo booths have always been a lucrative business opportunity for entrepreneurs. However, it’s easier now than ever before to start a photo booth business. Costs are low, and with easy-to-use apps like Onebooth, you don’t need a ton of photography expertise or technical know-how. In fact, we recently published these 9 tips for starting your very own photo booth business.
No matter how you slice it, it’s clear that photo booths have come a long way in the last 20 years. Better yet, the best is yet to come!
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