Should I DIY a Photo Booth or Hire a Pro?
Photo booths have become synonymous with modern events, and it’s really no surprise given how much fun they can add to a party. Most people love taking photos, not to mention opportunities to be silly on purpose in a series of pics don’t come as often as [we think] they should.
But with so many professional and DIY photo booth options out there, how do you decide which one is right for your event? To get started, try thinking about the full experience you want to get out of the photo booth. No doubt, it will add entertainment to the occasion, but you should have a clear vision of what you want the experience to achieve both visually, as in print and backdrop style, and emotionally, as in the impression it leaves on your guests.
So if you are set on having a photo booth at your event, try asking yourself these questions to see what photo booth option is right for you. And if some of the questions make you pause and start googling in confusion, just read on for more context about each.
Do you want the photo booth to be a stylish addition to the party?
Do you mind dealing with the photo booth if something goes wrong? Think technical difficulties, paper jam in printer, etc.
Do you want the photo booth to have an interactive touchscreen with digital props, preview, photo retake features and fun animations?
Will you need props and if so what kind? There are stick props, hats and accessories, signs and more.
Do you want your prints or digital photos to have a custom designed overlay?
Will you need to buy the equipment to set up a photo booth? Most modern photo booths, like the Mirror booth, feature at least a DSLR camera, laptop, flash and dye-sub printer.
Do you want your photos to have a backdrop?
Will you want your photo booth to create animated GIFs out of a sequence of photos?
1. Do you want the photo booth to be a stylish addition to the party? Yes, photo booths can be a stylish addition to events. It’s hard to believe but it’s true. The bulky, boxy enclosed photo booths are going away and today you can have an XL full-length touchsreen Mirror taking photos of your guests. Featuring a gorgeous frame, the Mirror is a stylish alternative to an otherwise boring construction.
2. Do you mind dealing with the photo booth if something goes wrong?
Unforeseen issues - one of the main downsides of going the DIY photo booth route. Unless you can ask one of your guests to stand next to the booth and maintain it the whole time, chances are something will go wrong. Paper jam in the printer, someone’s child playing with it too hard, computer restarting for no reason… all we’re saying is technology does like to fail us when we’re having the most fun.
3. Do you want the photo booth to have an interactive touchscreen with digital props, preview and photo retake features and fun animations?
Imagine an oversized, 5-ft tall smartphone that lures you in with beautiful animations, takes photos of you, lets you sign them on a touchscreen and add digital props, filters and custom overlays, and then prints and emails you your creation in a matter of seconds. If all that sounds like something you want, the Mirror photo booth is your best friend.
4. Will you need props and if so what kind? Ah, props - one of the reasons we like to play with a photo booth in the first place. A professional photo booth company will bring tons of them. If you plan on DIY-ing, prepare to either spend a few weeks on a hunt at local thrift stores or a few hundred dollars at a Party Store.
5. Do you want your prints and digital photos to have a custom designed overlay? To create a custom print design, you will need a photo booth software and some design skills. And since both require a significant investment unless you already have them, we recommend hiring a professional photo booth entertainment company rather than DIY-ing. And if you plan on using your photos as guest favors, make sure the professional company you hire can create truly custom and stunning designs, like The Yellow Mirror photo booth.
6. Will you need to buy the equipment to set up a photo booth? Not considering the cost of equipment is the second main downside of DIY-ing a photo booth. It takes quite a few pieces of professional equipment to put together a photo booth including a camera, printer, laptop and flash; not to mention other important accessories like an Ipad for the social sharing kiosk, wifi hot spot and others. If you don’t already have these, you’ll want to look into cost of buying or renting these items.
7. Do you want your photos to have a backdrop? A backdrop is something that appears behind your guests in every photo. Most photo booth companies have a catalog of options available for you to choose from. But this is actually a rather easy item to DIY too if you go with simple fabrics and not try to create something like a custom flower wall. Although, if a flower wall is something you are interested in, hiring a professional photo booth company in your area is probably a good idea.
8. Will you want your photo booth to create animated GIFs out of a sequence of photos? Another cool feature that’s been taking over the photo booth world is animated GIFs. Some photo booths, like The Yellow Mirror, can create these out of a series of photos your guests take. So in addition to a beautiful, custom print, they also get a fun, animated version of their photos via email. Because, let’s be honest - there’s never too much social media content anyway.
DIY-ing a photo booth is definitely doable, although it certainly runs the risk of becoming a difficult and expensive affair. Chances are, hiring a professional photo booth entertainment company will only cost you a couple hundred dollars more but will be easily justifiable by the much needed peace of mind, knowing your guests’ entertainment is in professional hands.
If you are planning an event in the Philadelphia area, get in touch with us at The Yellow Mirror photo booth to see how we can make your event pop with our interactive Mirror booth.