The Traditional Photo Booth!
When photo booths first came on the scene I must admit I thought they would be a passing phase. I thought the idea was terrible, getting dressed up heading into a small booth and having your photo taken! Why not just get a nice, well lit, well composed photograph from your wedding photographer! That was until I stepped inside a photo booth for the first time! They are SO much fun and such a different experience than having some stuffy ‘professional photographer’ take your picture! We bought our first Photo Booth about 6/7 years ago. We chose a booth with a white exterior as it tends to blend in with almost all wedding venues and wedding themes. You can fit around 7 guests inside the booth and it automatically takes 4 photographs and prints 4 copies of the images it has taken.
There is always a member of our team with the booth, who once the images are printed will pop one in the guest book we supply. The guests are then asked to leave a message in the book to accompany the freshly printed images.
Outside the booth we have a table filled with props, from super hero masks, wigs, glasses, traffic cones, phones, mirrors, you name it we will likely have it in our props box! We usually have red ropes to help with the entry and exit of the guests whilst using the booth, plus they add a certain aesthetic charm too! The photo booth is a great addition to any wedding or function, largely because it gives your guests the opportunity to have a keepsake of the night but more importantly you get a natural, fun and visual guest book. We have been photographing weddings now for over 15 years and a lot of our business comes from recommendations. This means we often visit the homes of people who are friends and family of previous clients. I have lost count of the amount of photo booth prints I have seen on peoples fridges, walls and even framed whilst making these visits.
It's fantastic to see as the images are very natural and the guests are having fun whilst the shots are taken. It's true that I can capture professional images naturally during the evening of a wedding, but the photobooth offers something completely different to the offering of me as a professional photographer!
The Magic Mirror or Selfie Mirror!
Again, when this launched I thought it was a terrible idea! Why would anyone want a mirror that talks, takes pictures and which your guests can play with like a giant iPad!
That was until I tried one for myself and we bought our Selfie Mirror the same day!
The mirror is the evolution of the photo booth. It uses similar technology but offers a more interactive experience. Not only can guests take their picture, they can sign it, add emojis and do so much more!
Some of this stuff isn’t important in my eyes, or the eyes of one of your guests after 6 glasses of Prosecco, 4 pints, 2 Jagerbombs, a three course meal, wedding cake and 3.5 mini burgers...... BUT, if you have any children at the wedding the selfie mirror will most definitely entertain them during the early stages of the evening celebrations. The main attraction to the magic mirror is it's size! It's a big unit but it is contained and can be positioned in the corner of a room, compared to the photobooth which has a much larger footprint. In smaller venues or venues where space is limited the mirror provides a great solution. We supply the same props table, red ropes, guest book and member of the team as we would when booking a photobooth, so I would say the decision comes down to preference. The booth is a little more private, so your guests can be as creative as they like when posing for photographs, whereas everyone can see their antics when using the mirror.
Things to consider when booking a photobooth; Not all booths are born equal. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. I once witnessed a guy set a gazebo up in a wedding venue (you know the ones you buy in Asda for £20 which are green and white and made from plastic?) He then wheels in what looked like a unit from Ikea with a hole cut in the front of it where he shoves a camera in. He did have some very nice fairy lights which provided some soft lighting for the guests using the booth whilst he pushed the button manually on his camera, removed the memory card, plugged the card into a laptop, printed the picture, cut the print with a pair of scissors and then glued the image into a home made guest book…. This is in the extreme, but there are different versions of photo booths out there, some are inflatable, some are a stand alone unit which use an iPad to take and process the images. So make sure whoever you book doesn’t show up with a tent from Asda!
How long does the booth stay at the wedding for?
I would always suggest the photo booth/magic mirror is set up during the turnaround of your wedding breakfast. This way guests don’t have to watch the process and are pleasantly surprised when re entering the room post wedding breakfast.
If you have kids at the wedding then opening the booth around 7.30/8pm is ideal, then wrapping up occurs around 10/10.30pm.
We have had our photo booths at weddings past 10.30pm and without judging your guests, most weddings get a little messy as you head towards 11pm. Between 9 and 10pm is the prime time and even for larger weddings all guests are able to maximise the booths offerings in this time period whilst also leaving a nice message in the guest book.
Do I get my images digitally?
After the wedding we will always have the option for you to receive the images from your photo booth. These can be sent to you digitally upon request. We don’t give them to you on the evening using a pen drive as most wedding dresses don’t have pockets and there is no way you could trust a groom to not lose a 5cm digital drive on his wedding night!
Insurance and PAT testing;
Yes this is a boring point, but nevertheless very important! Most venues now require suppliers to have the appropriate insurances and test certificates for their equipment. Make sure when booking a booth that the supplier has these in place and takes it upon themselves to contact the venue to inform them! In the past we have seen venues refuse equipment to be set up if the correct documents can't be produced.
Props, Guest Books and Extra Prints;
Is there an additional charge for props, guest books and extra prints? When booking with us there isn’t. That is unless you request specific props like authentic Stormtrooper Helmets and light up Iron Man Suits (i'm not joking these have been genuine requests)
We usually have a varied enough supply of props for all offerings, but some companies charge extra for props, guest books and extra prints. This is something just worth checking out before booking.
PS don’t spent £800 on Stormtrooper Helmets as it's a waste of money for a photo booth!
There are some alternatives to photo booths! You can buy a Polaroid camera and guest book and this is a great way to let your guests capture natural images and leave a lovely message. I like this idea and have seen it work very well at weddings in the past. The only advice I would give is if you are doing this, task one of your guests to look after the process. This way you can guarantee people use the camera, plus leave a message. Otherwise there is the danger of images being taken but not put in the guest book, or people not knowing how to the use the camera and assuming the professional photographer knows everything about polaroids…..
Vehicle based booths
There are some companies who offer fancy cars, caravans, taxis etc which turn up at the the venue and have photobooth style equipment set up inside. The idea being your guest go to the taxi booth, or caravan booth which is parked outdoors for their images. This is a very good idea and offers something quite alternative to the traditional photo booths.
They generally still have the props and guest book and everything else a photo booth offers, just in a fancy vehicle and outside. This can work very well at venues such as marquees where naturally a certain percentage of the day is outdoors.
If however you are in a city centre venue with limited parking or the function suite is a journey from the location of the vehicle based booth then it may not be the best solution.
So there we have it! My advice on booking a photo booth! To summarise, I would say photo booths are great fun and definitely worth booking. Choose the style of booth you want carefully and ask as many questions as you can about the service and process! As the couple getting married, make sure you use the booth! We always try to get the couple to be the first and last people to use the booth, simply to make sure you get some images with it! The wedding day is so busy and your professional photographer has been taking pics with you for the duration that sometimes the booth can be the last thing on your mind! However we will ensure we do our best to get you in there! For more information about all of our available wedding accessories, click the link below
You can view our fleet of wedding cars here or call us on 0151 708 7077 to arrange a viewing or appointment.