Choosing a quality photo booth vendor can be a daunting task. There are so many choices and prices can be all over the place. On paper, many of us offer many of the same features so how can this be? What’s the difference? How do I make an informed decision? Read some of the common mistakes below so you can select your photo booth vendor with confidence.
Shopping on price alone. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if you care about the quality of the booth you are renting and the guest experience. This is truly a get what you pay for service and when you shop for those $100-$300 photo booth rentals, do your homework. Watch out for inferior products, quality, service, limitations, lack of licensing, insurance, and/or other fees or charges you were not expecting. This goes the other way too. Vendors charging $1,000 for a few hours of service are probably just overpricing their solution for this area. Don’t be fooled into a higher price equating to a better experience. Do your research.
Uptown Selfies: Our pricing varies due to many factors. For example, even if these two customers have the same package, a 3 hour event with 50 guests 10 miles away is quite a bit different than a 3 hour event with 1,500 guests 100 miles away. Our costs are not the same when you take in the time, travel, consumables cost, etc. To keep your price fair so you don’t pay more than you have to for everything you need, we prefer to collect some key information from you before providing you with a price. Our most popular Party Package generally ranges between $400-$600 for 2 to 5 hours of service time.
Comparing features at face value. If you have never rented or experienced a photo booth, this one will be tough for you. Like I mentioned above, many of us offer many of the same features when you are just looking at them as line items on a quote. However, the details of the features themselves can differ from one vendor to the next which can affect the quality and overall experience of your photo booth rental. I will detail a few below to give you an idea.
- Photo print quality and speed. There are quite a few differences between vendors who offer physical prints. Assuming the photo size is the same, there are differences in the quality of the photo paper used, the quality of the print (color, contrast, etc.), and the speed the print is produced. A vendor may use a printer that takes nearly a minute to print one copy on low quality photo paper and inks. Think about having your photo taken and having to stand there for 60 seconds waiting on the print. Think about your photo fading after three days of sitting on your desk. Think about the paper ripping with the slightest use of force.
- Text messaging and email feature. Do you receive these right away or do you get them later, after the event? Do the messages come to you right away or do you have to wait ten minutes to get them.
- Prop selection and quality. If your vendor is providing props, what are they? Some vendors have one small table with a poor selection of generic cardboard props. This varies greatly between vendors so we recommend you ask, request photos, etc., if this is something you care about.
- Backdrop size and quality. Not all backdrops are created equally. Small backdrops make it very difficult to take nice photos with larger groups of people. Material quality can greatly affect how your backdrop looks at your venue and can be the difference between your photo booth area looking cheap or incredible.
Uptown Selfies: We use commercial-grade photo prints with quality photo paper and dye sublimation inks. The prints are durable and our prints are produced in about 8 seconds. Our digital photo sharing is sent to you right away. Our props and selection is awesome. Two 6′ banquet tables full of them. Over $500 in value. Hats, eye glasses, signs, masks, novelty items and more. Our backdrops are premium quality. Our solid color backdrops cover our frame and finished on both sides. They stretch nice and flat for an excellent appearance on-site. Our large 12mm sequins backdrops our top quality and huge! 11′ x 8′ for nice small or large group photos.
Not paying attention to the process. This is a big one as well and varies greatly between vendors depending on how their hardware is set up, what software they use, etc. Some examples of differences are as follows:
- Can you see a live preview of yourself before the photo is taken? If so, is it on a tiny screen, small monitor or large monitor? Which do you prefer?
- Do they use a quality camera? Can they zoom and focus the camera in order to create nice photo compositions? Many vendors, if they can adjust their camera at all, can only tilt it.
- Once your photo is taken, can you come back later and print another copy or send it your phone later?
- Do they offer their own Internet connection or do they require you provide them with WiFi (unreliable) or a hardwired connection?
- What is their set up time? If they are showing up 15 minutes before your event, you can pretty much be assured this is a low quality set up.
- Who is the attendant? Are they there with the passion to take great photos and create an awesome guest experience or are they on the clock waiting to get to their cell phone during every break in the action?
Uptown Selfies: Our system boasts a large 32″ touchscreen with a live preview so you can see yourself before the photo is taken so you can adjust your look accordingly. Our camera is mounted to a 360 degree ball mount so we can frame every shot to fit the group size big or small. At any time, you can come back to view, print or share a previous photo, GIF or video. We provide our own Internet connection via a cell hotspot. If our connection is weak or has an issue, which is rare, your photo will queue up and be sent to you as soon as our connection is restored. We arrive approximately two hours before your event to ensure we have time to set up and re-test everything before the start of our service time. This includes some extra time to account for any unforeseen delays (traffic, logistics, etc.). Our attendants are here because photography and your satisfaction is their top priority. This is not just a job for us.
Not thinking about what the photo booth will look like. Do you care about what the photo booth looks like at your event? Many vendors focus on what is easy for their staff, not what you or your guests think. Some set ups are just web cameras embedded into stage equipment boxes. Others use flimsy, cheap backdrops and framing systems. Some just use a tablet mounted to a stand with an inferior photo booth app. Some have huge printers, some have poor photo lighting, etc., etc. Pay attention to what their systems look like and ask for set up photos. There is a reason most vendors have no photos of what their systems actually look like set up at events.
Uptown Selfies: Our Selfie Station looks incredible! It looks like a giant cell phone but not in a cheesy way. It looks very classy and sleek. Everyone tells us this that talks to us about it on-site. Just about every component is white so it fits in well at just about any venue or event type. Combine this with our quality backdrops and huge props collection and the entire area looks awesome. This is not your black curtain in the corner of the room. Our photo booth is epic in every way.
Shopping for novelty over guest experience. There are some photo booths available that have a ton of software features that can rival that of Photoshop. Mirrors, robotic cameras, and some others look cool. However, most of these are marketed to wow you, the client, not your guests. The reality is, live at an event, your guests do not want to spend 30 minutes at the photo booth trying to figure out how to use it. This is especially true for the line of people waiting to have their photo taken. Your cool photo booth just killed the guest experience. Pay attention to how the booth is going to work with your guests. Is your teenager going to enjoy it? Is grandma going to enjoy it? What about bob?
In summary, if you are looking for an awesome photo booth experience at your event, spend a little time to do your research. Even though a photo booth is usually considered a luxury item, it’s important that you parse the information before you make the investment. At Uptown Selfies, we focus on every aspect of the experience from the smallest detail to the overall process. It’s our goal to lead the pack in luxury photo booth experiences and we look forward to working with you to prove it.
Contact us now to reserve our service for your next event today!