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Updated by Robert Slippey on Oct 18, 2016
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7 Questions to ask before booking your wedding photo booth

Photo Booths are becoming an increasingly popular addition to weddings. Rightfully so, photo booths provide a fun and enjoyable way for your guests to pass the time and remember your wedding. With a customized keepsake for every guest, it's hard to go wrong with a photo booth. Unfortunatly, not all photo booths are created equal. Here are 5 important questions you should ask your photo booth provider before booking your wedding date!


What type of equipment do they use?

Today's photo booths are far more advanced than in days pasted. With today's technology photo booths of today are much different than they were years ago. Today photo booths offer a huge number of features and with cameras today being what they are, the resulting image can be similar in many respects to photography. Some photo booth vendors don't utilize quality equipment though and many are still using web cams or consumer point and shoot cameras. Truthfully, there is nothing wrong with this practice, but you should at least know what what your getting into. Professional cameras offer a greater image resolution and much better looking images in low light than any web cam is capable of. Point and shoot cameras offer better images but lack the ability to effectively use quality light sources. Both result in sometimes dark and grainy images and possibly out of focus images. For most events we recommend sticking with high quality vendors that utilize professional, or even some of the quality semi professional, DSLR cameras out there. Today with mirror-less technology improving leaps and bounds, it won't be long before we see mirror-less cameras being used in photo booths as well and, as with the DSLR, these are more than acceptable solutions as well.


How do they light the scene?

When it comes to photography, light is the king, photo booths are no different. If you want your photo booth photos to look bright and sharp, your booth provider will need some type of off camera light. This isn't as expensive as it sounds. Off camera light can dramatically improve your photo booth images and is really easy to do. A light can be a simple a video light in a soft box or a single flash with a large umbrella. The second point to be made about light is the size of the light source. You know those flat, deer in the head-lights pictures you've people take on their phones in bars and restaurants? The reason those images are so bad isn't because the camera is bad but is actually because the light source is so small. This of it this way. What lights up a room better with less shadows, a flashlight or an overhead a lamp? Obviously an overhead lamp! The same is true for you and your guests' faces. Look for a photo booth company that has a large light source, like an umbrella or a soft box.


Are props included

A photo booth wihtout the props isn't really a photo booth. Do they include props? If not how much extra is it to have props. You can of course bring your own, but chances are, that photo booth company has more props and a larger selection than you'll ever be able to gather for your event. Some companies don't include props, some do. I can't say either way is the right way but be sure to ask or look at the package and contract details so you know ahead of time. Speaking of contracts...


Do they provide or require a contract?

Most people think contracts are: boring, crazy, annoying, insulting, the list goes on. Honestly though, you REALLY want a contract. Most business type photo booth companies will insist on one, some smaller or newer businesses might not. You do want to get a contract though. The contract is not only to protect the business, as most people think of it, it offer you huge protections as well. For starters, it makes sure everyone is on the same page. Can you images the response "OH, I thought your wedding was Sunday!" Once you get the contract, you have the opportunity to look it over and see that indeed you and your photo booth company are on the same page about the date, time, and location of your wedding or event. Additionally, this gives you a chance to review what you've discussed as far as payment and what you're getting in return. Finally, if for some reason your photo booth company doesn't show and you've paid them, without a contract, it'll be hard to prove in court or get your money back. Another reason to keep in mind is some review sites, allow businesses to have reviews disputed, and the review site will then ask you for, a contract or proof of payment, a contract being the best way to prove that you indeed had a business relationship.


Does their photo booth prints photo on site, what kind of printer does it use?

Today's printers are awesome, but that's probably because I love printing images, I'm a photographer, what can I say? Your photo booth companies printer might not matter to you now but keep in mind it's a big deal at your event. most photo booths utilize a dye sublimation printer which prints very fast and provides a long life print. Some prints can last 100 years or more! Unfortunately, some don't understand the value in a dye sublimation printer and opt to utilize a consumer inkjet printer or similar. Note: if your getting bigger prints with your booth, there are some large format inkjet printers that print quality images, slowly, but for large prints they might be the only option. For regular photo strips or 4x6 prints, expect to see a dye sublimation printer. Your prints will be fast and will last a reasonably long time.


How do you handle equipment failures?

Ah, technology. With great technology can sometimes come great frustration. Yes, equipment fails. It happens, but how your photo booth company prepares for and deals with it is the real question. I've heard of photo booth companies shut down a booth and pack up in the middle of a wedding because the battery on their camera died?!?!? Obviously, this company didn't prepare very well. On the other hand, many reputable companies take your wedding seriously, as they should. As a result they prepare with backup equipment. For instance, my photo booth company, has and brings to every event, a backup camera, a backup computer, a backup prints, a HUGE stack of batteries, cords, and of course backup flash units. We take no chances with your wedding, and neither should you! Speaking about backup, what about your images...


How do you handle data backup?

I know you're thinking; photo booth, I don't expect my photo booth company to backup their images, well, maybe you should. You're paying a lot of money and the photography industry as a whole is expected to maintain backups. You may have to pay some photographers to gain access to your images, but at least you have that option, if the worst happens. For our business we maintain a backup from beginning to end. Images captured at your event are recorded immediately to the camera and the computer. After your event, images are copied to our redundant data storage system where the images are archived on optical media and maintained both on our redundant data storage system and copied to 2 separate off site locations, securely of course. This all sounds complicated, but truth be sold, it's really not. Just make sure there is some form of backup of your images, because you never know when you might want to see a photo and realize the DVD you got has been degraded.