If you are planning to start a photo booth business, you are probably visiting this website for lots of information and research on what it takes to run such a business.
Well, if it’s properly organized, it is the kind of business that requires very minimal upkeep but has a reasonably high return on investment.
Now, I mentioned the investment word!
Photo Booth’s can be very expensive to purchase – they are not mass market products and are quite often custom-designed to your specific needs.
But what if you can’t afford to shell out on a five or ten grand photo booth setup?
Build Your Own Photo Booth
Well if you are a bit of a camera geek, you may already have almost everything you need.
Firstly, you’ll need a good working laptop with a decent amount of disk storage space that is workable enough to store the photos and the software running the photo booth.
You’ll need a decent quality DSLR camera.
You’ll need at least two studio quality flashes – you can use decent camera accessory flashes (speedlights), but they take too long to recycle their power and you will soon tire of changing batteries. No, get a cheap studio lighting starter kit and invest in some radio triggers to avoid too many trailing wires.
To avoid the light being too harsh you’ll need some lighting modifiers – white shoot-through umbrellas are the cheapest.
Probably the most expensive part of your kit will be a good photo printer – and you little Epson Photo inkjet won’t do the job here – you’ll need a Dye-Sub printer or similar which can churn out prints fast and with decent quality. Worst case scenario you can hire this for a one-off gig – but remember and factor that into your pricing – you need to be making a good profit!
Of course you’ll need some backdrops – for a quick simple setup you can go with a Lastolite Hilite background, which offers both White and Black background options, as well as the ability to put a “green screen” chromakey background – this allows you to easily change the background to almost anything you like!
Then you’ll need some nice looking props to help you out and to help add some fun to the photos.
Chuck in some foldaway tables and you’re almost there – and for a fraction of a full-blown photo booth.
Don’t forget Photo Booth Software
Lastly though, you’ll need the photo booth software – this is where research and a little digging around can save you thousands. Believe it or not you can purchase photo booth software from as little as $50 from places like dlsrbooth.com – they even have a free trial of the software that you can download.
Now, if you want to get the full “photo booth” feel, you will need the customers to be able to take their own pictures, so you will also need a nifty accessory for your camera called an intervalometer.
This device connects to the camera and the setup is similar to a press-button release. It is timed to take a series of images with a few seconds between each image.
The ideal amount of images taken per click is four or five photos per strip. You are looking for something that you can connect to your camera via USB/accessory port and something that the guests can hold on to and press at their own convenience.
If the idea of a Lastolite Hilite doesn’t grab your attention, the you can go down a more traditional backdrop route.
The backdrop options you have are limited only by your imagination. You’ll want something fun and eye-catching of course. There are tons of designs that you can get printed out onto material or vinyl for something really cheap.
You may also setup a backdrop made out of balloons, sequins, hanging fake photo frames, etc.
Remember you will need a wall to attach your backdrop to plus a decent space to set up the physical “photo booth” area – and because this isn’t your traditional photo booth, you are looking at a pretty decent sized area to operate in.
Some places might not allow you to attach your background to the wall, so you may also need to invest in a background stand – these are readily available from photography studio suppliers and on places like Amazon.
Overall, that’s pretty much the basics.
A word to the wise, crowd management is extremely important when it comes to running a photo booth. You want the guests to come in and come out real fast so that the line does not queue up – and allow yourself time to sort and hand out the prints.