Everybody loves to take photos of themselves, which is the number one reason why photo booths have become a mainstay at parties and special events. From newborns to grandparents, nothing brings a group of guests together like a photo booth; plus, a photo booth allows your loved ones to walk away with a valuable keepsake that will instantly remind them of the fun they had. So, in addition to delicious food, tasty drinks, great music, and fun dancing, adding a photo booth as another option to entertain your guests just makes sense.
With so many photo booth companies and options out there, it is important to do your homework and ensure you are hiring a competent, reliable company that delivers both great service and a fantastic product (the digital photo and photo strip). The following is a list of questions you should ask before you book a photo booth company. Some of these questions may be answered by reviewing the vendor’s website and reading their reviews, while others will need to be asked in-person, over the phone, or through email.
But first, let’s look at a few questions a photo booth vendor may ask you, in order to provide you with an accurate quote.
Questions A Photo Booth Company May Ask:
What time does the event start? What time would you like the booth to start?
For certain events, like a wedding, your guests may be arriving earlier than the photo booth’s start of operation. In those situations, rather than your photo booth vendor loading in and setting up during a portion of your event, they may propose adding idle time for events that require early setup.
How many hours of operational time will you need?
Many photo booth companies charge on an hourly basis, so this will help provide an accurate quote. While guest count will dictate more or less time, for most events, three to four hours of operational time is suitable for every guest to visit the photo booth at least once.
Will this event take place indoors or outdoors?
For outdoor events, especially during the summer, a tent is almost always a requirement. You or your photo booth company may need to provide one, and this may increase the final quote for your photo booth rental.
Is there an electrical receptacle nearby?
If adequate power isn’t close by, you or your photo booth company may need to provide a generator or heavy gauge power extension cords. This situation may also incur additional fees to your final quote.
Questions For You To Ask:
Is my date available?
This should be the very first question you ask. If your event date is not available, there is no sense in proceeding further.
What packages do you offer? How do I know which package to choose?
With photo booths, there are typically three pricing models: tiered packages, a la carte pricing, and all-inclusive rates. It is up to you to determine which is the best value; however, your photo booth vendor should be able to help you with determining the right solution for you.
At The Puget Sound Photo Booth Co., we use a combination of all-inclusive and a la carte, as we believe it delivers the best value for our customers. However, since we believe in authenticity, we will be transparent and honest if our Experience offerings aren’t the right fit for a customer.
How many hours of actual operational photo booth time are included in your pricing?
The key phrase to look for is “Up to X hours of operational time“. Make sure that setup and breakdown times are outside of your photo booth’s rental time. Four hours of use should mean four hours. Not two or two and a half.
What is your hourly overtime rate?
Typically, overtime rates are more expensive than pre-booking an additional hour. For example, if you are on the fence about booking a three-hour rental versus a four-hour rental, find out the photo booth company’s overtime rate and subtract the pre-booked additional hour. If the difference in cost is small – for example, $50 more per hour for an overtime hour – it is better to book the shorter time frame and utilize overtime if absolutely necessary, versus paying for the longer time frame and the photo booth has minimal use in the final hour. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure the overtime rate is explicitly stated in your photo booth contract.
Will an attendant be present at the booth?
Unless your photo booth is an all-digital experience – like The Selfie we offer – having a photo booth attendant is important for fixing technical issues, as well as assisting guests throughout the entire photo booth experience. A great photo booth attendant/host ensures every guest has a fun, positive experience and takes awesome photos.
Do you include props? Is there a fee?
Some companies will offer props as a standard part of their service. Others will include props as an add-on.
What do your props look like?
There are a variety of props out there, so it is important to make sure that the photo booth company offers props you like. The best way to see what props the photo booth company is currently offering is to check their recent photo booth galleries and see what props appear in the photos.
What style of photo booth do you have – enclosed or open?
Some photo booth companies will feature an enclosed style booth, similar to the classic traditional photo booths of way back when. Others will feature a modern “open-air” concept photo booth, which more resembles a photoshoot set. There are pros and cons to each; it is up to you to decide which booth you like best.
What does the setup look like?
For some, it is important to make sure the photo booth setup complements the decor. For all, it is important that the photo booth setup is not an eyesore.
What type of camera and printer do you use?
The answer to this question should feature these two phrases:
- DSLR Camera: Without a question, the only way to have high-quality photos is through a DSLR camera, such as the Canon Rebel T6 or similar. Webcams, iPad photos, and other similar cameras will work if there is PLENTY of light, but the difference in quality is quite obvious when compared side-by-side.
- Dye-sublimation: Printers of this type – such as the DNP DS40 – will print 2×6 strips and 4×6 prints in about ten seconds or less. They also will be resistant to fading over time, which means these treasured moments with loved ones will last a lifetime.
Does your photo booth require Wi-Fi?
In order for digital delivery features (i.e. texting and/or emailing from the booth) to work, a reliable Wi-Fi connection will be needed. If the venue doesn’t offer this, then it is important to find out what the photo booth company’s policy is. Some will bring a mobile hotspot (possibly for an additional fee), while others will queue the files and send them once obtaining a Wi-Fi connection.
Is there an online gallery?
This should be included, but if it isn’t, find out why not and how you would obtain your prints. It is important to find out where the gallery would be hosted; avoid Facebook galleries, as they severely compress the photos upon uploading. Also, find out how long will it take for your gallery to be uploaded and published; within 24 hours is the professional standard.
Does your photo booth have the ability to send users digital prints?
If your photo booth company is offering text and emailing features, this is a good sign.
How is the quality of the photos?
Browse past galleries and look at the hi-res versions of the photos the company is taking. For most photo booths, the colors should be bright and vibrant. The image should be sharp and in focus, not blurry. Better photos typically equate to a photo booth company that is actually using studio-quality equipment and that they have a general grasp and understanding of photo knowledge.
How many people can you fit in your photo booth?
While most photo booth photos feature 2-4 guests, there are occasional times when 6, 7, 8, 9, or more will want to take a photo. While these aren’t the greatest photos from a photographer’s perspective, they do have their merit from an entertainment standpoint. If you think you will have a couple of large group shots with family, make sure your photo booth provider has a booth that can accommodate.
Is the delivery, set up, and break down part of the price?
This is one of those hidden fees to watch out for. Make sure your package says labor is included.
What do I need to provide for the event?
For most photo booth rentals, a table for props is all that is required. However, ask your photo booth vendor if she/he foresees any additional requirements such as extension power cables, multiple tables, etc.
How long does it take to set up?
Knowing how early the photo booth host will arrive, as well as how long they need, may aid in picking the appropriate start time for the operation of the photo booth.
Have you been to my venue before? Do you know where to set up and how much space you need?
Hiring a photo booth company with prior experience at a venue can provide some great value to the overall service. However, a “No, we have not” is not an automatic disqualification, as most venues are very accommodating of photo booths and provide the necessary space and adjacent power.
Is there a limit to how many photos I can take?
Most photo booth companies will advertise unlimited sessions for the duration of your rental. Make sure they won’t cut your guests off after one session. Unlimited means unlimited.
How many prints will the guests receive?
Some photo booth companies will print two strips, or one 4×6 print, and have that divide amongst a group of people. Frankly, that is just being cheap and stingy. Find a photo booth provider that allows each guest pictured to walk away with a strip or print. No one should ever walk away empty-handed from the photo booth.
Will I get digital copies of all of the photos taken at the event? If so, does it include the customized template, single shot of each picture, or both?
After the celebration has come and gone, it is important to know what happens next. Digital delivery of some kind is a standard in the photo booth industry, but what it entails varies from company to company. Make sure you understand what you will get post-rental, and what will carry an additional fee.
What can & can’t I add to my template? What are my template choices?
Most companies will allow your selected 2×6 or 4×6 template to be fully customizable, but other companies will only offer minimal customization options. Ask your vendor what their process for customizing the printout is.
Do you provide a guestbook?
Some companies will provide a photo guestbook service as a complimentary service, while others will offer it as an add-on service. Some will allow you to supply your own guestbook, while others will prohibit it. To prevent potential heartache and frustration as your event looms closer, ask this photo booth question and understand the policies the company has in place prior to hiring them.
How large are the prints?
Some companies only offer 2×6 strips with their photo booth packages, while others only offer 4×6 prints. Some companies will offer you the option to choose, and some will offer larger formats such as 5×7, 6×8, etc. Find out what is available, and most importantly, if larger sizes bring additional fees.
Do I need to put down a deposit?
In order to book a photo booth, it is standard practice for companies to require a deposit to secure the reservation. This amount can vary from company to company; do not assume the deposit amount is the same across the board.
How far in advance should we book?
Because some dates are in greater demand than others, you may need to book your photo booth several months in advance. Each photo booth company should be able to give you a realistic time window of when to seriously consider booking your photo booth.
Do you charge for travel?
Most photo booth companies offer free travel within a certain radius from their office. For events outside of that radius, it is important to ask what the mileage rate is prior to hiring a photo booth company.
Are there any hidden fees?
Beware of photo booth companies that advertise a low starting price, only to tack on additional fees such as: “Administrative Fee”, “Mandatory Gratuity”, “Service Fee”, “Taxes”, etc. To avoid headaches and frustration, make sure your photo booth company is a local business with a solid reputation.
Do you have liability insurance?
It’s just a photo booth – what could go wrong? In all likelihood, nothing major. But as more and more event venues require working vendors to provide liability insurance, it is important to verify that your photo booth company has at least a $1 million dollar general liability insurance policy. Want to ensure your photo booth company is reliable and professional? Ask for a copy of their Certificate of Insurance.
Do you have references?
While online reviews are abundant, it is nice to have the opportunity to ask specific questions and to get a great feel of what it is like to work with the photo booth vendor you are considering hiring. Do allow for the company to get permission from the past clients that are willing to speak with you, as this will make reaching out to them more comfortable for all.
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We hope you found this guide of questions to ask a photo booth company helpful. If you have any feedback – or you would like to ask us these questions! – please send us an email at Hello@PSPBC.com
Originally Published: January 5, 2019
Last Updated: January 12, 2022