Photo booths have developed and evolved since the passport booths and navy snapshots sent home to loved ones. Now, there are so many variations on the traditional photo booth that it can become confusing. To help avoid that confusion, here is a brief guide to some of the many types of photo booths, and what style would be best suited to your event.
1. The Closed Photo Booth
Also goes by: Photo Booth, Retro Photo Booth, Traditional Photo Booth, Original Photo Booth
This type of booth can comfortably fit 2 to 3 people inside and up to 10 very squashed people. They have a bench or seat inside for sitting. Usually operated by touch screen or arcade buttons, the booth shows a live picture inside. Prints come out automatically in 3-4 photos per strip.
Enclosed booths are the most common type of booth available, most closely resembling the early automatic photo taking machines. They can be found at parties, weddings, and expos, and also as permanent fixtures in a or shopping centre or city street. Easily securable, they often don’t require the presence of an attendant.
Tried and trusted with a long history, closed photo booths rarely have issues or break down, aside from occasionally swallowing your $2 coins. Though this might not be an accident!
People can pose without judgement, a pretty reliable machine.
Becoming an overdone cliché, cheap webcams can be disguised as cameras, print quality is often just average, home made booths can look quite cheap.
Best suited for:
Small intimate weddings, large festivals or events where people don’t know each other, permanent fixtures.
2. The Open Air Photo Booth
Also goes by: Open Photo Booth, Studio Style Photo Booth, Kiosk Booth, Tower Photo Booth, Reverse Booth, Free-standing Photo Booth, Plinth Booth and even more! (no wonder it gets confusing)
A popular modern variant on photo booths, technically this photo booth isn’t a booth at all. An open photo booth actually refers to an automatic photo taker, complete with camera, lights, and prints, minus the enclosing walls. Meaning yes, onlookers can see all your silly poses.
Typically, an open air booth looks like a 1-2 metre tall tower with a touch screen, a hole for the camera lens to fit through and a perspex screen for the lighting. Apart from that, they can look a whole lot different. Some are small, lego-like pieces and poles that fit together when in use and pack down tiny for transport. Some are black road cases stacked on top of each other. Some are simple, purpose built structures that can be covered with branding or left plain. The quality varies greatly, so its important to see what you’re getting before you hand over any money.
Open photo booths should come with a photo booth attendant or operator to refill the printer, troubleshoot any issues and explain to guests how to use the booth.
These types of booths are usually standing structures that can fit heaps more people in the image than enclosed booths can. A few choices of backdrops are provided (this is a good option for product branding) and the whole thing will look a little like a photo studio. Onlookers can see everything happening, so after the first few photos the fun can get contagious and spread throughout the venue space.
Lots of branding options from booth wrap to backdrop – applicable for weddings and parties too, entertainment for onlookers and participants
Hard to know what you’ll receive on the day, no privacy for guests, quality between businesses varies greatly.
Best suited for:
Staff parties, large weddings, product launches, expos, award nights, anything with branding required.
3. The Vintage Booth
Also goes by: Vintage Photo Booth, Victorian Photo Booth, Antique Photo Booth
This photo booth revolves around its vintage camera centrepiece. With a digital SLR disguised inside, the antique camera is a beautiful themed touch to a vintage style event, often paired with props that match.
Vintage booths can be either open or enclosed, with closed booths featuring curtain backdrops and open air booths with free standing backdrops. Keep in mind the closed versions are often home made, so make sure you’re satisfied with the design.
The differences between vintage photo booths hides in the details. They can be self operated by touchscreen or button, or require a photographer. They can be for standing guests, use plastic chairs or antique stools. They can have genuine vintage props, cheap dollar store props or even no props.
Warning: some businesses label their Closed Photo Booth as ‘vintage’, but will actually only offer a regular photo booth.
A more unique option, impressive for guests, fits in with event theming, beautiful photo prints.
Can be hard to find, can be more expensive
Best suited for:
DIY personalised weddings, garden parties, vintage themed events.
4. The Caravan Booth
Also goes by: Airstream, Outdoor Photo Booth, Van Photo Booth
The largest and most impressive of photo booths. Caravan booths look slick, can handle heaps of traffic and draw people to them from far and wide.
Usually set up for people to line up outside before entering through a door near the middle. One end of the booth will have a seat and camera with a touchscreen menu for taking photos. The other end can be set up with iPads for social media sharing, but sometimes just contains prop options.
Caravan booths don’t always include photo printing or backgrounds, but often have various branding options. These photo booths always come with a few attendants and are owned by people who have been in the business a while and know what they’re doing. For the type of events that need a caravan booth setup, lots of people will be using the facility throughout the event, so set your priorities high for customer service and reliability. Don’t be afraid to ask your potential vendor lots of questions beforehand to see how good they are.
Awesome marketing options, impressive looking, social media kiosks.
Take up a large space, most expensive.
Best suited for:
Festivals, carnivals, expos, large outdoor events.
5. The Slow Motion Booth
Also goes by: Slow Mo Booth, Slo Mo Booth, different to the Stop Motion Booth or the Video Booth (which records guest messages)
A very new take on photo booths, the first slow motion booth was done by Super Frog Saves Tokyo with their video of Ellie & Quang. Instead of taking photos, the slow motion booth uses a movie camera with high frame rates to video guests moving in super slow motion. The movies are then played back on a screen for everyone to watch, and usually edited into a short film by the company afterwards.
Guests can take a some time to warm up to this new idea and it does take a little extra thought to dream up a cool idea. Booth attendants can help with suggestions and give out props including streamers, confetti and water guns – which look impressive when captured in slow motion.
The setup will look just like a mini movie studio, with lots of lights, a background and a camera housing or camera on a tripod. There should be somewhere to watch the video playback straight away, as this is a big part of the fun.
A few extra things to keep in mind for this style of booth are: It can get messy, so check with the venue what they’re ok with. Guests wont have any solid gift to leave with, but the movie will probably get shared extensively online when it’s available. People can get a little crazy after they get into the spirit – be prepared.
Super original, shakes people out of their comfort zone, very fun.
Not for the shy, can get a little messy, nothing physical for guests to take home, needs a big space, can be expensive.
Best suited for:
Weddings with fun guests, staff parties, school formals and events, brand campaigns.
It’s obvious there needs to be a proper glossary of photo booth definitions, as the whole idea has evolved quite a bit since its beginnings. It’s easy to get confuddled between the wide range of types out there, and what makes them better or worse than each other. Every vendor offers something a little different to the next, so make sure to check to make sure the business includes props, prints, custom design, guests books, booth logos, social media options and anything else important to your event.
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Based in Melbourne, Australia, MoBooth offers original open air photobooth hire and slow motion booth hire for weddings, parties and corporate events.