Are you thinking of photo booth rental? Perhaps for your wedding or your birthday party or …..? Soooooo many people are thinking of hiring a photo booth but, perhaps, with little understanding of the why’s and wherefores. It’s such a popular item of entertainment now that there might be quite a bit of peer pressure involved - “Oh dear - No Photobooth!”
What I’d like to address today is ….What’s the equipment inside a photo booth? It’s a question we get asked again and again. Children are sure that there is someone “in there” who is operating it all. However, before I start, I should point out that not all photo booths are created equal. Or have the same standard of equipment - something I’ll cover another time.
The printer - sub dye, touch dry prints
So, let’s start with the printer. This, for us, is typically a Mitsubishi D70 dye sublimation printer. It’s stonkingly fast (that’s a technical term!). Prints out the first set of your photos within about 10 seconds after the end of the session. The prints are touch dry instantly so they can be handled, folded, stuck in your wallet / handbag as soon as they come out.
Laptop and software
The whole booth is controlled by a laptop running a special piece of software. This essentially runs the camera & the flash. It also files and stores all the photos. At the end of the photo booth hire time we can save them onto a USB memory stick and hand them to the host. We don’t want you to be waiting around for the photos. Just a small point - we’ll save all the photos and we’ll place them all in the photo album. But we’ll only publish those that are decent (like we ask guests to leave their alcohol outside the booth).
We use a 15″ touch screen monitor so that the booth butler, or the guests who know what they’re doing (remembering that everyone can go in as many times as they like during the hire period) can control when the photo session starts. Because we use a 15″ monitor there is some distortion of the images which guests have remarked on.
We use a Canon 550d camera with an 18 - 55mm lens to take all the images; the camera world is divided between Canon and Nikon aficionados and which is better for this situation or that situation. I don’t want to go into that discussion (perversely I use a Nikon FG camera as my mainstay at the moment) - it is important that the end result is as sharp as it can be (remembering that we don’t use Photoshop or Lightroom after effects before we print anything).
Finally we rely on Bowens Gemini 200 gun to provide the flash with two, low energy, bulbs to provide the illumination for the guests when they get into the booth and sort themselves out.
With all of that held within the front end of the booth, it leaves the booth butler free to look after the guests, suggest props, re-arrange props in their baskets and help with the photo album - and, of course, handle the, almost inevitable, queues.