About Cherie Irwin

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So far Cherie Irwin has created 45 blog entries.
11 10, 2016

5 Tips to Begin Attracting Corporate Photo Booth Clients

“How do I get corporate clients?” This is one of the most asked questions in the photo booth industry, and the answers are some of the most guarded secrets amongst those who have moved up the food chain and made a name for themselves in the corporate world. There is no blue print to success, but there are points on a map that will get you closer to where you want to be.

By no means am I the foremost expert on this topic.  But, I’ve been around the block enough times to know what it takes to begin attracting clients that are willing to pay for expert level service. So, really what does it take to break out of the wedding mold and jump into corporate photo booth work? Here are a few things that helped me.

Network, Network, Network. Yeah, we hear people say that all the time, but with whom should you be networking? Million dollar question? No. The answer is simple if you really think about it. Who plans corporate events? Corporate Event Planners, that’s who.  Now ask yourself what groups corporate planners join to network.  Hmm…Bizzabo Blog sites the following in their article: Ten Event Planning Associations Organizers Should Know

  • ILEA: International Live Events Association
  • NACE: National Association For Catering And Events
  • ESPA: Event Services Professional Association
  • MPI: Meetings Professionals International
  • ICCA: International Congress And Convention Association
  • GMIC: Green Meetings Industry Council
  • CEMA: Corporate Event Marketing Association
  • IAVM: International Association Of Venue Managers
  • NCBMP: National Coalition For Black Meeting Planners
  • Eventovation: A Community For Anyone In The Events Industry

Work for Free. What?!?  Yes, work for free, and this might be the only time that I ever suggest this. Once you decide which organizations that you want to start seeking out, offer to showcase your services at one of their membership events. Essentially you will be offering an in-kind sponsorship. Be sure to ask for inclusion in the event program, vendor mentions and sponsor listings. Also do not neglect to put your logo and website details on the final prints.  Utilize social media sharing stations to further increase the reach of your brand message. Do this by making sure that photos are sent in e-mail form and that you have a custom designed HTML email that is mobile friendly and highlights your company and services. When you set up sharing via text message, make sure the event guests are led to your custom microsite to download their images. (Click here to see an example of my own custom microsite that matches my website.)  This will give you the opportunity to share your message with guests that choose to text their photos instead of email.  Do whatever you can to make sure people that are at the event know who you are and what you do.

Offer services that corporate clients are seeking.  Run of the mill photo strips won’t cut it these days (at least not most of the time).  Just like you, corporate event planners want to stand out from their competitors with a unique and memorable experience for event-goers.  They are looking for outside the box solutions while keeping much of the on-screen experience inside the box. So much of the guest experience is lost without seeing on-screen visual cues.  This is precisely why the face of event photography has forever changed and photo booths have wedged their way in. ‘Experiential Photography” and “Photo Marketing” are terms really sum up what brands are after. So what services are corporate clients looking for?

  • GIFs, GIFs and more GIFs. Regular 3 or 4 frame looping GIFs, Green Screen GIFs, Immersive GIFs (GIFs that appear to be placing people into a scene) and Boomerang style Burst GIFs.  These are all options offered with software that is currently available. Photo Booth Upload was the first to offer most of these features, but all three of the other major software developers offer GIF support including Darkroom Booth, Breeze DSLR Remote Pro and Social Booth.
  • Green Screen.  Realistic and immersive green screen capture has been an event staple for decades, and it isn’t going away any time soon.
  • Slow Motion Video. Whether it is slow motion against a blank backdrop or slam dunking a basketball in a real hoop or a green screen one, slow motion video is sought after for corporate activations if it is executed well.
  • Camera Array (also called Bullet Time). Straight up Matrix style camera arrays are a big deal. Smaller arrays with 5-8 cameras are portable enough to take to most events.
  • Light Painting
  • Dubsmash/Karoke Booth
  • Mirror Booths with custom Branding
  • Hashtag Printing
  • ID Card Printing
  • Virtual Reality
  • Air Graffiti Walls
  • Flipbooks
  • 360 Platforms with Video Capture
  • Roaming Photography or Shoot & Share (this one is an outside the booth offering that goes hand in hand with booth offerings)
  • Branded Booths
  • Custom Props
  • Custom Backdrops

Become a Social Sharing Expert.  Learn the ins and outs of using Social Sharing Software like Photo Party Upload or PicPic Social EC. Offer completely custom sharing packages for your corporate clients.  Above, I mentioned custom email and microsites.  This is an area where you can really make your clients shine. Customize the email that event-goers receive when they send their photos to themselves. Make it match the client’s brand. Do the same with the microsite.  With a little bit of HTML & CSS coding, you can do wonders that wow corporate clients and their guests.

If you are going to do photo sharing for corporate clients, I highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with Internet & Computer networking best practices because this is the number one worst headache that you will come up against when you are on-site at a highly attended event. Signal jams, weak wifi and firewalls are real issues, and they will bring a real pro to his knees if he can’t work through jammed up signals problems. Seye Omisore of PicPic Social wrote this article that can be of assistance with this particular topic.

Show off your work and get found. So you know how to do all the cool stuff.  That’s great. Now post it on your website and social media pages. Give these things searchable names on your website. Tag them on social media with terms that corporate planners are looking for. Beyond showing off the finished work, show examples of your branded booths & custom backdrops. Give people a glimpse of what your custom prop packages look like. Blog your events. Take photos of your set-ups. Capture video of people using your booth. Grab a snap of the mile long line waiting for a chance to get a photo at your booth. Use these to make a promo video. If there is anything that I can do better, this is at the top of my list. We are often so busy prepping and working our events that we forget to take photos of the action. Yet, it is probably the most power visual representation of the experience that comes with your photos, so don’t neglect it.

Bonus Tip: Professional presentation is the real key to making this happen. Without a professionally designed finished product, it’s quite likely that all of your other efforts could be overlooked. You can have all of the technical elements dialed in perfectly, but companies won’t pay top dollar for amateur looking stuff. If you aren’t skilled in design, hire people that can make you look good. Having a good designer in your back pocket can do more for your business than you could ever imagine. (FYI – I am not available for hire, so this is not a sales pitch. I, too, hire out the design for some of my more complex jobs, like immersive GIF because I’m not highly skilled in this genre.)

My best piece of advice is that if you are new to this industry or if you are not skilled with social sharing software, start there. Learn to walk before you run. Start introducing these features with your social clients. Get really good at setting up various sorts of Internet configurations and troubleshooting. Once you have that down, learn the advanced features of your software.  Then start marketing for small corporate jobs when you know your software inside out and know how to handle the myriad of issues that can come up at an event. Master those events, and keep working your way up the ladder.

11 08, 2016

Stand out from the Photo Booth Crowd – Your Website

Websites

It is safe to say the Event Photo Booth industry is well over a decade old now.  When I opened up shop in 2007, there were just two photo booth companies in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.  They were pioneers of the photo booth movement, and those two companies essentially got all the business.  They were the go-to referral choices of all of the wedding and meeting planners in the area, and there weren’t any other options.  I think both got their start in 2002 – yes, 14 years ago!

Fast forward to 2016 – I stopped counting my local competitors when I got to 50, and there were dozens more left uncounted.  In my search, I discovered that many of these companies are just offering run of the mill services that were being offered in 2007 when I started boothing. Many of their websites are basic DIY template sites, and I couldn’t find anything worth writing home about.

With the seemingly endless number of photo booth companies to choose from, how does one get noticed? It must be absolutely daunting to the consumer to narrow down the company that they want to work with. Almost every website that I looked at is filled with similar images that convey the same look and feel as almost all of the competitor sites that I viewed.

The first thing this tells me is that if you want people to look at your company differently, you have to look different from your competitors.  What does your website say about your company and what does it say about you?

Does your website say that you do the exact same thing as every other photo booth company in your area? Do your images look similar? How about your booths, do they look just like the other guys’? Do you have the exact same styles of backdrops as you competitor? What are you offering that will stand out to a prospective client and spur them to pick up the phone and call you? When they call, are they going to expect your prices to match your super budget friendly competitor because your website failed to demonstrate that you offer something different and of greater value?

If you don’t want to compete on price, here’s a piece of advice – use your website to help the consumer see that you have something more valuable to offer that is worth more than what your competitors offer. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, so heavy use of imagery is very important. Showing your best photos helps put your best foot forward. Provide lots of examples. Show off your equipment. Give people a visual of what they get when they hire you.

Here are some websites that do an outstanding job of this:

The Photo Booth Guys in Australia & UK – http://photobooth.co

MDRN Photo Booth in Ottawa & Toronto, Canada – http://mdrnphotoboothcompany.com

OMG Booth in Atlanta, GA – https://www.omgbooth.com

Studio Z Photo Booths in NYC – http://www.studiozphotobooths.com

It would be easy to list dozens more, but these sites sends a clear and concise message that these companies are different and worth reaching out to. They are worth paying more for their services. Their websites convey that they pay attention to details in their marketing, and they will pay attention to the details for their clients. So how do you get from a “stuck in 2001 website” to a modern website?

If you aren’t skilled at building websites and lack the creativity to make yours look different from everyone else’s site, I highly encourage you to begin seeking out the help of a professional website designer/developer. Hiring someone does two things: 1) it puts a finite date on finishing the project; and 2) it frees you up to work on growing your business. Website building is not for the faint of heart, and it can drive you mad if you don’t have the skills and willpower to do the job that you envision and complete it.

If you are a creative person and aren’t one to back away from a challenge, you might try building your own site. If you decide to go this route, check out WordPress if you haven’t already. WordPress themes come in abundance and with most modern hosts, you can install and set up WordPress yourself with a few clicks of a button. If you tried it years ago and gave up, try again because with every new WordPress update, it becomes simpler and simpler to work with.

My all time favorite WordPress theme is ProPhoto because it is so easy to work with and is incredibly customizable. This theme was designed for DIY’er.  The developer recently released a responsive mobile friendly updated version (don’t purchase any versions or designs that are for ProPhoto 5 or less). Don’t let the $199 price tag scare you. It’s completely worth it for an easy to use modern interface with loads of setup tutorials and support videos. ProPhoto also offers expert install options if you aren’t comfortable installing the theme on your own (but hey you run a photo booth, you should be able to click a few buttons and make this happen).  The second favorite on my list is Divi by Elegant Themes because it is extremely customizable and provides in-theme tools to create a one of a kind site.  Another list topper is Avada, the best selling theme on ThemeForest. The customization options are nearly endless with Avada, and their support is top notch. If none of these theme options appeal to you, you can search through thousands of WordPress themes on ThemeForest.net to find something that is perfect for the brand message you want to convey. Just make sure you choose something that is responsive and mobile friendly and has a good rating. Lots of sales means lots of documentation and customer support, so keep that in mind when making your choice.

But, if you aren’t comfortable with that, freelance work sites like Upwork.com are filled web developers looking to take your money. Again, just make sure your message and goals are clear.  Provide lots of examples and check their past work.

Other popular DIY website platforms that are responsive/mobile friendly include Wix, Weebly and Big Black Bag.  Each one takes some creativity to customize, and your strategic use of images will be very important as with any website platform.

 

29 02, 2016

Foto Master’s Mirror Me Booth

We’ve all been seeing the Selfie mirror posts taking over the Photo Booth groups on Facebook, so we thought it was time that we asked our sponsor Foto Master to tell us what makes their Mirror Me Booth so unique.  Here’s what we’ve learned:

Foto Master’s Mirror Me Booth combines an alluring design with interactive entertainment to bring owners a positive ROI and guests an unrivaled photo booth experience.

This unique photo-generating product offers a full-length mirror comprised of the latest technology in interactive picture taking. Designed for an easy, secure transportation and created with a user-friendly interface, the Mirror Me Booth communicates with guests through a gesture-activated and touch screen display of colourful animations and entertaining voice guidances.​

One of our many exciting features included in the Mirror Me Booth software is our uniquely crafted premium visual animations. We are constantly seeking feedback from our community of followers to ensure we are providing customers with exclusive animations for a modern and distinct experience. In addition, the software supports custom animations which can be individually designed and included in each Workflow to present personalized animations in a vivid and wildly entertaining manner.

We have come a long way since the invention of the classic Photo Booth. While the original version uses a camera and a screen display, the Mirror Me Booth is a digitally-operated photo booth that acts as a full-length mirror with a hidden camera. The unique adaptation has the capacity to communicate with guests through animations appearing as though they are displayed directly on the mirror.

Though the original invention gave us great inspiration, with today’s technology we were able to grow and expand the traditional concept by elevating its performance. After a full year of testing dozens of different mirror materials from acrylic, fiberglass, film, and a variety of coatings, we identified the ideal components to make up an impeccably realistic mirror. Manufacturing the finest quality coating with a simple and speedy set-up and disassembling process, Mirror Me Booth provides a state-of-the-art mirror photo booth experience.

The updated software has six gesture-triggered features that are activated through Kinect for XBox One and touch technology, including; smile recognition, person detection, hand-gesture detection, and motion sensors.

Mirror Me Booth Version II offers a personalized experience with components that are ideal for next-level entertainment. The software allows you to create photo memories, GIFs and short videos offering unique features such as;

  • The Drawing Feature; allowing guests to sign and draw on their creation in a glowing neon color or standard color, which is then presented on the final photo.
  • The GIF/Video Feature; allowing guests to create a GIF or video with or without a rewind effect.
  • The Scream Feature; an interactive competition that captures a moment of amusement while the guests scream to reach the highest level of the “Scream Meter”. As the computer microphone detects the sound of guests’ voices, the meter changes colours based on volume. The photo of the people screaming as well as the results of the scream meter are then printed on the final photo.
  • Green Screen; the software supports Green Screen removal to offer a unique experience so guests can photograph in front of different background options.
  • Background Removal; using Kinect for XBox One, you can remove a background even without a green screen to enjoy a tidy set-up at events.
  • Layout Builder; consumers can include company branding in the foreground of the final photo with the option to rearrange, position and rotate the photos as desired.
  • Workflow Builder; Foto Master invented a very unique approach to building Workflows. Consumers can build their own story by choosing from different components such as built-in features or custom animations. In addition, they can decide how each component triggers the next to create a personalized and creative Workflow.
  • Enable Multi Presets; this feature allows the consumer to automatically run different Workflows in a sequence throughout the event. The consumer can choose to have it run in the order they are placed or have it set on “Rotate Randomly” mode.
  • Pay Per Play; the choice to have the software run through coin-operation.
  • Features included; DSLR Photo, Webcam Photo, Kinect Photo, QR Code, Raw Preview, Preview, Auto-Print, Auto-Save, Print Copies, and many more.
  • Social Station; a social-sharing station positioned next to the Mirror Me Booth enables individuals to share their photo, GIF, or video creation to their social channels directly from the event.

The Mirror Me Booth is versatile and ideal for any type of event looking to elevate guests’ experiences while offering a keepsake following the use of the product. Whether it’s a corporate event, wedding, bar or bat-mitzvah, trade show, audio visual presentation, birthday celebration, networking event, charity function, or any other occasion, the Mirror Me Booth is a new and unique interactive solution – sure to make your next event a huge success!

Find out more on our website at http://fotomasterltd.net/products/mirror-me-booth/

9 02, 2016

Make Events More Social with an Instagram Printer

Today we have a guest blogger – Chris Johnson from HootBooth Photo Booth – to explain more about that ever elusive question everyone has about hashtag & Instagram printing.

HootBooth-Instagram-Printer-Photo-Prints

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a mobile photo sharing social media site that enables people to take pictures and share them on the Instagram mobile app. Most Instagram posts are ‘tagged’ with a hashtag which allows an image to be searched for, and easily found, by other Instagram users.

To put into context just how popular Instagram is here are some eye-popping stats:
– There are 75 million active users per day on Instagram!*
– Daily Instagram image posts now outpace Facebook image posts!
– 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35; 51% are males and 49% are females.*

What Is A Hashtag?

Hashtags are keywords attached to a post on Instagram that are used to organizes and locate images on Instagram. A hashtag keyword is always preceded by the pound sign (#). For example, a hashtag could be a bride and groom’s wedding hashtag (#sueandtedgotwed) or a company’s brand name (#nikon).

It is now very popular at weddings and corporate events for a unique hashtag to be printed on cocktail napkins and custom signage to encourage guests to take photos at the event with their iPhones and other mobile devices, tag the photo with the event hashtag, then post these images to Instagram. By doing this, all the event guests can quickly view the images via the Instagram social media app.

A Photo Booth For The Instagram Generation!

Hoot-Hashtag-Instagram-PrinterWhile traditional photo booths are here to stay, there is a new type of the photo booth experience that taps into the growing popularity of Instagram. Meet the Hoot #Hashtag Instagram Printer kiosk, a self-contained kiosk with an integrated dye-sublimation printer and a beautiful tablet-based touchscreen display with smart software that continuously scans the Instagram social media site for the unique event hashtag and creates a photo gallery of all the images on the kiosk’s touchscreen display. The kiosk has two printing modes and can be set to auto-print each image or can print each image on-demand; for the latter mode, the user simply locates the image on the kiosk’s photo gallery and selects the image to print. The images are printed on 4×6 print media and the print template can be customized to include the event hashtag, the Instagram post comments and custom artwork, such as corporate branding, on the print template.

An Instagram Printer is a great service to add to an existing photo booth rental business. However, we are also seeing event rental businesses that are focusing exclusively on Instagram Printing, especially those that cater to corporate clients who use Instagram Printing at brand activations and trade shows to promote their brand.

Adding Instagram Printing service to your rental business is as simple as purchasing an Instagram Printer and adding this new service to your website. It is optimal to have a dedicated webpage for this new service. We find that corporate and event clients aged 35 and younger immediately understand the Instagram Printer service and the benefits (and fun!) it provides. Most rental companies will price the Instagram Printing service at the same price or about 20% more per hour as a traditional photo booth.

As noted above, when the Instagram Printing kiosk is set to ‘print-on-demand’ mode, the kiosk can be left unattended and guests can locate their image in the kiosk’s photo gallery and then select the image to print it. If a company or rental business utilizes an attendant for the Instagram Printer, we recommend the use of a ‘Hashtag Wall’ where prints are auto-printed and an attendant pins them to a wall for guests to pick up during the event. Also, a roving ‘Instagram Photographer’ is a great add-on service. This person can take photos with their mobile device, post them on Instagram for the party goer and add these prints to the ‘Hashtag Wall’.

HootBooth-with-Hashtag-Wall

If you are considering adding an Instagram Printer to your rental lineup, contact us at HootBooth Photo Booth. Our Hoot #Hashtag Instagram Printer is so innovative that it was named one of the ‘Best New Photo Industry Products in 2015’ by Rangefinder Magazine. We offer both a fully assembled Instagram Printer and an Instagram Printer ‘enclosure only‘ option.

We are happy to answer your questions about Instagram Printing and our full lineup of photo booth kiosks!

*Source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/important-instagram-stats/

This post has been sponsored by HootBooth Photo Booth.