The Getting started guide

Resources to help you start your photo booth business.

Start here to gain photo booth super powers!

It looks easy. They told you it was easy. It should be easy, right? Think again…like really, think again. If you really plan on starting a photo booth business, please do your research. Think you’re up for the challenge? Then, keep reading!

What you need to learn

Camera operation and basic principles of photography

That’s right! If ISO, shutter speed and aperture sound like another language to you, you should probably start here. Photography is really the basis upon which a photo booth business is founded, so understanding how a camera works and grasping basic photography principles is going to be key. Unless you have done your research and have decided to go with a webcam, plug & play or iPad photo booth, you are going to need to know how to operate your camera with manual settings.

Some resources to help you get started:

  1. Chris Lydle’s article on Basic Camera Settings
  2. Understanding Exposure – by Bryan Peterson
  3. Creative Live –Photography 101
  4. Improve Photography Tutorials
  5. PetaPixel –  Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO

Principles of lighting

We really like these articles from Photo Booth Talk contributor, Chris Lydle:

  1. Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Photo Booth Lighting – Part 1
  2. Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Photo Booth Lighting – Part 2
  3. Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Photo Booth Lighting – Part 3
  4. Reflectors, Umbrellas and Soft Boxes

Software

Before you purchase a “turn-key” photo booth, do a little research on your software options first. You may find that the program offered by a photo booth’s manufacturer will not suit the needs of your company. While many of the available programs offer similar features, their processes and user interfaces are vastly different. There are some that are lightweight and extremely powerful, but can be difficult to utilize and operate without a thorough understanding of them. There are others that are much easier for beginners to understand and operate, but may require a more powerful computer to run some of the advanced features.

Allow room for growth. Though you may not be ready to use the advanced features of your program right away, you may want to offer them later. Also, to save yourself a lot of time and money, make sure that the developer of the software you wish to use is keeping up with current photo booth trends. Learning a new program because the needs of your company outgrew the offerings of your original software choice is the last thing you will want.

Long story short, to save yourself a lot of trouble, DO YOUR RESEARCH! Download software trials, put them through the paces and decide which program best suits the current and future needs of your company.

So, let’s consider the most popular and best supported options available today.

DARKROOM BOOTH 3**

Template Designer

Green Screen Photos/Video/GIF

Animated  & Burst GIF

Video Booth

Slow Motion Video

VR 180 & 360

In Program Sharing

Hashtag Printing

Bill Acceptor Support

Multi-camera support including Canon & Nikon DSLR, Webcam, GoPro and Canon P&S

Built in Printer Drivers

Live Phone Support

Photo booth upload*

Layout Editor

Green Screen Photos/Video/GIF

Animated & Burst GIF

Animated GIF & Video Overlays

Video Booth

Slow Motion Video

3D VR 180 & 360

In Program Sharing

Built-in Photo Filters

Photoshop Actions

Light Painting

Face Morph

Credit Card Swipe Support

Canon DSLR & Webcam

Live Phone Support

DSLR REMOTE PRO

Layout Editor

Green Screen Photos

Animated & Burst GIF

Animated GIF Overlays

Video Booth

In Program Sharing

Built-in Photo Filters

Photoshop Droplets

Canon DSLR Support

Social booth*

Layout Editor

Green Screen Photos/Video/GIF

Animated & Burst GIF

Animated GIF Overlays

Video Booth

Slow Motion Video

In Program Sharing

Built-in Photo Filters

Photoshop Droplets

Light Painting

Face Morph

Bill/Card Support

Canon DSLR/P&S

* Discount Available for VIP Club Members

DIY or Buy?

DIY – WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I GET STARTED?

Building a photo booth is hard, and you’ll want to do a lot of research before you begin this journey. Examining your overall purpose, budget and skill level will help you decide if you should build or buy. Quality, hard sided, enclosed booths are hard to come by and are often accompanied by a rather large price tag. While there are still a few builders around that have designed reasonably priced and portable options, these types of booths are getting harder to come by. So, if you have your heart set on an enclosed hard shell booth, DIY may turn out to be the most reasonable option for a skilled craftsman. However, if you are considering an open concept booth or perhaps a convertible option with a soft-sided enclosure, it is quite possible that you can purchase a manufactured shell for close to the same price as what it would cost to build.

BUY A SHELL OR GO WITH TURN-KEY?

If this is your first photo booth, we highly recommend purchasing a shell over a full turn key booth, at least in most cases. Why? It is imperative that you have a complete understanding of your equipment and how each component works together. If you are not familiar with how a computer, camera, usb hub and printer all work together and how to troubleshoot the connections between them, you will want to take some time to learn those things. The quickest route to understanding these components is to assemble them yourself, and that’s why we recommend purchasing a shell in most cases.

Some of the more advanced booths, like the Infinite from LA Photo Party, come fully assembled because they have custom components. These types of booths are great, but please make sure that you take the time to understand how everything works together and how to replace parts, in the event that something fails.

Contrary to popular belief, a turn-key solution is not always great for those who are less than tech savvy. Sure, you’ll get up and running faster, but if you have a breakdown, you need to know how to fix it. If you don’t know the interworkings of your equipment, that will be a problem – one that you do NOT want to learn on the job.

RESOURCES

PHOTO BOOTH PRINTERS & SUPPLIES

Imaging Spectrum:  Professional Printers, Supplies and Expertise
We deliver more than printers is not just a tagline. At Imaging Spectrum, it’s our expertise that sets us apart. Our friendly, service driven staff have impressive industry experience and come from diverse backgrounds including film and photography, photo booth, event and old-time photography, the attraction business, marketing, military, customer service and computer science.

CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY

Photo Booth Talk Forum: Founded in 2009, with over 15,000 members, Photo Booth Talk is the largest and oldest independently owned photo booth forum in the world.

Photo Booth Network Group: The largest known photo booth related group on Facebook with more than 8,000 members and a constant flow of conversation.

Photo Booth Community Group: One of the fastest growing and positive Photo Booth groups on Facebook. Whether you’re just getting started or have been in the business for a while, this group is dedicated to business education and fostering personal growth within its members.

Education & events

PBPI Academy: A 3-day intensive learning and networking program hosted annually by Photo Booth Professionals International. This program is designed to delve deep into sales, software, business and technical topics with hands-on classroom style workshops and training.

Photo Booth Expo: The largest known photo booth trade show held annually in Las Vegas, NV, USA

Photo Booth Training: A blog written specifically to help photo booth business owners with marketing, advertising and sales techniques.

Super Boothers: Listen in while hosts Ryan Salinas & Ismail Humet interview Super Boothers from around the world. Get the lowdown on everything you ever wanted to know from your favorite Boothin’ heroes, and soar your business to the highest levels.

PHOTO BOOTH TEMPLATES & DESIGN RESOURCES

Photo Booth Talk Marketplace: Professionally designed photo booth templates, GIF overlays, software interfaces and more.

Editing Tutorials: Learn how to edit our templates in Photoshop.

PHOto sharing software

Photo Party Upload: Share photos direct from Windows or an iPad to email, text, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Includes custom HTML email and microsite capabilities. Hashtag Printing and Flipbooks are also included. Pay per share, per event or per month.

PicPic Social: Share photos direct from Windows, iPad or Android to email, text, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Includes custom HTML email, microsites, hashtag printing and cloud based photo hosting.

Photo Booth Connected: Share photos direct from Windows, iPad or Android to email, text, Facebook or Twitter.

PHOto booth support services

Photo Booth Support: Photo Booth Support was created out of the need for emergency technical support by new and experienced photo booth operators.  Many manufacturers, vendors, and software developers do not provide support when a photo booth is out at an event.  The Photo Booth Support is available when others are not.  Their team is comprised of current photo booth rental business owners who have significant industry experience and significant IT backgrounds.

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