9 02, 2016

Your printer shouldn’t ever let you down

On all the photo booth forums you’ll  see desperate pleas that read something like “I’m at an event and my printer won’t print. HELP”

The best time to address these problems is before they crop up. Here are a baker’s dozen “rules” that can help:

USB cords from the printer should always go into the same port of the computer

A label to make sure the USB cord always goes into the same port

Rule #1 – Always plug the USB cord for the printer into the same USB port on your computer.

Why?   Because often, if you plug it into a different port the computer will install it as a new printer, probably make it the new default, and your booth software may not want to send files to the new location. I always plug my printer into a USB port on the left of any computer, and put a label on the computers so my attendants will use the correct port.

Rule #2 – Turn on the printer before you turn on the computer. This reduces the chance that your computer will try to install the printer a second time.

Make sure the 2" cut is enabled and that you've chosen the correct print size to match your photo booth printer's paper size.

Set printing preferences in Windows as well as in your photo booth software

Rule #3 – Make sure your printer’s default settings are set correctly in the computer’s device and printer setting. Set them in Windows, not your booth software. That means making sure that your printer is set to:

  • The right paper size (4”x6”, for example)
  • The right orientation portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal). This isn’t intuitive.
  • Advanced settings: if you want 2”x6” prints, you’ll need to make sure that the 2” cut is enabled.

Rule #4 – Most photo booth software also has a place to set the printer defaults. You want to make sure that the booth software and the Windows setting are the same. When you save a profile in Breeze, for example, be sure to save the printer settings along with each profile.

Rule #5 – Take the ribbon and the paper out of the printer before you transport it. You may have a streak of 50 loaded transports where nothing went wrong, do you want to take a chance? Every printer manufacturer and every paper vendor strongly advises this simple procedure.

Rule #6 – Empty out the printer’s scrap tray. Dye sub printers leave a short strip from cutting prints apart. They can jam if not removed from the catch tray before moving the printer.

Rule #7 – Extreme temperature changes can cause media to “sweat” and possible stick. Be sure to let your paper and ribbon warm to room temperature before use if they’ve been stored or transported in the cold.

Carry your media outside the printer

Carrying paper and ribbon in the printer during transport can lead to tears and jams.

Rule #8 – You’re going to have left-over paper when the ribbon runs out. That’s normal and the left-over paper has no real value. The ribbons will make exactly the number of prints you paid for.

Rule #9 – When you put your ribbon back into the printer after transport, it will usually automatically find the next usable portion. Print at least one test print after switching media.

Rule #10 – A few printers have a backwind feature so that you can make 4×6 and 6×8 prints on the same media. If you have one of these and don’t activate the backwind feature in the advanced settings, you’ll waste half of your expensive ribbon.

Rule #11 – Carry some extra cables. USB cables for the printer have a tendency to get lost or defective at the worst possible time.

Rule #12 – A good dye sublimation printer is possibly the most expensive and important component of your photo booth. Modern printers are made to precise specifications and are extremely reliable. But they will go “whacko” at the worst possible time, so carry an extra printer. That’s what distinguishes the professional from the amateurs.

Rule #13 – Use layouts that match your printer. Most current printers print 300 dots per inch (DPI) but for a 4″ x 6″ print they expect a file that’s about 1240 x 1840 pixels. That’s because they need a little waste area around the edges so that color goes all the way to the trimmed sides. The older Sony UP-DR200 worked at 334 DPI and expects a image file 1382 x 2048 pixels. One reason why strip designs have to be made with the specific printer in mind. If your backup printer uses a different size layout than your primary, practice before you’re put under pressure.

Blog contributor Chris Lydle is the author of The Photo Booth Book.

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.


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’.


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.

26 11, 2015

Black Friday Deals Are Here


Deals from our Sponsors


Imaging Spectrum:

Save 5% on all photo printer supplies – Promo Code: TURKEY5
Brava Booth Bundle – Brava 21 + Darkroom Booth Software + 2 Boxes of 4×6 Media: $995,  No Code Necessary
Mitsubishi Bundle – Mitsubishi K60-DWS + 1 Free Box of Media: $595, No Code Necessary
Save $25 on Darkroom Booth 2 Purchase – Promo Code: TRKY2515
Save $20 on Darkroom Booth 2 Upgrade – Promo Code: TRKY2015
Save $50 on Darkroom Core – Promo Code: TRKY5015



Photo Booth Talk Market – Templates

Now through November 30, All Templates in Photo Booth Talk Market are $10 ($5 for VIP Club Members).  No Code Necessary.



Photo Booth Expo

Photo Booth Talk Exclusive Black Friday Deal: $100 Off Key Pass Tickets.  OFFER VALID ON NOVEMBER 27 ONLY!
Click here for more information on Photo Booth Expo.  Click here to Reserve Your Tickets.



HootBooth Photo Booth

$200 off and free shipping on the HootBooth Instagram Printer enclosure.  Promo Code: BF2015



Photo Booth Upload

Black Friday Sale at Photo Booth Upload – Valid through December 4, 2015:
20% Off Lifetime Pro Licenses – Promo Code: BLACKFRIDAYPRO
15% Off All Other Licenses – Promo Code: BLACKFRIDAY




November 27 – December 13, 2015 – Buy a Complete Turnkey Photo Booth Package from AirBooth and receive $300 off the regular price.  Call at 716.864.3446 or email info@airbooths.com to redeem.




Now through November 30, 25% off the entire store at MinBooth.com.  Promo Code:Black
Black Friday Special: Minbooth 3.3 Shell + Custom Rolling Case = $2800
First 5 Black Friday Special Orders will receive a free iPad stand, green screen backdrop and started prop bundle.




Now through November 30, Take 40% Off All Props at Yo!Props – Promo Code: BLACK



Photo Booth Supply Co

Friday November 27 ONLY – Free Backdrop from Backdrop Supply when you purchase a Photo Booth Supply Co Booth.  No Code Necessary.



Red Robot Photo Booths

Red Robot’s newest and most popular model The Original Retro is here just in time for the Black Friday sales. For a very special limited time we are sending these bad boys & girls out with free shipping USA wide! Stock is limited.
  • Starting at $2589 including free shipping*
  • Super light weight – just 33 lbs
  • Beautiful images – designed for use with Canon DSLR and Studio Flash lighting
  • Customization – Choose your shell color
  • Precision made – Hand crafted from premium grade Aluminium
  • Completely unique – Others will try but there is nothing like The Original
*Conditions apply, see website for details




Now through Sunday, November 29, take 15% off the entire Store at Backdrops|2|Go with Promo Code: BLACKFRIDAY



Photo Booth Solutions

25% Off All Software Products at Photo Booth Solutions with Promo Code: blackfriday

Photo Booth Enclosures

Black Friday Special: Free Shipping & $200 Off All Enclosures and Cases at Photo Booth Enclosures – No Promo Code Necessary.



PicPic Social

Add the power of social media sharing to your photo booth with PicPic Social! PicPic Social is the best and easiest way for your event guests to share photos, videos and gifs live at their events to Instagram, Facebook, E-mail & Twitter. PicPic Social also includes a hashtag printer and advanced features like data capture and animated gif creation.
For a limited time only SAVE 30% on PicPic Social during BLACK FRIDAY! This promotion is SUPER limited and will sell out VERY VERY FAST!



Whisker Works

November 27-30, select items at WhiskerWorks.com will be discounted 50%.
Photo Booth Subscribers – Use Coupon Code “Thankful25” to receive 25% off all handmade props.  Plus get FREE SHIPPING on orders of $50 or more.

Deals from our Industry Friends

November 27-29: New customers receive 30% off our Unlimited Emergency Support Plan at Photo Booth Support.  Promo Code: bf2015

Now through December 5, take $500 Off a Complete Booth at Your City Photo Booth. No code necessary.

November 27-30, get a Pic Station 2.0 Shell from Booth Masters for $1450. Promo code: BlackFriday

Now through November 30, take 10% off the entire backdrop and booth store at Shutter Qube.  Promo code: blackfriday

10% off on backdrops and social media stands at Photo Booth Backdrops.  Promo Code: BlackFriday

Free Shipping in US 48 on backdrops at drop it Modern.  No Code Necessary

Now through December 1, Take 27% off Individual Albums, Props and Hat Racks at The Moostache.  Promo Code: BLACKFRIDAY

20% off at 1 Stop Photo Booth Shop on Black Glass 2×6 Photo frame cases & Acrylic Block 2×6 Photo frame cases.  No Code Necessary

25% off Paper and 40% off Props & Signs at Papercuts and Woodworks.

20% off any purchase over $100, free standard inserts of your choice with purchase of $150, a free premium 8×10 frame with $200 purchase at Photo Booth Frames.  No Code Necessary

40% off any SmugMug* package.  New Customers Only, valid through November 30.  No Code Necessary.  *Affiliate Link


14 09, 2015

Upselling Print Sizes During the Holidays

6x8_4x6_printWhile it seems most photo boother’s use 4×6 (either as a single print or double 2×6), you may be leaving money on the table. The value of the printed photograph has never been higher and the cost of materials has never been lower for onsite print delivery. 4×6 prints cost around 15 cents on average, while the cost of 5×7 and 6×8 prints are now down to just over 30 cents a print. The fall holiday season is a prime time for upselling your customers on photo print size. 5×7 and 6×8 photos are the most popular sizes for Holiday related events. And it is easy to create 5×7 or 6×8 print templates in Darkroom BoothDarkroom Core  and other software programs. We asked a few industry experts to share some advice on upselling larger print sizes.  Here’s what they had to say:

“At A Custom Look Photography in Denver we have been offering 4×6, 5×7 and 6×8 photo prints for our various options. While our standard sit down and open style photo booths print 4×6, our photographer driven photo stations are almost always 5×7 prints and our Giant Selfie Station offers what else but a giant 6×8 print. We stress the upsell sizes as a premium giveaway and charge accordingly, which of course increase our bottom line. Our Giant Selfie doesn’t even get compared to a standard photo booth and also brings in a much higher rental. The increased profits definitely make up for the inconvenience of having to stock several sizes of media.”

Murray Englander
A Custom Look Photography
Denver, Colorado

“In our photo booth rental business we have found our corporate events provide the biggest opportunity to up sale to a larger print size. Whether the company is marketing a new product or just branding their logo and message, a 5×7 print provides more real estate to accomplish their goal.”

Tiffaney Arbogast-Burke
Extreme Photography Studios
Fort Worth, Texas

4 09, 2015

Why You Should Avoid Discounting


I had the pleasure of attending a workshop presented by TheKnot.com discussing how to avoid discounting. Interestingly enough, the workshop wasn’t about “how to charge more”. Their message was meant to appeal to both the vendors who make up the upper echelon, as well as those who appeal to couples in the budget category. There was a lot of valuable information presented, and I thought I would share some of the details with all of you. No matter what we charge, negotiating has become commonplace these days. The content in the presentation was prepared by Wedding Industry Rescue, though I found bits and pieces of information that were discussed that were also part of an article published on Hubspot here.

Why Consumers Might Ask for a Discount

  • With mini portable computers at our fingertips, consumers have immediate access to more information than ever before. They are educated about negotiating tactics.
  • Your competitors offer products and services at lower prices, and your potential customers are aware of your competitors rates.
  • You’ve made a lackluster first impression with your outdated website, market materials and other online presence causing your potential customers to have a lower perceived value of your product or service.
    • Experts say that it takes 2/10 of a second to make a first impression.
    • Experts also say that it takes 8 additional good impressions to overcome the first impression.

Why Do We Discount?

  • Fear!
    • Believe in yourself, believe in your price.
    • Know your target market and go after them. Are you casting a wide net to catch every fish in the ocean? Or, are you throwing in two or three lines to catch only one type of fish?
  • To Stay Competitive
    • Know who your competitors are and what they charge. Your competitors aren’t necessarily the vendors that offer a similar service, they are vendors that offer a similar service to the similar degree that you offer. Four Seasons and VFW both provide reception venues. They are not competitors. They don’t charge the same rates.

Why You Should Not Discount

  • Sets a bad precedent.
    • As soon as you offer a discount, you can’t go back. Once a potential customer or client knows that you’ll offer a lower price, they’ll expect it the next time. And, they will tell all of their friends and family that you are willing to negotiate or offer your service for less. If you set up the expectation that you offer the same discount during a particular time of year, your referring vendors will wait until you run your annual sale to book your services. Example: A linen vendor in the Southern US offers 50% off from September through January every year. But her business begins to die as soon as February rolls around. Why?  Because every event planner in town knows that she runs the same sale every year. They wait to refer clients or book her services until her sale begins.
  • Lack of confidence
    • When you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t believe in your product, your service or your price. If you don’t believe you are worth your price, your clients won’t either. As soon as you offer a discount, your client immediately loses confidence in you and sees that you don’t stand wholeheartedly behind your product or service. Don’t give your clients a reason to doubt you or the product or service that you offer.
  • Untrustworthiness
    • What is going on in the back of the customer’s mind when you offer a discount to save a sale after you’ve laid out your standard pricing on the table and told them this is best that you can do? Will they think “He just told me that this was the best that he could do, and then he lowered his price when I was about to walk away. What else is he hiding? What else can I get?” Don’t set yourself up for mistrust with your clients.
  • It Damages your Brand
    • Don’t be known as the discount queen. Build your brand in such a way that people value you what you offer and are willing to pay the price for it. They will tell all of their friends and family not to pay your regular rate because they were able to negotiate XX percent discount.
  • Lower Perceived Value
    • People value things based on the price, yet as a salesperson, it is your job to show the value of your service in other ways. Of course you won’t say that your product is the best because it is the most expensive. Your job is to demonstrate how your service can bring something special to your client’s event, to make it not just good but the best.   If you go to the customer with a discount in hand, you’re discarding the value of your service. While the customer may still work with you, they aren’t going to place as much value on your service as they might have before. Thus, when budgets get cut, you may also get the ax. This is especially the case when you don’t ask for a large enough retainer to book your services.
  • The Profit Loss
    • When you continually discount your service, you are cutting in to your bottom line. To make enough money to be profitable and grow, you’ll either have to do more events for less money or learn how to start standing behind your product and service to get the price that you desire. When you have to take on more to stay in the black, you’re going to be rushed, stressed and feel the need to continue booking more jobs to make it all work. That’s when you find yourself casting a very wide net to catch every fish in the ocean. You’ll be pressured to continue to discount, thus starting an endless cycle leading to burn out.

I’ve seen a lot of businesses in our little industry come and go because of the discounting that goes on. They work themselves silly for far too little and realize that it isn’t worth the time, effort and frustration to maintain their businesses. Their light flickers out. If you don’t value yourself, your time and your energy, no one else will. Charge what you’re worth and don’t allow others to dictate your value.

We’ll be back next week with more details on how you can avoid discounting.