Competing with the Craigslist DIY Portable Photo Booth Company.
I am sure I will have some people asking, what is a DIY booth? DIY simply means Do It Yourself. If you go to Youtube, there are people that will try to show you how to create your own photobooth experience for less money than it would cost to hire a professional company.
Of course this doesn't just apply to portable photobooths. If a wedding is on a severe budget, it is cheaper to have a pot-luck dinner than to hire a professional caterer. Picking your own flowers is cheaper than going to a florist. A 13 year old friend of your cousin will probably DJ on his or her i-pod for a lot cheaper than a professional company will. Can someone run their own portable photobooth? Probably they can try. Can they do it as well as you? I hope not. If they can then you probably should not be in the business.
I remember reading a blog where this lady explained in great detail how to create your own photobooth at your wedding, and how she did it at hers. There were no instant pictures. Nor was there live view. At least she did use a DSLR camera, because that was what her sister owned, and she borrowed it from her.
After going through all the work getting the booth ready for her wedding she forgot to do one thing. Her sister never charged the batteries for the booth, so at her wedding all she got was two minutes worth of photobooth. Of course a real photobooth would have used an AC adaptor so this would not have been an issue, and would hopefully have had backup.
I guess if the worst thing that happened at her wedding was she did not have a photobooth, then things could be worse, but she did teach us a good lesson. Apparently, her brother did make some use of the backdrop with his click-and-shoot camera, so they did get a few pictures.
Competing With DIY Booth Photographers
There are some photographers out there offering excellent photobooths, just
as there are DJ's offering excellent photobooths.
However, some photographers call their setup a portable photobooth when in reality what they are offering is their body holding a camera, as well a backdrop.
As long as they clearly explain what they are offering there is no issue. More accurately what they are offering is called doing a photo shoot, and they may be very good at it.
They may add some props to enhance the experience and there is nothing wrong with that too.
There are 2 main features however, of a REAL portable photobooth that a simple photo shoot does not offer.
1. LIVE VIEW – people really like seeing themselves on the video screen as their photo is being taken. On the screen they see a countdown such as ``6 seconds to picture 1 of 4``.
2. INSTANT PRINT – remember those Polaroid cameras in the 70s and 80s. People don`t want to see their picture next month or even next week. In today`s society there is a demand for instant gratification. People want their photos instantly. If there are no instant photos then I personally don't think someone has the moral right to call what they are offering a photobooth.
Yet there remain many times people will call something that is not a photobooth – well - a photobooth, and often at a very low price. Most commonly, some photographers will include a so-called photobooth as part of their package.
While some photographers do use real photobooths (and I have sold real photobooths to some excellent photographers) very often this so-called photobooth is nothing more than the photographer's body holding a camera, maybe with a backdrop. If you are lucky, maybe they have some props.
If you are competing with such booths, it is very important for you to point out to your prospect as I did above why a real photobooth is a far superior experience to just a photographer with a backdrop.
Make sure you stress the value of a real photobooth that provides instant pictures. One of the reason for the success of photobooths is that people like instant gratification, and appreciate a memento that they can take from the party or the wedding. Two weeks later for the first picture just won't (or shouldn't) cut it in the photobooth business.
Second, part of the appeal of the photobooths is the ability to see yourself (or your group) as the picture is being taken. Without the live-view aspect a photobooth just is not a photobooth. Furthermore, being able to see the pictures recently taken on an external monitor adds to the complete experience. While a pseudo photobooth may be OK and better than nothing, it is no replacement for a real portable photobooth.