How to Easily Find the Best Photo Booth Rental Prices
Reading Time – 10min
Short Summary: If you find something too good to be true don’t take the risk. Listen to your gut. You get what you pay for. Try spending over $500 on a photo booth to be safe or just Do It Yourself. Check out what people are saying on Yelp. Focus on getting the essentials first (1. Time, 2. Camera, 3. Light, 4. Printer & 5. Specialize). Keep the features simple. Less is more. Add-ons aren’t totally necessary. Get only what you need and don’t let it lure you away from a company delivering on the Top 5.
Full Article: Are you shopping around for a good deal on photo booth rental prices or just trying to figure out how much to spend on your next photo booth rental?
In this article we’ll cover a wide range of average prices from various photo booth rental companies in South Florida and compare them to others around the nation. We’ll give you our take on what a fair price would be on a photo booth and what that would include. We’ll also give you a few secret pointers to beware of before shopping around.
“You Get What You Pay For!”
We’ve all heard the iconic phrase, “You Get What You Pay For” but sometimes you don’t always know if something is really too cheap or really too expensive. So where can you go to determine what the average price should be?
Thumbtack will tell you an average price for a photo booth nationwide will range from $275 on the low end to $525 on the high end and $380 being an average cost. However, in South Florida the average cost is actually $305 with a low cost of $205 and a high of $420. Mind you these numbers are averages from profiles on Thumbtack. These averages do not necessarily include photo booth businesses who are not on Thumbtack.
Most businesses that are new or just hungry for work will jump on big sites like Thumbtack, Groupon, Living Social, Craigslist, etc. Sites like this provide instant access to people searching for deals to services online. Likewise, most people searching on these platforms are looking for discounts to save money. Or they’ve had a good experience using them in the past and are optimistic about trying it again for other services.
If you find yourself without high expectations and you want a deal then explore these sites with an open mind. You may end up finding something that’s perfect for you. We advise to search within sites that are trustworthy, have a good reputation and require business owners to create an account. It helps when a review/listing site has real customer reviews so the business is held accountable to do good job. It’s simple the customer wants a good job and the business wants a good review. This will ensure the business continues to receive good leads.
Check out Yelp for honest reviews
We really like what Yelp is doing. Their slogan is, “Real People, Real Reviews”. One thing that Yelp does differently is they hide reviews from people who are not regularly active on their system. We have tons of real reviews from our clients but since the client doesn’t actively participate on Yelp their reviews do not show up. You can certainly scroll to the bottom of any profile to see all the other reviews but they don’t count them or show them in an obvious way. This helps eliminate those fly by night fake reviews that businesses can purchase online. It also lets the real users who actually care have a voice. Most people only write reviews for places when they’re really happy or really mad. Yelp tends to bring out more of an honest approach in what people are thinking about a particular place. Check to see if the company has the “People Love Us On Yelp” sticker. They send it out to all their vendors who are doing well.
Consider creating a DIY Photo Booth
If you end up finding a price that seems too good to be true don’t go for it. Listen to your gut. If the price point is too high you may be better off just creating a DIY Photo Booth. There are so many tutorials online or hobbyist photographers who would be more than willing to take a stab at it. The lowest price point of $205 (for South Florida) that Thumbtack provides is REALLY low, so tread carefully. This almost sounds like you’re renting a gum ball machine or a phone charging station. Very few businesses can operate well at these prices unless there dropping off other products or providing other services at your event. They’re either dominating the marketplace with a ton of volume or they’re spreading themselves way too thin.
Here are some great DIY Photo Booth Backdrop Ideas to explore should you not want to pay over $500 on a photo booth.
What to look our for when renting a cheap photo booth
Chances are if the price of the booth is really cheap its because corners are being cut somewhere. A photo booth rental company is able to get their costs down because their not spending as much on the time, technology, material or their attendants. Here are some things to look out for and ask lots of questions about before booking:
1. Might not be offering instant image sharing via text or email at the event
2. The digital images they give (or not give) could be low resolution files and low quality
3. The quality of the backdrops or booth setup is cheap and run down
4. Your printer might be inkjet and not dye sub (recommended)
5. Printouts may be limited in size (ie. 2×6) or number of prints per session
6. The camera could be a point and shoot, web cam or tablet camera and not a nice DSLR
7. The light may be a harsh direct bulb (soft umbrella preferred)
8. The attendant might not be very pleasant at your event
9. Too many events could lead to being unorganized, show up late or possibly overbook the event which could leave you scrambling to find a replacement days before
10. The props could be cheap, tacky or dirty
11. The images could have a watermarks on them
12. The lens on the camera could be kit lens or inexpensive
13. There might be a limit to how many times a guest can enter the booth (rare but possible)
14. The space may only allow for groups of 2-4 people instead of large groups
15. No social sharing capabilities
16. Software or computer is slow and keeps people waiting in line too long
17. Number of prints or hours included may be vague
18. Images of what appears on the site is different then what you get at the event
19. The booth setup looks different in the mock up then what is actually at your event
Realistic photo booth rental prices?
Ok lets get honest with ourselves. You were hoping for less but $500-$1500 seems to be a more accurate price for a photo booth rental with add-ons that can go up to $3000. To some that may be jaw dropping. To others that’s no sweat. The reason for such a large swing is because there are so many factors at play. It’s hard to separate the bare essentials from the superficial fluffy items. It’s also hard to tell what each business does differently. Just because a company details out a bullet list of features it does not mean both services are equal. You have to really look at what makes the company unique and different.
We know of several photo booth businesses where the owners take pride in caring for their setup and personally attend the events ensure things go flawless. They’re not spreading themselves too thin and trying to be at every event. Doing a good job for a limited amount of clients is more important to them then winning business. We’ve also seen photographers have a nice camera setup on a tripod with soft umbrella lighting and the picture quality is top notch. It just doesn’t compare to the other tacky cheap booths on the market. They both offer different services and serve a different type of client. Both could say we’re an open air photo booth but what does that really mean to the client who is renting a booth for the first time?
What are the essentials?
1. Operation Time – Make sure you have the proper amount of time for your event. Most events need at least two hours to start. Three hours is more common especially for weddings. The amount of time you get at the event is probably the most important thing. Don’t go cheap here. Make sure you get the right amount of time you need.
2. The Camera – Make sure the camera is a newer DSLR camera over 18 mega pixels with a nice lens. The lens just as important as the camera, if not more important. Having a DSLR camera allows for interchangeable lenses so you’re not stuck with just the kit lens. Don’t just assume they’re packing the booth with the right gear. Request to see a couple high resolution images of what the final image quality will look like. Most images look just fine when they are resized on a website. When you get the big file you can zoom in and see what the actual image quality is like. You can access any of our galleries and download the full resolution images to compare for yourself.
3. The Light – The light they use is just as important. The bigger the light the better the quality of the light source. Having an umbrella or soft box is ideal so the light isn’t super direct and harsh. Think of it like a cloud covering the sun. Taking a picture of yourself in direct sunlight isn’t super flattering. It will make your face look shiny, create harsh shadows. You want a photo booth that doesn’t just point a direct bare bulb flash at your face. Especially if this is a wedding. People are usually coming dressed up and would love to get a good looking picture of themselves with their family or partner. We find that most people end up changing their social media profile pics right after the event. Usually its because the lighting is incredible and it makes them look good.
4. The Printer – Make sure they are printing with a dye sublimation printer not an inkjet. Ink Jet printers take a while to print (which means guests will be waiting) and the ink can smudge easily from finger prints. Dye Sublimation prints transfer with heat and are instantly dry when they come out. Plus the image is coated and sealed. This will protect your images from moisture or UV lighting hence allowing your printouts to last. Plus the images color and sharpness is very professional.
5. Specialize – Does the company you’re considering specialize in photo booths or have a background in photography services. Too many companies are just adding photo booths to their endless supply of entertainment or rental services. If the company appears to be a one stop shop for everything more than likely their not putting most of their daily attention toward providing the best photo booth experience. Photo Booth’s have a lot of moving parts and still require a human touch to get everything working just right. I’ve seen some photo booth owners take a great product and make it look terrible. Specializing in photo booth rentals and having a Creative Director on board will guarantee you get a consistent and cool look at each and every event.
What are the Non-Essentials
Pretty much everything else you get is going to be the less important items on the list. Make sure to refine your list of prospects by going through the above 5 steps first before moving on to the next. Too many clients make the mistake of treating the non-essential items as a priority and get tricked into a cheap photo booth.
Features – You’ve seen or heard about them from somewhere or someone and its in your head that you need to have these features. At the end of the day features are just features. All photo booths can provide mostly all of the same features like Open-Air Photo Booth, Closed-In Traditional Booth, Green Screen, Boomerang, GIF, Video, SloMo, etc. If one of these features is very important to you make sure they still deliver first on the essentials. Second keep it simple. Less is always more.
Add-Ons – Anything that you add-on to your package that isn’t totally necessary can be things like a custom backdrops, additional prints, props, personalized printouts, custom branded screens/wraps, scrapbooks, albums, sharing kiosks, tents, flags, etc. Treat them all like add-ons and get only what you think is really necessary. These are the carrots that lure people into bypassing a really good photo company because the guy next store threw in some superficial add-on.
Warning – Is Unlimited Really Unlimited?
One final thing to take note of is the word “unlimited” or “double prints” that gets thrown around quite a bit in the photo booth industry. First, getting a set number of prints is not an essential thing to have. If you’re really wanting to not worry about it then just get a package that includes unlimited sessions and unlimited prints. But try to understand what they really mean by unlimited. Have them explain it over the phone. We’ve heard some places wording it that way but it doesn’t actually mean what the client may be intending.
In the end, get on the phone and talk it out. You will get a good feel from them if they sound shady. Again, always listen to your gut. It’s there to caution you and help you when things are uncertain.
Wish you all the best in your journey to find the perfect photo booth for your next party or event. If you ever need to rent a photo booth contact us and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.