The photobooth is my favourite affordable entertainment option.
I love a good photobooth because adding humour livens up the atmosphere, engages your guests, and makes the event memorable. A booth gives guests the chance to be silly in a way that regular wedding photos cannot.
What is a Photobooth?
A photobooth is an area set up at your venue designed for guests to pose for photos at their leisure. You can later print these shots and place them beside that person’s greeting in your guest book or in a separate album altogether.
I had a photobooth at my wedding and the pics were so funny! I knew the kids would love it, but the Uncles and Aunties got super into it too!
Types of Photobooths
Regardless of which option you choose, let your venue know in advance so they can accommodate the space.
1. Contained Booth
Stand-alone contained photobooths are the type that you see at shopping malls or movie theatres. You can literally get inside the booth, close the curtain, and pose for four to six shots. The booth then prints out a strip of photos in a panel format. Unfortunately, this type of booth is expensive to rent for multiple hours (i.e. a few thousand dollars).
2. Open Concept Booth with Professional Photographer
A more affordable option is to hire a professional photographer with photobooth services. An open-concept booth usually includes a nice backdrop, a photographer with good equipment, and various props. Guests can dress up in funny hats, hold up fake mustaches/lips, pretend they are within a picture frame, or pose with messages for the couple.
This service may or may not include on-site printing. Most photographers will give the couple at least one of the following options for receiving files after the wedding: a DVD of high-resolution photos, an online gallery, and/or prints of your choice.
Try and meet with the vendor in advance to see what types of backdrops and props are offered. Make sure he or she is personable. If the photographer is having fun, it will help the guests relax too!
You do not necessarily need to use the same photographer for your photobooth as you use for your main wedding shots. Check with both vendors in advance about their policies on this topic. More tips on what to consider before hiring a photobooth vendor can be found at The Bridal Diaries.
Many Canadian photographers offer photobooth services at a reasonable price. Check out the vendors below, and tell them I sent you!
Seriously, how amazing is this?
3. Do it Yourself
A third option is to create your own photobooth. This is the least expensive option and requires the most effort (funny how that works!) but if you are picky you can make the booth exactly how you want.
You will need:
- Appropriate lighting.
- Easily accessible space in the lobby or at the back of the reception room. It should be away from the main wedding action and not interfere with the venue and catering staff.
- Something to take the photos with. Try using a Polaroid camera, a digital camera with tripod, an iPad, or a laptop.
- Special software with your laptop. (This bride used dSLR Remote Pro and Breeze Viewer Software.)
- A printer and paper if you want to publish photos onsite. (This bride used a Canon Pixma Mini 260.)
- A friend or two to take the photos and help guests figure out where to stand. Some South Asian banquet halls have multiple weddings occurring the same night so you may be uncomfortable leaving your camera alone. Have friends take shifts so one person doesn’t get stuck doing this the whole night.
- A large, somewhat flat backdrop. Larger is better for Indian weddings because we love group shots. Make sure it is big enough to fill the whole photo frame area, otherwise you lose the the illusion of the booth. You can make your own backdrop with paper, streamers, fabric, sequins, or wood cutouts, or purchase a ready-made backdrop (try Drop It Modern). Check with your venue whether you can put the backdrop on the wall – otherwise try sewing loops on the sides of the backdrop and hanging it between two coat racks or other poles.
- A hallowed frame that can fit several faces. Try a local garage sale or antiques shop.
- Props from the dollar store, vintage shops, post-Halloween sales, ThinkGeek or Etsy.
- Signs. Print your own or try an erasable whiteboard or chalkboard for guests to write custom messages. Printables are available online at OneWed, Oh Happy Day (1) and (2), and Wedding Chicks.
A beautiful example of a creative booth done right is the floral pom pom and damask set up below by the Unreal Bride. See the full post to learn how they made it!
More tips on creating your own booth
- The Unreal Bride makes a Hawaiian photobooth from start to finish.
- Instructables for a DIY automated photobooth and a contained photobooth.
- More vintage inspiration (including an adorable sky-blue bike) by the Unreal Bride.
- Elsie at A Beautiful Mess had a backdrop that extended along the floor.
- A Practical Wedding reminds you to charge your camera batteries.
- How to include automatic visual feedback for the guests.
What did I do?
I hired one of the photographers above, for 4 hours at an amazing price. The vendor didn’t have a frame so I bought my own from Toronto’s antiques district at Queen St. West and Roncesvalles Ave. The photobooth was open most of the night but we closed it during speeches and ceremonies. Hands down, it was one of the best wedding purchases I made.
Are you thinking of having a booth?