(443)762-4393 gerald@bmorephotos.com

Customers looking to rent a photo booth often ask which is better: digital or old-fashioned film. The answer is up to the person. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

The classic, vintage style of a film booth gives them a high “cool” factor, and their photos always look great. Unfortunately, due to the rise of digital photo booths, film booths are becoming harder and harder to find. If you do manage to find a film photo booth for your event, there are some other factors you should be aware of before you make your final decision.

Film booths are slower to print than digital booths; it takes them about 3 minutes to develop a photo. They are also more expensive to operate and, weighing up to 900 lbs, more expensive to transport and difficult to bring inside some buildings. These added costs make film booths more expensive to rent than a digital booth.

When you take a picture in a film photo booth, the resulting photo strip is one-of-a-kind. Film booths are unable to store a copy of the images. Because the process is entirely mechanical, there are no saved files and no negatives. Each strip that is developed is unique; there will never be another copy. This is part of what makes the film booth experience special, but it can have its drawbacks if you are trying to put together a scrapbook of your event. If you use a film booth and your guests do not leave you a copy for a scrapbook, then you will never see their pictures.

These days the digital photo booth is king. The lower cost to operate makes rentals a lot more affordable. Guests only have to wait about 10 seconds to receive their photo strip, and you can even get a CD at the end of the night with all of the crazy pictures you and your friends took. Make sure to rent a photo booth that prints two strips of photos so your guests can share or leave you a copy.

Digital photo booths are sometimes thought to have poor image quality, but this reputation is undeserved. It is true that most of the booths that you find at malls and amusement parks these days have cheap, tacky designs and grainy photo quality. Some manufacturers seem to have lost touch with the essence of the photo booth.

The good news is that a digital photo booth doesn’t have to compromise quality or style. A few companies are emerging around the country that has honored the nostalgic quality of the classic photo booth but combined that with the features that people love in a digital photo booth. These digital booths always produce great pictures, and may look even more classic than some of the “classic” film photo booths.

 Why A Photo Booth Works

If you’ve been considering a photo booth for your wedding and weren’t sure if it’s a good idea… it is. It’s trendy, fun and a good value. As a cruise director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, I had an opportunity to observe people in a celebratory environment and was particularly tuned to what they enjoyed and how they reacted to entertainment as a group. After 3 years running a photo booth company, I am still amazed at the way people react to a photo booth at a wedding. I started to ask why!

When I first heard the idea, it sounded stupid, until I saw it with my own eyes. Sure enough, this old idea, which we would casually pass up with hardly a second glance at the mall, is breathing new life into wedding entertainment. When people get in the booth together, a spark ignites, the child within them comes out, and they play behind the curtain, seeing how silly they can make the photos and laughing the entire time. It’s clear to me that photo booths are the new “chocolate fountain”, that is to say, a new staple of entertainment at weddings and parties.

So why is it that while every person there has a phone with a camera in it, they line up to play in the photo booth?

UNFAMILIAR ENVIRONMENT: On cruise ships, people were more childlike and open to silliness because they were out of their element. They looked to us (the crew) for cues how to act. When we showed them it was OK to be playful, they felt free to be silly and had a blast, moving out of their usual roles. A photo booth works much the same way.

NOSTALGIA: Everyone has been in a photo booth as a kid and being in one as an adult brings you back to your childhood. Older folks may not have been in one for 50 years and stepping inside is like stepping back in time.

PRIVACY: It is something like a game of peek-a-boo! We know we are going to show our photos to everyone, there may even be an external monitor, yet when that curtain closes we feel we have the privacy to loosen up, distort our faces and pop out laughing! Then we show them our 4 frozen moments of goofiness!

SPACE: No matter the size of the booth, you have to get close to others, breaking down our usual social barriers as we suspend our personal boundaries. This is exhilarating in itself, but it also means the usual rules of conduct don’t apply, and we let ourselves “play” and interact with the booth and the people we are with. It’s fun.

MEMORIES: The photo booth captures people who might not normally be photographed together. What a wedding photographer captures are quite different from what a photo booth captures. Strange pairings of people who might only be together at your event are preserved forever. This could include family members mixing with college friends from the opposite coast, children with great-grandparents, and best buddies who have never met until now. It gives them something to do together; an experience to share.

ENTERTAINMENT: Most importantly, a photo booth works at a party because it is a source of entertainment. For all of the reasons above, it is very entertaining. It’s less about the photos and more about the experience you have while you are in the booth. You squeeze, you giggle, pose and mug your faces, use props and get creative! Not everyone enjoys the dance floor, but everyone has a face!

Old and young, rich and poor, across race and religion, everyone has fun in the photo booth. Once you unleash your version of the “Roger Rabbit” on the dance floor, there’s no editorial control (yikes!), but if you don’t like your photos, you don’t have to show anyone, and you have the option to go again. Plus, each guest goes home with a wedding favor which reminds them how much fun they had at your wedding!

So, a photo booth serves 3 main functions for one price: entertainment, memories, and flavors. That’s not bad value for your dollar. Photo booths at weddings is still a very fresh idea which is always favorable with today’s brides who are looking for unique ways to entertain their guests. Every bride wants her reception to be memorable. Having a photo booth at your wedding reception will be something people enjoy and remember.

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