Last week, I returned from Las Vegas where I attended an Industry Photo Booth Conference. This is the same conference that I have been chosen as a seminar speaker at for the past couple years. This year there were over 4,000 attendees, with many being either new or aspiring "photo boothers".
The investment to enter our industry has dropped dramatically over the past several years which has led to a plethora of new photo booth companies. While everyone has to start somewhere, it got me thinking about how, you, the general public, can insure that whichever ever company you hire for your event, will produce a quality experience for your guests. So here are a few tips:
Years in Business: Use this as an indicator only. I have seen several companies produce great results with only a few years experience. Unfortunately, have seen way more poor results, mainly from individuals or companies that have been in business for only a few years. Theses sub par results run the gamut from ugly setups, under and over exposed photographs to poorly dressed attendants.
Photographic Experience: When I started our company 30+ years ago, I was already an amateur photographer (took 3000+ slides on an African photo safari) and my Dad was a professional photographer back in New York. It is hard to adjust your camera settings when there is little knowledge of basic photography. It is amazing how frequently the industry Facebook groups buzz with questions like: How do I make my pictures lighter, darker or eliminate the blurring?
Business Experience: Ask if the company is registered in your state. Do they carry liability and workmen's compensation insurance? Are they a full time photo experience company or part time? Part timers tend not to be insured properly, do not invest heavily into updating to latest technology and usually do not carry the necessary backup equipment if something goes wrong.
What do they offer: Are they a one trick pony? If so, they may try to convince you that their system is best, even though it may not be? This is why at A Custom Look Events we offer many fun experiences-photo and/or interactive. We even offer a fresh mini donut system! Every event is unique and you should be able to choose the experience that is the best fit.
Visit/Samples: It always amazes me how few clients will actually come to our showroom to "test ride" a booth or ask for samples. In our case, many of our clients are referrals from previous customers, event planners or have seen us at an event at a recent event. Not all photo booths are the same. Do your homework, visit the company, look at their equipment and their finished product!
Pricing: Be wary of the Groupon special. I personally know of several events where the company called the week of an event to say their equipment is broken and can't make the event. In reality, they probably booked a higher paying event. A reputable company is going to be registered in your state, pay taxes, carry liability and unemployment insurance, workmen's compensation and make employer social security and medicare contributions by paying their employees on the books. In addition, a good photo company will be constantly investing in new technology and equipment to keep relevant in our fast changing world.