Remove booth from "Photo Booth".
"Booth" is a limiting idea. Substitute it with experience - Photo Experience. Even substitute "photo." It could be a video experience, a VR experience, or an interactive experience. You will push your ideas so much further if you tear down the walls and literally step outside of the box.
You are creating a memory.
At the core, an experience creates a memory. Your photo booth's appearance, the quality of your service and/or software, and the end-result will be someone's memory. How will your photo booth business be remembered? How will it stand out? What is your unique offering? Define this first, before you buy any equipment.
Expand over time.
The key to a successful photo booth business is to establish your own operational process and define your own comfort zone. There are endless combinations of cameras, lighting equipment, software, photo apps, and tech accessories. How well do you know them? How quick can you use them? How do they work together - is there synergy? It is easy to drown yourself in cool tech, gadgets, and unnecessary costs before you even get hired for your first gig. Start and execute a simple photo booth idea, and then slowly add layers of complexity until you are no longer comfortable operating your booth at live events. If you expand your business using this method, you will always know your limits and maintain a path to success.
Starting a Photo Booth Business
As with any new venture, you want to be sure you are headed into the right industry, opportunity, and are making a solid future investment. If you like special events, people, and photography then owning and operating a photo booth full-time or part-time can be a great lifestyle business. There is real opportunity out there and we are living proof of it!
Photo Booth Market Saturation
Over 100,000 searches per month are happening on Google for photo booth and photo booth rentals nationwide, right now.
(7/21/2016 Domestic USA Search Data via Google Keyword Planner Tool)
The professional photo booth industry is approximately 3,000+ operators and vendors strong in the USA. We estimate this based on one particular industry tradeshow: Photo Booth Expo. Being interested in exhibiting at that show, we had a phone conversation with Rob Savickis of Photo Booth Expo about attendee & exhibitor numbers on 7/15/2016. Photo booth vendors obviously attend other industry tradeshows and events, but an audience that is as specific and new as Photo Booth Expo helps us get a true sense of the professional market size, who all the key players are, and what industry growth continues to looks like.
Hypothetically, let's say there are another 7,000 professional photo-booth owner/operators in the USA outside of the 2,500-3,000 attendees/exhibitors that we know attend the expo. That means there are about 10,000 photo booth businesses nationwide for a growing demand of over 100,000 searches a month. Pretend the World is perfect and fair for a second. If we divide up the opportunities and give (10) events per month to everyone who owns a photo booth business, how much money could they make? Given this perfect distribution, its a true 10:1 opportunity.
PHOTO BOOTH INCOME IS REAL
10 Events @$300.00 for your service is $3,000 per month or $36,000 per year.
10 Events @$500.00 for your service is $5,000 per month or $60,000 per year.
10 Events @$1000.00 for your service is $10,000 per month or $120,000 per year.
10 Events @$1,500.00 for your service is $15,000 per month or $150,000 per year.
What is the point in throwing out these ^ hypothetical numbers?
What we really want you to understand is that there is a 10:1 opportunity at this very second, as we write this, to put up a website and start booking your photo booth business on solely organic search engine results in your local area. Plus, there are dozens of other platforms to acquire customers on: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, SnapChat, Music.ly, etc. So the opportunity is much, much greater if you have the drive!
Now, more than ever, the photo-booth market is wide open and waiting for you to stake your claim. If you want to start a photo booth business, you really should!
We spent 10+ years as a full-service photo booth operator and moved into product development because we wanted to help other vendors be at the top of their game!
The photo booth craze is far from over. In fact, it is just getting started and vendor types and options are getting more and more specialized. Themed photobooths and high-tech booths are just the beginning...Photos, Videos, and VR (Virtual Reality - think "Pokemon GO") are becoming so deeply engraved into our everyday lives that when we attend a special event and a photo booth opportunity presents itself - we participate. (Well, most of us do anyways!)
The photo booth business opportunity is real and the time is now!
Photo Booth Secret
Still not sure if you want to own a photo booth business? Here is the tipping point.
One of the biggest secrets to owning and operating a photo booth business is to recognize the business itself is a self-promoting machine that can drive its own customer leads. How many other businesses have you ever heard of organically market themselves by simply operating? Not many.
Every event you provide photo booth services at is marketing your photo booth experience to hundreds of new potential customers in person and thousands of other people if you post your photos online and allow customers to share them!
Once you realize each interaction is your next opportunity you will find ways to convert more customers from the new relationships you form and you will engage with your audience long after the event is over.
Think about giveaways, takeaways, and swag to give to attendees. Think about signage that directs people to your website with the event's online gallery or your Facebook page. If you give away free copies of your photos via these platforms, it is free advertising for your business! Be sure to watermark or build a digital photo frame / border with your branding. Encourage people to post and share their photo. Each post with your brand attached is a free advertisement!
FORGET THE "BOOTH" IN PHOTO BOOTH
"Photo Booth" no longer means the picture / photo experience takes place in an actual booth.
Stop taking it so literally and understand the only thing that matters is attendee experience. If you can create a unique and awesome photo experience, you can call it a photo booth and charge whatever you want to for the service.
When we say, "charge whatever you want", we really mean this. We have clients who work with celebrities and create high-end meet and greet / VIP experiences. Our ChromaWall products are an element of the photo booth / experience they create. Tickets to these experiences sell for upwards of $10,000 each. Not everybody is going to sell $10,000 tickets for their photo booth, but we want you to sincerely know there are no limits.
You are not seeking to create a photo booth, you are creating a branded, themed, or controlled environment to harvest content in for your clients.
Your photo booth is the physical location where your clients generate their digital content to engage with their attendees during and after the event.
How Much to Spend on Photo Booth Business?
Deciding what type of photo booth business to own/operate determines how much to spend on your photo booth business. It's not "how much should I spend?" it is what type of experience / solution do you want to accomplish? Figure out the experience first, then plan out total expenses.
Remember, every photo-booth feature is an added complexity, both a selling point and another item that can malfunction during your events.
Seriously, please consider that ^ statement again. Find where your ambition matches your budget comfortably! Each owner / operator must find their individual comfort level and perfect balance between setup, technology, desired end-result, and experience.
DesignING Your Photo Booth
Questions to ask yourself when designing a photo booth experience, consider the following:
Questions about Photo Booths
Is there a photo backdrop or is it an open-air photobooth?
How big does the backdrop need to be?
What are the dimensions you require?
Will there be large groups of people? How many people will be standing side-by-side for photos?
What backdrop material makes most sense? Vinyl, Fabric, or Board?
One time client use or reuse and rent time and time again?
How will it be hung? Do you need grommets, pole pockets, velcro, clamps, or magnets?
Will wrinkles be a problem? Will you need a fabric clothes steamer?
Will back-lighting, sunsets, windows, car headlights, DJ lights, etc be a problem?
What type of hardware system do you need?
How long does it take to setup / take down the hardware?
Is it easy to use / adjust the hardware?
Is it durable? Do you get a warranty on it?
Does it need protection from other equipment? Do you need a hard shell case?
Does the hardware need to be stabilized / weighed down enough to withstand intoxicated people?
How portable does your solution really need to be?
Will you need a special vehicle, cart, or container to transport the equipment?
What is on the photo booth floor?
Are you shooting full-length photos? If so, what is on the floor?
Will it have rose petals, balloons, or other fabrics on the ground?
How will you secure items on the floor?
How will you direct foot traffic and/or a line of people?
Will people put their drinks, purses, coats, etc on the floor? Should you provide a table?
What is your camera setup?
Are you using smart-phones and tablets? Will guests be asking you to take photos with theirs?
Are you using DSLR?
Will you shoot with a tripod or free-form like the paparazzi?
Is there video or audio involved?
What is your lighting setup?
Will you use spotlights, softboxes, or remote triggered umbrellas?
Will you use flash photography? Do you need a flash diffuser?
Will you use a ring-flash?
Will you dress your booth with up-lights, LED Light strips, or hanging lights?
What kind of power-strips and cords will you need?
Will there be props?
Are the props physical, digital or both?
Are props branded for sponsors?
Will there be on-site printing?
Will it be full 4x6 or 5x7 photos, photo strips, or magnets?
Will you print photos on site? Will there be multiple sizes and options?
Will guests order photos after the event? Can they order online?
Are photos watermarked? Are sponsors paying for the watermark? Do sponsors look good?
What other technology might you use?
Will there be a WIFI hot spot? Do you need a hotspot device?
What power, plugs, cables, batteries, wires might you need?
Will you use Eye-Fi cards, bluetooth, QR, and/or iBeacons to enhance experience?
Will you allow online sharing, publishing, social media linking?
Can users log into their respective social accounts?
What software and post production will you need to do?
Will you need to batch resize?
Will you need to watermark?
Will you need to batch upload / publish / live stream?
Will you need to process green screen photos?
Photo Booth Franchises and Training Seminars
If you aren't willing to put in the time for trial and error learning, but you have the money there are plenty of companies that will sell you a cookie-cutter bundle. It is possible to get a professional photo booth businesses in a box.
Some of the first photo booth franchise opportunities are popping up and all-inclusive kits which include: backdrop, hardware, software, camera, lights, and operational training/directions. We don't offer these packages because we stick to what we know best - printing and building custom backdrops.
The best advice we can give you to launch your photo booth business is to focus on one thing that sets you apart, do it well, and always be expanding upon that idea for your clients.
If you want to schedule a call to discuss how ChromaWall can help you start a photo booth business or improve your current photo booth business, please contact us. We can help you bring any vision to life! Thanks for reading.