If you are anything like me you are always paranoid that, when buying into something you know very little about, you haven’t quite got the best deal. I would love to be a mechanic, holiday rep, property developer, insurance broker, and many other things to ensure I’m always buying from myself, but sadly, that isn’t possible.
Having recently researched both hiring a booth, and setting up a photo booth hire company, I can give you some useful points to consider when hiring one for yourself, in an effort to arm you with all the information you need to ensure you get the right service, at the right price.
What to pay
Prices can vary quite significantly (£450 – £700 for a 3 hour hire), but quite often, those at the top end of the scale offer a very similar package to those towards the bottom. You might just be paying extra for a company who has attended several hundred events and therefore has more experience. But, experience in this industry doesn’t really offer YOU anything extra. So, as long as whom ever you hire from appears professional and organised, flexible, quick to respond to your enquiry and has the right equipment, then you have nothing to worry about. Similarly however, I would avoid paying anything less than £350. Buying too cheap can be worse than buying too expensive.
On the flip side, there are some companies who charge more given that they have a greater selection of booth design styles to choose from. In this instance, paying the extra for a design you really want is worth the money, as paying a booth company to customise their photo booth to suit your style can turn out to be even more expensive. With regards to customising, again, beware of additional charges you may receive for this being organised for you. Whilst it is right to be charged a little on top of what companies pay for their time, it should really only be no more than 10%, given they are likely to already have the suppliers in place.
Be aware if you are hiring from anyone based a significant distance from your local area, as companies may charge a premium for travel. I have seen companies in the Midlands and beyond charge a set fee of £150 to travel to London, and basically just sacramento photo booth because it is London. Others will quote bed and breakfast (which they may not use) at £100 +. Try to use someone local, or at least someone who just charges you for the petrol they use, and maybe a little more on top for their travel time.
Software: 90% of photo booth companies use the same software, so the options that come with this are fairly standard (choice of print styles and format, instant Facebook upload, choice of colour or black and white photos). Just decide what you need and check they can accommodate it.
Cameras – for genuine picture quality, avoid a webcam. You will be told webcam enables video messaging as well as photos, which is true, but you lose picture quality. In addition, the video messaging doesn’t tend to be that popular, since guests actually want to take something with them from the booth, which they can do with a photo. Furthermore, many DSLR cameras have a HD video messaging function anyway, allowing for at least 15 seconds recording time as standard, which can be upgraded to allow for up to 3 minutes.
Printers – as long as the booth you hire has a dye sublimation printer, which most booths do, this is fine.