Photo booths are increasingly a sought-after service for all kinds of events, from personal ones such as weddings to large-scales function dinners. With so many photo booth vendors popping up offering such services, Singaporeans are spoiled for choices. When it boils down to choosing a photo booth vendor, it is too easy to fall into the trap of seeking the cheaper options; beware, for not all bargains make for a good deal!
Being an experienced photo booth vendor*, we know just how to spot the difference between a trusted vendor, and an awful one. Here’s are four simple tips to check on your search for the perfect photo booth.
* Till date (as of 7 Feb 2017), we have provided our photo booth services at 319 events.
1. Beware the ‘Hobbist’ photo booth vendor
It is not difficult to set up a basic photo booth: a decent camera, a PC and a functioning printer are all it takes. However, to do a great job is another story. Details such as camera quality, printing speed, and variety of props available should be taken into account, and your worst bet is to place your trust on a ‘Hobbist’.
Who is a ‘Hobbist’? They are people who run a photo booth ‘business’ on the side on top of their full time job, turning their interests – hobbies – into extra income. As their photo booth ‘business’ is just a side-line job, they tend to have limited, basic equipment, just enough to set up a simple photo booth. Their services are also priced at a cheaper rate to compete with professional photo booth vendors. Short-term focused, Hobbists aim to earn any amounts they could, instead of building a trusted brand for themselves.
Spot them: They have no websites, sometimes not even a Facebook page, and definitely no legal business entity. When faced with a Hobbist, run!
2. Facebook reviews
Many photo booth vendors have a Facebook page to communicate with clients, and these pages offer clients the ability to leave reviews of their experience. Sadly, it is in human’s nature to likely leave a negative rating in case of a bad experience, and less likely to write good feedback albeit a satisfying experience.
High rating reviews detailing photo quality, customer service, responsiveness and fun meter of the photo booth are hard to come by. That is precisely why the number of positive reviews is a very strong indicator of the vendor’s quality. Another tip is to spot names of the team, as it would mean that the reviewer have experience interacting with the photo booth vendor directly.
Spot them: Bypass one-liner, 5-star reviews as they tend to be spam accounts created to boost the page’s rating. Be sure to check out the long elaborated reviews left by real individuals.
3. Check the photo booth vendor’s online gallery
Most established photo booth vendors will have their own online gallery, a portfolio of sorts where clients could easily view and download photos to compare quality. These galleries are usually be found on their websites. For reference, we provide two galleries, one for still images and one animated files like GIFs and videos.
From the gallery, you can check for the vendor’s photo quality, design quality, prop variety and more. A tell-tale sign that your photo booth is going to be a bad experience is when the photos are dull and lifeless, with awful lighting (see below).
Spot them: If a vendor does not even have an online gallery, it is likely a Hobbist (see point 1) who has no resources and expertise (or simply can’t be bothered) to create an online gallery. Our tip remains: run!
4. Never be afraid to ask, ask, and ask
After you have gone through all the above procedures and checked for proper business entities, positive Facebook rating, and high quality galleries, you should have narrowed down to the final handful of photo booths. Now, it’s time to ask questions. Ask them:
- “What’s your track record?” — How many corporate events have they done? What kind of private events have they done? As pragmatic as it sounds, experience goes a long way and photo booth vendors who have a good track record will less likely ruin your event. Even in the case they do mess something up, they would know how to fix it.
- “What’s your contingency plan?” — What happens in case of faulty equipment during my event? Faulty equipment is but one of the many things could go wrong during a photo booth service. Experienced photo booth vendors however, will always have a back up plan to ensure your event runs smoothly.
- “What equipment do you use?” — there are three main things you need to look out for – camera, printer and lighting. Firstly, make sure they use a decent DSLR. Secondly, keep a look out for a ‘dye sublimation printer’. This kind of printer has a faster printing speed and can generate one 4R print in about 8-15 seconds; inkjet photo printers are a no-no, as they take ages to print a limited quantity. You wouldn’t want to keep your guests waiting, right? Lastly, check their lighting equipment: do they use continuous or flash? If it’s the former, chances are photos taken would be dull and of a lousy quality.
A ready photo booth vendor will always be there to answer your doubts, so ask away!
These 4 tips are not an exhaustive list, but a good start. Any decent vendor would be able to prove themselves right with the above checklist. If your search for a good photo booth vendor have failed thus far, fret not, as you can always count on us. Check out our photo booth services here!