Cherry Picked!

Hand-selected articles, guides, and more from the makers of Check Cherry, designed to help your business grow and flourish.

May 8, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Photo Booth Business Checklist

So you're looking to start a photo booth business. We've got you covered with a checklist of things you'll want to consider as your progress from the initial inception to your first successful paid photo booth customer.

Evaluate Viability

Why are you doing this?

Take some time to evaluate why you want to start a photo booth business. Are you happy in your full-time job and looking for extra income? Perhaps you're unhappy with your current employer and looking to transition to running your business full-time. You might want to supplement your existing business with a new service.

Market Research

It's a good idea to look at your potential competition. Do some google searches for "photo booth rental NEARBY-CITY-NAME" and see what comes up. Take notes of the price points, which markets they serve, and the level of polish presented by them.

Identify your target market and ideal client.

Based on your market research, do you see a hole in the market? There are a lot of use cases for photo booths. Here are some common client profiles one might target:
  • Private parties: expect a lower price point, but make it up in volume. You'll likely be showing up to a private residence, and budgets will be smaller. This is a great place to start for many.
  • School functions: From prom to the homecoming, schools can take their next event to the next level with a photo booth. You're going to need to be flexible because a school may ask you to alter your standard photo booth terms and payment schedule.
  • Weddings: A cornerstone in the event service industry, wedding happen all the time and offer a great opportunity for you to nail down the perfect service to please the wedding party. 
  • Corporate events: Similar to schools, be prepared to be flexible in both negotiating your terms and payment schedule. Ther are a lot of corporate events happening each year: holiday parties, grand openings, tradeshows, to name a few. Corporate clients are often willing to pay more, but they also expect higher quality. 

How will you will your initial business?

Sales will be a big part of making your business a success: it's worth thinking about early on in the process. Take some time to think about how you'll get your first ten paid bookings. While you may be willing to do it for free for family and friends, you're going to need to transition to acquiring paying customers. Those first few bookings can be a great way to acquire new customers and gather real feedback, so be prepared to talk price if someone inquires about hiring your services.

Listen and learn

There are a lot of great resources to help you learn the business before shelling out a single dollar. Start out by being a sponge and soak it all in. When I'm new to a topic, I like to stay quiet and listen to the wisdom already out there. Use the search features on YouTube, Facebook Groups, and Google. Here are a few great resources to get you started:

Are you still feeling good about starting a photo booth business?


Nail down that perfect name and logo

Now that you know your target market and have a good head on your shoulders, you're going to want to come up with a great name. While it may be tempting to have a "photo booth" in your name, leaving it out can open up options for adding different services down the road. A more general and none descriptive name can be great for those who want to incorporate other services such as portrait photography or party games down the road. Keep your target market in mind, while you review design options for your photo booth business logo.

Locking Down Your First Setup

Naturally, you'll need an awesome photo booth experience to make your customers happy and willing to refer to friends. Remember, everyone who steps in the booth is a potential customer, so it's crucial to offer a quality service.

Photo Booth Hardware

The actual booth you can touch. Are you the type to build your own or are you looking for the fast track and willing to purchase from the various suppliers. There are a lot of great photo booth providers out there. There are two common booth types:

DSLR Photo Booths
As the name suggests, a DSLR photo booth uses a DSLR camera connected to a computer (often windows based) to provide the experience.

iPad Photo Booths
The front camera on an iPad may not be quite as good as a DSLR camera. However, the quality keeps getting better, and for many, it's good enough to deliver great photos and happy customers.

Photo Booth Software

Depending on the photo booth hardware you acquire (DSLR or iPad), you're going to want to evaluate the options when it comes to software. There are some photo booth hardware suppliers which also provide software and others who allow you to choose your software provider.

Photo Booth Templates

Also, referred to as overlays, photo booth templates will frame your guest images and offer a great opportunity to personalize the experience for your clients. Some people design their own, and others subscribe to services such as the PBO Design Shop or Photo Booth Tak VIP Club to gain access to pre-designed templates, which can be modified. Check Cherry offers a few free photo booth templates to get you started.

Photo Booth Props

An optional feature and perhaps an upsell opportunity, photo booth props are the fun, goofy, and memorable objects you can provide people to hold/wear before stepping in your photo booth to talk those pictures.

Photo Booth Backdrops

You're going to want to find a beautiful background for the subjects of each photo. Photo booth backdrops can also be an upsell opportunity. The most popular photo booth backdrops are sequin, so that is a good place to start.

Photo Booth Printers

While not all photo booth experiences need to print photos, it will be a common component to your services. Ideally you'll want something that can quickly print so people can move in and out of the booth quickly. Keep in mind the cost of your print media with each booking and know that regardless of the number of guests, your booth can only take so many pictures per hour.

Photo Booth Contract

Be sure to get the terms and conditions of your service nailed down and have each customer sign off on agreeing to them. There are a lot of resources online, and that is a great place to get started, but be sure to have an attorney who is licensed to operate in your state review the wording. The laws of where you work might vary, and if you bring something to be reviewed, the costs will be lower.

Payment and Deposits

It's common for photo booth businesses to charge a deposit for a customer to reserve the date and book a date. Collecting a deposit ensures a person is committed to hiring you. Deposit rates vary, and keeping deposits low will make it easier for people to commit. However, it also makes it easier for people to go with another provider even if the deposit is not refundable.

January 30, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

The Most Popular Photo Booth Backdrops

A lot of business was done using Check Cherry's photo booth booking software in 2019. We thought it would be helpful to analyze and share some of the data with the community.

This article will be helpful if you are new to the industry and looking to buy your first backdrops. After all, you'll want to get the most bang for your buck. For those more established, it may be helpful to get an idea/confirmation of what the market is doing. Perhaps you're missing out on an important option, or maybe you need to diversify so you can stand out from the crowd. Be sure to look at the smaller words below; you might spot an upcoming trend.

This word/tag cloud is based on the name of each backdrop selection that happened on Check Cherry during 2019. The larger a word, the more frequently present. You can think of frequency as the number of times a backdrop was selected for a photo booth booking.

There is no doubt that sequin backdrops ruled the roost in 2019. Here are the top 10 phrases containing two words:

1. "gold sequin" 814 occurrences
2. "silver sequin" 346 occurrences
3. "sequin gold" 335 occurrences
4. "sequin white" 316 occurrences
5. "white sequin" 219 occurrences
6. "sequin silver" 190 occurrences
7. "sequin black" 190 occurrences
8. "rose gold" 180 occurrences
9. "inflatable led" 168 occurrences
10. "white gold" 159 occurrences

And here are the top 10 words we found in the names of the backdrops:

1. "sequin" 17.4% of backdrops selected
2. "gold" 11.8% of backdrops selected
3. "white" 9.7% of backdrops selected
4. "black" 5.3% of backdrops selected
5. "silver" 4.4% of backdrops selected
6. "led" 2.4% of backdrops selected
7. "inflatable" 2.3% of backdrops selected
8. "red" 1.9% of backdrops selected
9. "wood" 1.8% of backdrops selected
10. "rose" 1.7% of backdrops selected

The most popular photo booth backdrop is gold sequin.

If you're looking to get one backdrop that most people want, it looks like a sequin backdrop is a great option. Gold, white, black, and silver backdrops are going to be popular among clients. Remember, preferences vary by market and the type of competition. For example, some backdrops will be more popular at weddings while holiday parties may want something more seasonal.

Bonus Content

Here is an expanded version of the word/tag cloud.

January 23, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

See All Competitor Facebook Ads [Marketing Hack]

Have you ever wanted to see what your closest competition is doing with Facebook advertising? In this article, I'll show you how you can browse the ads of your competitors and cover some ways this information can be helpful and also how it might not be so important.

A few things before we get started:

  • The search covers all Facebook platforms, including Instagram.
  • You can search by the name of a Facebook Page to see results.
  • Only active ads will show.
  • One does not need a Facebook or Instagram account.

About Ad Library

Facebook has been under meaningful pressure related to its business model, privacy policies, and the impact of advertising on social issues, elections, or politics for its platforms. As a response to criticism, Facebook has opened the data and allows people to search for ads. They named this Ad Library. I'm going to ignore searches for "Issue, Electoral or Political" matters, but it's worth noting you can search by keyword, and that is not a feature for all other add categories like photo booth rentals or the booking/CRM software we offer at Check Cherry.

How To Search Your Competitors Facebook Ads

Head on over to the Facebook Ad Library and search for a Facebook page by name to see the results. For example, here is what Check Cherry is currently doing

Reasons This Infomation May Be Helpful

There are several insights on can gather from the search results. First off, are there any results? Your competitors may not be running ads; that can be worth knowing. Another insight is the content of the ads, as it can give you an idea as to how a company positions itself. The sheer volume of ad results can be an indication of their budget and/or the amount of effort they put into the program.

Reasons This Infomation Is So Not Helpful

While it may seem like Facebook is really opening up here, there are a lot of important details missing. For example, you won't know which ads are for retargeting and which are for finding new eyes. Similarly, you will not see what interests or demographics they are targeting. This is a key component to running successful campaigns. Perhaps most importantly, you won't know if there is a positive ROI for their Facebook ad spend. Just because one spends money does not mean it's working.

Closing Thoughts

Keep tabs on competition is a normal and healthy part of winning business. However, it's important to remember: you are not your competition, and what works for them may not work for you. The best way I know to gain insight as to what might work is to talk and listening to customers/prospects. Testing out your original ideas for winning new business is the best way to become/maintain a market leader. I'd stay away from straight ripping off ad copy and running them in your own account. That said, browsing companies in similar industries can be a great way to get inspired.

January 13, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

2019 Highlights

I'm proud of all we accomplished in 2019 and motivated by the excitement and appreciation of our customers when they see each new iteration of Check Cherry. In my recap of 2018, I wrote Matt and I both felt that 2019 was going to be even better than in 2018. I'm happy to share, our instincts proved to be accurate. While it's been a lot of work, it's also been a lot of fun to see Check Cherry continue to mature and help more people.Our customers are continually sharing feedback while they use and implementing the Check Cherry's style of a CRM or booking management system into their business. I want to give a HUGE thank you to all of those who took the time to provide feedback (big and small) to help make the platform better.

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January 6, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Photo Booth Rentals & Sales Tax [General US Guide]

Just about every state in the union imposes some form of sales tax. Among the few states who do not, some of them allow local counties, cities, and municipalities to tack on their own rates. As such, be sure to doublecheck because you may still be required to collect on that next booking.The intent of this guide to help you quickly understand some key concepts related to sales tax and how they might impact your photo booth business. It's important to note: taxes in the United States can be complicated, making compliance painful for small businesses. Often some areas need interpretation. After reading this guide, you'll have a better understanding of several important concepts.

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December 27, 2019 Judd Lillestrand

Managing Availability For Online Bookings

Happy Holidays! Check Cherry now has more advanced features around the concept of managing your company's "Availability," so you can be sure you have everything you need before taking that next self-service booking. 📷📦💻✔️Over the years, we've learned firsthand how service providers like you run unique businesses, and the standard inventory/equipment management concepts just would not have cut it for our booking software. A big thank you to everyone who shared their feedback/thoughts with us and also for the patience while we devised a solution that is modern, easy-to-use and crazy powerful.We packed a lot of stuff into this release and also created a video.

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January 10, 2019 Judd Lillestrand

2018 Highlights

Looking back, 2018 was an amazing year for Check Cherry. With your help, we were able to continue improving the platform making it easier to use and more powerful. A sincere thank you to all of those who took the time to share their thoughts with us. Here are just a few things we accomplished together in 2018:Improved Tax SupportTax support in Check Cherry is rock solid. From managing different rates on a per event basis to allowing for only certain packages or add-ons to be be taxable. Your accountant is going to love what we did in 2018.PayPal PaymentsThis long requested feature finally hit production.

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August 13, 2018 Judd Lillestrand

Call-to-Action Guide [Photo Booth Tips]

Getting someone to visit your website is hard work. That's why it is important to maximize the value of each visitor. Calls-to-Action (CTA) can help guide your visitors to the next step of the sales funnel. After reading this guide, you'll have a solid understanding of what makes an effective call-to-action. You will also have several simple and practical ideas you can implement throughout your marketing website to help nudge people along the process of hiring your services.What is a call-to-action?A call-to-action (CTA) is a text on your website, often a button, designed to prompt an immediate response from the visitor to click and take the next step in the sales process. You'll see these on just about every webpage you visit.

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February 21, 2018 Ross Holman

7 Great Ways To Automate Your Photo Booth Business

I absolutely love the notion of keeping my customer experience consistent and saving time. This year I've really dialed up my customer automation efforts. I thought I would take a few moments to jot down some ways I'm automatically sending messages with Check Cherry for my photo booth and mobile DJ company, Local Boy. Generally, any email to the customer should be sent with intent to provide value and/or helpful information to the customer. Setting up automation is super easy, so don't feel overwhelmed. We have a video showing you just how easy it is to get started.The Proactive NotesI've been laying the groundwork for delivering an amazing customer experience by automatically sending out emails leading up to the event.

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February 15, 2018 Matt Goatcher

Feature Enhancement: One Click Lead Conversion

We hate busy work and are always looking for ways to make your life easier and create the best photo booth software. Now you can convert a Lead into a Reservation with a single click. Get more leads, close more sales and grow your business with Check Cherry.While this may seem small thing, we know it's the little things that count and add up to make one awesome service.If you want to learn more about Check Cherry's Leads, watch this video:A huge thanks to the Check Cherry customers who suggested this feature. We hope you love it!

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