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 you progress from the initial inception to your first successful paid photo booth customer.
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.
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, weddings 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. There 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 into 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 of 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.
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