Where to put your photobooth at your event

Over the weekend I covered a large event at a beautiful historic location in Montreal (the Théatre St. James) which used to be an opulent and ornate old bank.

Théatre St. James in Montreal
Théatre St. James in Montreal

It is a spectacular place for an event – commodious main event space and a secondary space in the basement with access to the old bank vault, which can be converted into a lounge as was done at this event.

Inside the vault
Inside the vault

The engagement included both continuous event coverage and a photobooth from my company, lePartybooth.com. Photobooths never seem to get old and they add an easy and fun activity for guests of all ages at an event. They also provide branding opportunities for sponsors and the event organizers through the use of branded imagery, green screened images and take away, instant prints.

However, to get the full value of your photobooth, consider where in the event you ask for it to be set up. While set-ups vary between open air mobile studios and premium standalone kiosks, most photobooths require about 15 x 15 feet, and ideally even a bit more space for the props table and prints.

Not every event space has optimal locations for photobooths, but your provider should be able to counsel you on where would be ideal. From the client point of view you want the booth somewhere in plain site to the main event and easily accessible by your guests. If they have to go up or down a flight of stairs, or leave the party to go to a secondary room, your participation will drop off a cliff and you will not be getting the best value for your money.

Encourage your guests to share their photos on social media with your event #hashtag

If you are planning to include a photobooth at your next event, keep these simple tips in mind:

  • Include the photobooth somewhere in the main event space
  • Remind your guests a few times throughout the evening that the photobooth is available for their use and they don’t have to pay to use it (*unless you are using the booth as a fundraising tool)
  • Ask your provider if they can furnish you with a few images from the booth to show on the main screen during the event
  • Encourage your guests to share their photobooth images online via the sharing functions built-in to the booth using your event hashtag

And a bonus idea:

If you really want to leverage the photobooth, consider running an in-event contest, offering a prize (voted on by applause or some other crowd-engagement measurement) for the wackiest or most outrageous photobooth pose of the evening.

Photobooths are always popular and including one in your event budget creates another sponsorship vehicle or place to extend the reach of your marketing. Having decided to spend the money, make sure you get the best use from it by making it a prominent and well-situated element in the layout of your floor plan for the event.

These photos are contagious – How to make your next product launch go viral

When a company wants to get the word out about a new product it is launching it often organizes an event. Influencers are invited (bloggers, specialists in the field, client evangelists), wined and dined and given opportunities to sample, try, and hopefully be wowed by the new product. An event photographer is often included in the marketing budget for the event, to help capture images of client interactions with the product and create a sense of excitement around the product launch, and therefore, the new product.

A bottleneck exists however, between the intended purpose of the photos produced and the way event photos are typically processed. The normal method is for the event photographer to deliver a set of images (usually via a passkey protected website) directly to the client, who then takes a few days to review them and sends them off. If they are really on the ball they will solicit a small set of key, high res images to have on hand immediately to send to media or through other channels (perhaps their brand’s Facebook page or Twitter feed). While this is a step in the right direction, there is a better way to really leverage your investment in event photos: incorporate a photobooth experience and make it easy for your guests to access and share their own photos.

A photobooth experience is an innovation on the standard meet-and-greet photo whereby guests enter a space, pose in front of a branded backdrop, and move on.  While this method is good for capturing countless very similar images of separate individuals and couples, it doesn’t actually create a lot of value for the organizer. The event photographer may spend an hour or more setting up the lighting and (depending on the size of the invitation list) shooting the arrivals, usually at additional cost to the event organizer. Is  the yield worth it? The end client (the event planner, PR firm or coordinator) will receive a large volume of nearly identical shots that they can only use a few of, guests will have a rather boring experience posing for a photographer, and the images will at best feature on the company/brand webpage somewhere where they are unlikely to be copied or shared by the subjects at a very high share rate. 

A better approach, and one with proven social virality, is to incorporate an element of whimsy and fun into these posed shots in front of a creative backdrop. At lePartybooth, for example (a sister company of Julian Haber Photography) a vast range of props are provided along with a huge selection of varied and playful backdrops. These props and accessories become playthings for the invitees who invariably love the experience of playing dress up. No matter what your product, a photobooth experience can greatly enhance your guests’ enjoyment of the launch, and, because every photo produced is unique and engages the creativity and playfulness of the subject, it is highly likely to be shared and re-shared by the person in the photo themselves. In effect, every image is contagious and will be taken from a main site and reposted to a subject’s own Facebook page or other social media channel. Instant virality.

Of course it is important to tie in the photobooth experience to the product and brand being launched, so some consideration can be given to the kinds of props and backdrop provided. For example, if you are launching a new phone handset, throw in a few giant oversized versions of your phone that guests can pose with. Or if your product is a new vehicle, provide a few stylized plush toy versions that guests can use in their photos. Getting creative with the props showcases not only your brand or product, but shows that you “get” that people no matter who they are, don’t want to be mere platforms for your company advertising. Treating people with respect and giving them something interesting and fun to do at your product launch translates into higher ROI on your event dollars. It means there is a far greater likelihood your guests will leave your event feeling happy and they are much more likely to want to share their photos online within their networks – which ultimately extends your reach far beyond the original invitation list.

It is imperative to leverage all event spending and get the best bang for your buck. Incorporate a photobooth experience into your next product launch, restaurant or store opening, fundraiser or other event aimed at gaining widespread public reach and you will reap benefits many times over your budgeted marketing spend.

Getting Social with a Photobooth!

This week I’m running a promotion on my new Party in a Photobooth service with Living Social. The ad will be running as of tomorrow and I’ll post a link here once it’s up. Having photographed hundreds of events and parties in Montreal and neighbouring places over the past decade there’s been a growing interest in popping up a temporary photobooth at parties, weddings and corporate galas. Basically any party worth having is more fun with a photobooth onsite.  The normal set up is just a simple backdrop (or a natural one on site if the location has a good one) with one or two lights on stands, a camera and the photographer.

Photos are posted to an online gallery and shareable across all social media. Onsite printing is fun too and easily added in to give you guests a hard copy of their favourite image to take home with them. And depending on the set up and style of your event, the photos can be viewed almost instantly on screens set up in your party space.

When you are planning your next party, corporate event or a wedding, throw a photobooth into the mix and give yourself and your guests something to remember.