If you're shopping around for a photo booth for a wedding or other social event, you may have noticed there are now two radically different types available. There's the traditional arcade style photo booth, with a bench, a roof and privacy curtains. But there's also a new open design photo booth. The open layout booth ditches the classic boxed-in look, in favor of just having a camera facing a backdrop. Both of these configurations have their pros and cons.
The open booths have two primary benefits. First, larger group shots. Since there is not a limiting little box for your guests to climb into, you can typically squeeze up to 10 people in a group shot. Large group shots are much more fun to take, and create better photographic memories. Secondly, the fun is kept out in the open so everyone can see and participate. The laughter created by 10 people trying to squeeze into a group shot is absolutely contagious. Open booths are typically much easier to transport and can often go where arcade style booths can't. The second floor of a building with no elevator, for example. The trade off is that the open design doesn't look like a traditional photo booth. In fact, it's not a booth at all, even though they call it one. They are also not recommended for outdoor events in the sunlight, unless arrangements are made to block the sunlight. Photos will be inconsistent throughout the day, and some photos may look very bad if direct sunlight is shining on the subjects.
There is still something to be said for the classic arcade style booths. Some people just prefer the nostalgia of an arcade booth. There's no mistaking the signature look of an enclosed booth with privacy curtains. Oh, and about those curtains, if you think some of your guests would like to pose au natural after a few libations, then the enclosed arcade booth is definitely for you! Arcade booths can also be a better choice if there are space concerns, as they have a much smaller footprint than the area taken up by an open photo booth. The arcade style booth is highly recommended for outdoor events when sunlight may be a factor. Since they are enclosed, there is a much more controlled environment to take consistent photos for the duration of the event. Of course the downside is that the typical arcade photo booth will only fit 2-4 guests at a time.
Be on the lookout for the latest in technology, live video recording. Some booths will offer your guests the option to record a short video for the guest of honor after they have posed for their photo strip. This is what wedding videographers used to go table to table to do. But doing the video in the booth affords the guest some privacy, and since it is optional, no one is put on the spot and made to feel uncomfortable. The downside of the video photo booth is that it may take longer to get guests in and out of the booth. It is recommended that if you rent a photo booth with video capability, you reserve it for a longer period of time than you would a regular photo booth. You want all your guests to have the opportunity to use the booth. Some vendors will also rent you a second booth for your event at a significant discount since two booths side by side will typically still only require the watchful eyes of one attendant.
Which ever style you decide on, try to base your decision on the entertainment value the booth will provide to your event. Be sure to check with your venue too. Most catering managers have seen photo booths in their venue and they may have some thoughts about what works best for their particular location.