Budget Guide: Hiring a Photo Booth for Your Corporate Event

by The Vendry

Corporate event experts on getting the most with any budget

We spoke with four photo booth experts, Bill Hamway of Mammoth!, Will Scheren of OrcaVue, Jacqueline Marcelo of POPsocial, and Dustin Ross of StudioBooth, to develop a four-tier budget guide to help you know what to spend at your next corporate event. In this document we’ll walk through:

  • Why spend for a photo booth
  • What to ask for
  • How to pick a vendor
  • The Budget Guide
  • How to make your photo booth successful
  • How to measure ROI

First things first. Why allocate budget towards a photo booth? 


WHY SPEND FOR A PHOTO BOOTH

  1. Photo booths encourage your attendees to take a photo and make memories together. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  2. What a great way to start conversations and begin a relationship. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  3. Event guests love to create content and they love a photo booth. Especially one that makes them look great and lets people know that they attended your event. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  4. A digital photo activation can expose your brand to thousands of people on social media. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  5. Photo booths capture email addresses that you can use for post-event marketing. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  6. Photo booths can be programmed to survey guests during the photo process, helping you understand your audience and how to engage them with valuable post-event marketing. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  7. Printed photos help guests remember the experience with your brand long after the event is over. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue

So you’ve made your case for a photo booth at your next event. Now you need to create your RFP. 


WHAT TO ASK FOR

  1. Create an RFP that includes: Your goals
    – Branding and creative design
    – Digital vs. print
    – Staffing needs
    – Software capabilities: Upload and download speeds, WiFi availability
    – Logistics: Travel accommodation, parking, shipping. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  2. Define your goal. Are you just looking for your event guests to have a good time as they interact with your brand? Are you looking to drum up traffic for a specific hashtag on social media? Are you looking to incentivize your guests or their followers to purchase a product? Be sure to let your photo booth vendor know what is important and ask them how their photo booth activation will help you accomplish your goal. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  3. State your goals and vision. Most photo booth companies can scale the creative up or down based on your desires, so it’s important to have a transparent conversation. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  4. Outline your constraints. These might include activation length, elements of creative production, and presence of brand ambassadors. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  5. Name your budget. The best way to save money is to be clear up front. Let the vendor know your budget and ask them what they can provide within budget. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  6. Select a type of photo booth. One way to do this: try to find a shot in a movie or on YouTube that you love and can imagine as a cool backdrop.  – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  7. Make sure you are working with a professional. Ask for examples of past events the vendor has worked. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue

Mammoth!’s camera set-up for Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day.
Mammoth!’s camera set-up for Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day. 
PHOTO BOOTH: Mammoth! // EVENT SPACE: The Fillmore Detroit

So you’ve prepared your RFP…


HOW TO PICK A VENDOR

  1. Send your RFP to multiple vendors to understand your options. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  2. Find a company with a photo booth to match your brand and event design. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  3. To stand out, your photo booth must be unique. Search for vendors that are providing creatively styled booths. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  4. Decide if you need help with ideas and concepts for your photo booth. – Jacqueline Marcelo, POPsocial 
  5. Consider your demographic. Sometimes a nice print out is what a guest wants. Younger guests want to be able to share their photos on Instagram. – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
  6. Ask if your photo booth comes with a production specialist who can help integrate the photo and video experience seamlessly. – Jacqueline Marcelo, POPsocial 
  7. Find out if your photo booth vendor is sending a technician or brand ambassador onsite for support. – Jacqueline Marcelo, POPsocial The two main types of photo booths are iPad-based or DSLR based. iPad photo booths are fun for branded events, since they’re mainly digital and you can take photos, boomerangs, and videos. DSLR photo booths take higher quality photos, so if the photo quality is important to you, choose a DSLR-based photo booth. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
Studio Booth’s photo booth experience at Muscle Beach for Netflix’s Glow event.
Studio Booth’s photo booth experience at Muscle Beach for Netflix’s Glow event. 
PHOTO BOOTH: StudioBooth  //  EVENT SPACE: Muscle Beach

THE BUDGET GUIDE

$

$300 – $3k

  • SCOPE: Go digital only to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Your event attendees, may be perfectly happy with digital photos to share to Instagram and Snapchat. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  • CREATIVE DIRECTION: Provide inspiration and creative direction for your vendor by searching the web for interesting photos and videos. See if your vendor can recreate aspects of those images in a live environment. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  • FABRICATION: Opt for green screen instead of intricate set build. – Jacqueline Marcelo, POPsocial
  • STAFFING: Tablet-based individual booths can be shipped directly to an event planner. This keeps costs down and you can still access technical support remotely if there is an issue. – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth

$$

$3k – $5k

  • TIME: For a weekend long event, budget $3,000 for a barebones photo booth. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  • CUSTOMIZATION: Check out the range of off-the-shelf looks and experiences from $2,000 to $5,000 daily​. – Jacqueline Marcelo, POPsocial

$$$

$5k – $25k

  • LOCATION: If you are in a major city be prepared to pay a premium simply because of the event location. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  • PROJECT MANAGEMENT: You can get support throughout the entire creative process, from the selection of the booth to set-up, and from the aesthetic of the booth to building and fabrication the set. – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
  • CUSTOMIZATION: Booths range from a couple thousand dollars for a basic setup to tens-of-thousands for a full 360-Array with customized sets, backgrounds, lighting and graphics. – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
  • ADD ONS: Custom booths and experiences (e.g. AR, 360, underwater cam) range from $5,000 – $15,000 daily​. There are also add-ons such as printing, set builds and backdrops. – Jacqueline Marcelo, POPsocial

$$$$

$25k and up

  • CUSTOMIZATION: It’s up $60,000 for a totally custom activation. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  • UNIQUENESS: We can create never-before-seen options for big corporate events and festivals. – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth

Two guests pose at the Mammoth!-created the photo booth at Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day.
Two guests pose at the Mammoth!-created the photo booth at Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day. 
PHOTO BOOTH: Mammoth! // EVENT SPACE: The Fillmore Detroit

So you’ve picked a vendor and locked in a budget…


HOW TO MAKE YOUR PHOTO BOOTH SUCCESSFUL

  1. Involve your photo booth partner early to ensure the experience is seamlessly integrated into the entire event.  – Jacqueline Marcelo, POPsocial 
  2. Be sure to talk through the event logistics with your vendor. Details like who is responsible for providing internet access and what the guests’ start-to-finish experience will be like should be discussed well before the start of the event. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  3. Create a unique set. No boring backgrounds.  – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
  4. Make sure to have signage so guests know to look for a booth. – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
  5. Place the photo booth in a visible location. – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
  6. Light your photo booth well. Cameras are essentially tools that read light, so make sure that you or your vendors are intentional in the way the booth is lit. This will ensure that the content is interesting and captivating. – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  7. Have a TV screen with a live feed to inspire people to participate.  – Jacqueline Marcelo, POPsocial 
  8. Use the latest technology such as a multi-cam to wow guests. – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
  9. Create an incentive to share: for example, a contest or a reward for posting to Instagram with a specific hashtag.  – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
  10. Play a slideshow of what’s happening in the booth on a big TV or review monitor.  – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
Guest poses for 360 photo booth built by OrcaVue at Super Bowl LIII.
Guest poses for 360 photo booth built by OrcaVue at Super Bowl LIII.
ENTERTAINMENT: OrcaVue

HOW TO MEASURE ROI

  1. You defined your goals in your RFP. Did the photo booth activation accomplish these goals? – Will Scheren, OrcaVue
  2. Track metrics: This can be the number of SMS or email shares, the number of social media shares, or the quality of user-generated content.  – Jacqueline Marcelo, POPsocial 
  3. If you’re promoting a hashtag, you can use social media monitoring tools like Mention.com to understand the social impact of your branded photos. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  4. If you’re capturing audience email addresses or phone numbers, you can track the direct ROI from your email marketing software or Sales CRM. –  Bill Hamway, Mammoth!
  5. Create a spreadsheet to share data. Track how and where guests share their photos, GIFs and videos. – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth
  6. Ask yourself quantitative and qualitative questions: Was participation good? How many images were captured during the event? How many images is that per hour? Did guests look like they were having fun in the booth? Did guests post their images using the suggested hashtag? – Dustin Ross, StudioBooth

This is a living document that we update regularly. Think we are missing something? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!


Learn more about the work of StudioBooth, Mammoth!, OrcaVue and POPsocial on The Vendry