By Ben Blomgren
Are They Incorporated?
This should be a no-brainer but, unfortunately, these businesses are somewhat like the home contractors of the wedding world. Contacting one booth may lead to a legitimate listing while another may only accept cash. Sketchy? You bet! Make sure the business is incorporated by looking them up in your state's registrar prior to booking. It only takes a couple minutes and can save you hours of stress when you deal with a legitimate company.
Do They Have a Website?
Again, you'd think that this would be a non-issue this day of age. Many photo booths are run by folks that are trying to make an extra buck on the side. These moonlighters tend to treat their businesses less professionally than established providers might normally strive. A quick Google search provides invaluable insight in to the company's reviews, links, articles, blogs and other useful information when choosing a company.
Do They Use Professional Equipment?
Webcam? Politely decline. Inkjet printer? Refuse service. PVC pipe with a shower curtain? Run for the hills! Look for a well-constructed booth that can stand under its own weight and appears to be professionally manufactured. Good-quality booths use DSLR cameras with photographic backlighting and/or flash diffusers. The best printers on the market use dye-sublimation printers. Some booth companies, literally, will construct a wire frame on a box with a curtain and call it a photo booth. Does that sound sturdy? Does that sound safe?
Are Their Prices Available Online?
A trend in the wedding industry is to provide a quote for service and NOT to post prices online. It is advisable to seek a provider who transparently posts prices online to ensure you're getting the best deal possible. Many providers adjust pricing due to season, demand, or how much they are able to charge. Don't be fooled in to paying too much for a photo booth because of "special seasonal pricing."
Do They Showcase Their Work?
Look at full-resolution photos and see if you like them. If they're good quality then you're going to get a good product provided they use a professional printer. Many photobooths offer photo strip guest books for assembly during the reception. These are invaluable memories being combined in to a memorable effect of the day. You want this presented well and combined in to a book that you can show family and friends. Ask to see examples of customized footers. Ask to see examples of props. Ask to see everything.
In summary, it is advised that you book a business that is legitimately incorporated, publicly advertises a running functional website, uses professional-grade equipment, makes their prices transparent and available, and showcases their work. These traits will give you a good photo booth for your wedding. It's up to you to determine your budget and the scope of work. Communicate these to your photo booth company and don't be afraid to ask some questions if you have them.