When you include a photo booth at your event, you face a tough decision: should I keep the photo booth for the entire event or just for a couple of hours? And if I choose hourly, how many hours should I plan on?
Timing can be tricky, especially when you’re working with a budget. There’s no single best option for every event, since things like budget, guest participation, event dynamics, and other factors can vary.
As the photo booth experts in Flagstaff and Sedona, the Reflection Photo Booth team is sharing our top insights from experience and client feedback to help you decide how long to plan on having your photo booth at your next event.
Photo Booth Time: Per Hour or Per Event?
Photo booth time rentals typically come in two forms:
by the hour or a flat-rate for the event.
If you have an all-day event (or close to it), you’ll likely benefit from having an all-day rental for several reasons. For starters, the cost per hour is lower, which means your budget can go farther. It also gives everyone a chance to enjoy the photo booth, since lines can form quickly depending on your guests’ level of engagement.
But something that many event planners don’t consider is how a short activity window can cause a ripple effect of logistic challenges in an event.
If you have a long event, bringing in a photo booth for a couple of hours might not make sense logistically. The photo booth will either be set up or broken down (or both!) during the event, which could be disruptive or otherwise undesirable. Ideally, you could have the photo booth in place and ready when the event starts and not have to worry about it until the event ends.
Shorter events, such as birthday parties and high school proms, will find favor with a by-the-hour option. To minimize disruptions to the event, start the photo booth fun when your first guest arrives and keep it going until shortly before the event ends. This way, the photo booth is packed up and out of the way when your venue rental ends and gives you one less thing to worry about.
When to Start the Photo Booth Fun
To help you plan your timeline, it helps to consider your unique event and what your guests might expect. Consider the following types of events that commonly include a photo booth as part of the festivities and how to best plan your photo booth time:
Weddings are one of the most common types of events that have photo booths, and also one of the easiest to plan for.
If you have the venue for a certain amount of time, most of the guesswork is already done for you. You won’t need the photo booth for at least the first hour of your wedding, since this is usually the ceremony. You may also want to avoid opening the photo booth until after the maid of honor and best man’s speeches have been made to avoid distractions. The photo booth typically leaves before the DJ, so plan on cutting off the photo booth line around 15-30 minutes prior to the end of your reception. Any time left in between is prime photo booth time.
For example, let’s say your wedding venue package gives you use of the facility for five hours. The first 60 minutes and last 30 minutes can be counted out, so you would rent the photo booth for 3.5 hours.
If you don’t have a certain cutoff time with your venue, consider the time you’re most likely to make your exit. The party might carry on for a little while after you’re gone, but your photo booth might not need to linger.
From high school graduations and proms to birthday parties to engagement parties and more, photo booths make every special celebration better. Most people plan on having the photo booth available for the duration of the event, since most parties only last a few hours, tops.
Other Special Events
Festivals, corporate events, and other business functions should consider the purpose of bringing the photo booth to the event when deciding how long to keep it. If you’re wanting to use it as a marketing tool (i.e. branded photos), then you’ll want to include it in the event as much and for as long as possible.
The main thing to keep in mind is the “other stuff” at your event. Our magic mirror-style photo booth is a fan favorite and can keep guests enthralled, which could also distract them from other key elements of your event. If you have a high-profile speaker or major announcement at your event, you might want to consider scheduling your photo booth time around these elements so that each facet of your event gets the attention it deserves.
Add Time on the Fly?
Going with the minimum time might seem like the best option for your budget, but there’s another aspect to consider — your guests’ satisfaction!
When you see them having fun at the photo booth, the last thing you want to do is tell them the picture party is over.
In some cases, you might be able to extend your photo booth rental on the fly so the fun doesn’t end until the rest of your party does. But availability and your own budget may not accommodate last-minute arrangements. Ideally, you’ll have the right amount of time for your photo booth so there are no surprises and no guesswork to throw a monkey wrench into your event.
Get Help with Planning Your Photo Booth Time!
Deciding to add Reflection Photo Booth to your Flagstaff or Sedona event is the easy part. The hard part is deciding how long this “VIP guest” should stay!
Let us help you weigh your options when deciding the ideal time to start and end your photo booth fun. Contact us today to share your event details and we’ll help you explore your options and find the best way to cater to your guests and budget!