How much does renting a photo booth cost?
Photo booth rentals cost $125-$200 per hour, and generally have a 2 or 3 hour minimum. Props, photo strips, custom backdrops, and video capabilities are popular add-ons that will increase the cost. Photo booth rental companies often give a discount for weekday rentals.
Photo booths are a phenomenon. Once the sole domain of malls and county fairs, photo booths became popular as event rental items in the first few years of the 21st century and haven't slowed down since. Now it's barely considered a wedding unless your guests leave with a customized photo strip bearing your names as proof of their attendance. But there's no reason to stop at weddings; photo booths add loads of fun to pretty much any type of event you're hosting. You can hire a photo booth company to come to your event, set up and operate a photo booth, and provide guests with customized party favors in the form of photo booth strips. Many photo booth companies provide unlimited photo strips for the duration of the rental as well as providing props for guests to liven up the photos. It's important to make sure you have the appropriate amount of space at your site, as some photo booths can be 10 feet by 10 feet or larger. If your event isn't taking place in a private residence, you should also always ensure you have approval from your venue to have a photo booth onsite before you reserve one with a deposit.
Nationally, the average cost to rent a photo booth for an event ranges between $400 and $500 or more. Rental time is a major factor in rental cost; longer rentals will command a higher price. Day of week and time of year can also affect costs. Photo booth rental prices are usually higher on Saturdays and Sundays and major holidays like New Year's Eve or busy weekends like prom. The type of photo booth you rent will also have an impact on cost. Often, enclosed photo booths cost more to rent due to their size and the initial capital output required of the company to purchase the booth. Photo booths with more technological advancements such as customizable green screens and top-of-the-line cameras will also cost more. For larger events, photo booth companies can create personalized backdrops with your company's logo, the name of the event, or other choices.
Commonly requested for kids' parties, adults' birthdays, festivals, corporate events, high-school reunions, fundraisers, prom night, school events, bar and bat mitzvahs, quinceañeras, sweet 16s, and other special occasions, photo booths are a welcome party addition for any size crowd. Three main kinds of photo booths are available: an enclosed photo booth, an open-air photo booth with a backdrop, or a camera with no backdrop. Rental costs can vary greatly, depending on the type of booth as well as a variety of add-ons.
Photo booth type
Enclosed booths generally have higher rates, while open-air booths are the most economical because they require less setup and have fewer components. However, rates could be higher for an open air photo booth that is using high-end cameras and screens or has cutting-edge interactive camera software. Open-air booths can be as simple as a camera on a tripod in front of a white backdrop, or may be more elaborate with curtains or a green screen as a backdrop. Often, open booths with no curtains are staged similar to a red carpet photo shoot, allowing each guest their moment to shine. Closed photo booths often lend themselves to more playful photos and guest shenanigans with props. For open booths, the photo company may have an actual photographer on hand snapping each picture, or it may be an automated camera similar to those found in traditional enclosed photo booths. Traditional photo booths have vintage appeal, but they are harder to fit a lot of people into. Open-air or curtained photo booths can accommodate 10-15 people or more per photo. There are also always new products emerging, such as the magic mirror photo booth. Other novelties include vintage VW buses that have been converted to photo booths, converted vintage Airstream photo booth campers, and more. The features, desirability, and technology of your booth will all affect the average cost.
Photo booth packages
Most companies book photo booths for packages with a minimum number of hours to cover their costs for an employee to pack up a photo booth, transport it to a location, setup, stay onsite for the event, then break the photo booth down and transport it back to the headquarters. They may charge between $125 and $200 per hour, with packages starting at two or three hours minimum. Costs increase the more hours and special features you add. Other companies provide all-inclusive packages for a flat rate that includes all their services. Here are some examples of average pricing from Best Booth Plus. This company offers all-inclusive pricing at each price range with lower rates offered for slower days. In addition, with Best Booth Plus and many companies, the more hours your hire them for, the lower the cost per hour the rental is:
- 3-hour package Sunday-Friday: $499
- 3-hour package Saturday: $549
- 4-hour package Sunday-Friday: $549
- 4-hour package Saturday: $599
- 5-hour package Sunday-Friday: $599
- 5-hour package Saturday: $649
Each of the above listed packages from Best Booth Plus includes additional time for setup and take down (beyond your agreed-upon event hours); a booth operator onsite the entire time; photo strips customized with details like the name or date of the event or the name of the wedding couple; a box full of props; unlimited photos; two prints per group so the guests can take home a memento and the other photo strip can be placed in a memory book for the party hosts; a live-action slideshow of photos during the event; an online gallery so guests can download the photos later; a memory book or album for guests to write in; and a DVD with all the event photos.
Most companies include unlimited photo strips for the duration of the event as well as props for the photo booth, but may charge for extra services and supplies beyond that. Other companies may offer lower hourly rates, but charge for items such as prints or props — for example, $60 per hour for unlimited prints and $50 for the prop rental. Research the companies available to you and decide what's best for your event budget. Make sure you have a clearly written contract to prevent surprises halfway through your event.
Technology plays a big role in the special features that are now available. Social media connectivity allows guests to instantly post their pictures to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you're hosting a corporate event or trying to create buzz around your brand, a photo booth offers a great opportunity for organic marketing. Social media packages are typically an additional cost on top of photo booth rental. You can also offer your guests a cute feature that turns the four photos in their photo strip into an animated GIF that they can post to social media and share via email and text. Examples of cost for popular add-ons include:
- Prop box: $50
- Photo guest album services: $75
- Personalized photo strips: $30-$50
- Custom photo backdrops or vinyl skin branding of the booth: $150-$300
- Custom sequin backdrop: $350
- Social media connectivity: $100-$250
- GIF capabilities: $150-$200
Day of week
Saturdays are prime time for photo booths. Many companies ask a premium price for weekend events and offer a reduced rate on weekdays. For example, Best Booth Plus charges $50 more for weekends. If you're looking to have a lower-cost event, you can often save on many vendor services — from catering to entertainment to venue — by having your function on a weekday instead of a weekend.
Most photo booth companies offer packages or negotiate prices for a set number of hours. Additional hours, whether added beforehand to the package or requested during the event, generally range between $100 and $150 more per hour on average. Always be sure to clarify whether your base price includes time for setup and takedown, as this can impact how long you want to rent for. For example, if you're renting a photo booth for three hours, at least 15-20 minutes will be needed on each end to set up and take down the booth. Make sure your written contract specifies whether setup and takedown will happen during your three event hours or will be charged as extra time. Determine how much time you really need when you initially book the photo booth, because you may not always be able to extend your rental. Some companies book daytime and evening events on the same day, so even if you are willing to pay extra, they may not be able to accommodate you.
For corporate or personal events, you may want a photo booth rental and a traditional photographer. If you do want a photographer, you may be able to save money on both services by hiring from a company that also offers photo booth services. For example, a provider might offer an hourly rate for event photography with a reduced rate for photo booth rentals for the same event. The photo booth they rent has a customizable green screen, Wi-Fi and social media connectivity, the option to create videos (including slow-motion videos), the capability to transform photos into GIFs, and props. For personal events such as bat mitzvahs or weddings, the company charges $125 per hour for traditional photography — with the potential for a minimum number of hours required when booking. To add a photo booth, the cost is $185 per hour for all digital social media add-on services, or $285 per hour for all digital services, plus unlimited 4x6 or 2x6 prints. Some providers charge a higher rate for corporate events: an average hourly fee of $250 per hour for the digital services photo booth package, or $295 per hour for the digital services package plus 300 4x6 photo prints or 600 2x6 photo strips is typical. Adding a traditional photographer to a corporate or nonprofit event averages an additional $185 per hour.
What to ask before renting
Renting a photo booth for a party is a big expense, so make sure you're working with a reputable company that will deliver a high-quality product. Before paying your deposit, take these steps to ensure a good time is had by all.
- Read reviews. You'll learn about what your experience will be like based on past user experience. Avoid anyone who has a sub-par product, has unfriendly staff, or doesn't follow through on their contracts.
- Look for licenses and insurance. Confirm that the companies you're considering have pertinent business licenses and liability insurance. This will protect you and your guests in case of an accident. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring.
- Find the right financial fit. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Quality equipment is an investment, so anyone with lowball prices may be operating a photo booth that isn't as fancy as you might desire.
- Look for the features you love. If you just want a classic photo booth that prints out black-and-white strips, keep it simple. If you want a high-tech photo booth with all the bells and whistles, you can have that, too. Just keep in mind that, usually, the more features offered, the more the rental will cost.
- Sign a contract. You don't want your dream wedding photo booth not to show and leave you with no recourse. Get it all in writing, including hours and cost.
- Have an attendant. Even self-operating photo booths run best with an informed technician on hand to troubleshoot any problems and keep things running smoothly. Most operations offer this service.
- Are prints included? Find out whether your rate includes prints, and whether that's a finite or unlimited number of prints.
- Book your photo booth on weekdays or off-seasons for the best rates.
- Bundle photo booth and photography services with the same company.
- A party with fewer than 100 guests will usually be satisfied with two or three hours of photo booth time. Ask to extend hours during the event if needed rather than overbooking ahead of time, unless it's high season and the company may have two events in one day.
- Schools, nonprofits, military organizations and other groups are often eligible for discounts.
- Most packages include a three- to five-hour session. Rick Johnson of Best Booth Plus explains that with many companies, setup and breakdown time is not counted as part of your rental time. Also, photo booth companies should provide a staff member to be with the booth the entire time to make sure that things run smoothly.
- Read client reviews and follow up with references to make sure you're choosing the right pro for your project. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring.