Remember arcades? Those rows of pinball machines and Pac-man and Galaga. Oh, and photo booths, pulling the curtain close and the strips of crazy black-and -whites? Remember that?! Er . . . um . . . yeah, me neither.
But wait a minute. You don’t have to be antique to enjoy a good photo booth. In fact, the photo booth that rose to popularity as early as the 1890s has been making a comeback since 2009 and has had a digital makeover making it a mainstay in Millenial and Gen Z culture. The 1925 “Photomaton” created by Marco Anatol Josepho created black and white prints in 8 minutes, which, in today’s “Now” culture, seems like a dryer cycle. But don’t worry, the 21st-century photo booth can create brilliant color prints, should you choose to go that route, in about 13 seconds.
While the impetus to see and be seen has driven patrons since the first photo booth, social media’s documentation of every facet of our lives has made the modern photo booth a staple of the “must be there” event. In fact, Eventective, an event planning website for the U.S. and Canada, has seen photo booth services jump in the last six years from 50 to over 1600. You might find today’s photo booths at wedding receptions, birthday parties, on retail floors, on convention centers, and more.
And why not, considering what is now available. Photo booths are eco-friendly, offer custom backdrops, digital props, filters, and can quickly print beautiful smudge-proof, water resistant photos using dye sublimation technology. But what has really made them a must at gatherings is their connection to social media. Today’s photo booth allows patrons to post pictures immediately on social media channels and even to dedicated party websites. Talk about being seen instantly. Furthermore, photos can be stored for later shares, downloads, posts, and prints.
Unlike booths of the past that would have been cumbersome to install and use at parties, current systems are more mobile and offer interesting variations. Yes, you can still get the traditional curtain set up that offers the anonymity to really be yourself (or that crazy alter-ego), but there are some truly exciting innovations. Mobile booths have increased in popularity, for example, offering lightweight technology that allows a professional to move about an event offering attendees the opportunity to take candid snaps wherever they are. And all these technologies offer extras like digital props, stickers, custom graphics, themes, and green screen technology allowing guests to project themselves in a variety of settings. You can even, with some booths, create short videos, slow motion, and animated GIFs. Some vendors are offering 360-degree technology where the camera quickly circles the patron to present views from all angles.
Photo booths then are not relics to be assigned to the bins with Atari and eight tracks. They’re a new and growing trend in digital media that makes parties pop and gives your guests the opportunity to be seen, to express themselves, and makes any event feel like a red carpet gathering.
Written by Ivan Young in partnership with silverware wholesaler Silver Superstore.