Ever wondered about adding a photo booth to your product offering? At Donal Doherty Photography we launched a new photo booth service, Roxbury Booth in 2016. It proved to be a fun addition to the business, it’s an easy add on and a way we can look after our existing clients better while increasing our revenue in the process.
I love running a photo booth business as unlike photography, you can separate yourself from the means of production, i.e. you don’t physically have to attend the events yourself. Your team of booth attendants can deliver an amazing experience while you concentrate on marketing and growing the business, all while sitting at home on a Saturday night while the booth makes money.
I caught up with Catalina Bloch from MDRN Photobooth Co. in Ottawa, Canada to find out how to launch a photo booth business.
In regards to finding the idea, and deciding to start my company, it was somewhat of a happy accident stemming from my career as a photographer.
I had gone to WPPI to figure out how I could actually get my photography business to make more money.. I literally stumbled across the photo booth from Photo Booth Supply Company (PBSCO) on the floor. Within half an hour I had called my husband and said we are starting a photo booth business!
Deciding to start a Photobooth company is one thing, but the steps leading up to it’s launch are vital.
As soon as I ordered my first booth, I started putting together the brand. Setting up a Facebook, Instagram and other social media. I wanted to ensure that I had a few bookings lined up so that when the booth arrived I could hit the ground running.
“WE GOT TWO OF OUR BIGGEST CLIENTS THROUGH INSTAGRAM.”
Social media was a big factor in getting referrals and inquiries, through hashtagging properly and following people, MDRN Photobooth Co. were able to get their name out there.
This year Catalina has focussed on Facebook, and they’ve been able to do well on the platform without the use of Facebook advertising, instead, they’ve seen success from people sharing their images.
Market research shouldn’t be underestimated. Catalina found that a lot of photobooth companies in her area were doing the same thing, with the same props and layouts. She identified what was lacking in the market, and worked to fill that gap. By adding on additional services, that no one else was offering, they were able to charge a premium for their luxury photobooth service.
“WE STARTED OFF TRYING TO DO NO COST ADVERTISING.”
In the early stages of the company, Catalina found the easiest way of marketing was to have a website and a presence on social media.
The next step for MDRN Photobooth Co. was doing free events, which enabled us to showcase our booth. At these events we built connections, and you should definitely try and find events that offer you something in return, whether that’s advertising or social media mentions.
“THE WAY WE TREAT A WEDDING IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN THE WAY WE TREAT A CORPORATE EVENT.”
For weddings, people generally want something that looks nice which fits their theme. Each of their guests receive prints for their friends and family to keep as a memento.
Corporate events want to see what their financial and marketing return will be. We highlight the social media capabilities that are built into the photo booth. In addition we provide them with a report after the event. The report highlights the reach of the photo booth at the event including the number of likes and shares.
“UNDERSTAND YOUR COSTS.”
Find out what your bottom line costs are, this goes for any business, but for a photobooth you really need to understand your margin. There are a range of costs to consider such as prints, printers, backdrops, staff, and the equipment costs. Know the worth of what you offer, if other local company’s are charging $400 for two hours, you don’t have to do the same, if you offer something of a higher value you can charge a premium.
Props for your booth are also a key cost factor. You can spend as much or as little as you like on these, but to really make your business a success, and get the top clients it’s worth considering getting props that can fit into different packages. These can be in themes, or just split into different tiers, with different price brackets.
“AUTOMATING HAS BEEN HUGE.”
Catalina moved from using five or six different systems in her business, one for sending out contracts, another doing emails, but then she was introduced to Pixifi, this has been the studio management manager they’ve been using for months, and it’s been a lifesaver for them.
You can have various brands working from the same system. So you can look in at both brands and see what’s happening and if everything’s been done as it should be. Your booth attendants (who we call our Booth Butlers), can login and access any of the event information they need.
“FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS LOOKING TO INTEGRATE A PHOTOBOOTH INTO YOUR BUSINESS, IT’S GREAT BECAUSE YOU ALREADY HAVE AN ESTABLISHED CLIENTELE.”
Tell your clients that you have this new service, and you might consider offering it to your best clients for free will most likely get referrals from their wedding as there’s always engaged guests who want whatever their friends have as well.
“KNOW YOUR PRODUCTS.”
Know your photobooth, what services you offer, and most importantly how the booth operates. Test it out, know the ins and outs of it completely. Be the expert.
Catalina now offers photo booth training for entrepreneurs. Visit her site to learn more and to read her blog.