Wedding guests love the photo booth, with all of its fun props such as hats, fake mustaches, Mardi Gras beads and silly sunglasses. This interactive element adds a sense of play to your wedding reception, and the photos that result from it show just how festive your wedding day was, as well as the personalities of all of your loved ones enjoying each other's company.
Photo booths will continue to be a big trend in weddings this year, and they're getting some unique new features to offer guests all the fun they've come to know from photo booths, but with a little something different.
Here are some new features of photo booths:
--Video booth. Rather than getting still photos taken of them, guests can record a video message, sing a song and just interact for a video that's taken of them. In the new high-tech video booth, video is high-definition for the best quality imaging. Having a video booth for your wedding adds a new dimension of fun, aside from guests striking silly poses. Your guests can also record video messages, captured right in the moment of their celebration, which lets you see and hear just how much of a great time they're having. And since you will likely step into the booth, you can also capture your own real-time excitement. Neal Zipser of ShutterBooth says that some booths have both photo and video options, so that guests can choose what they'd like to do.
--Artistic backdrops. Old-style photo booths often had a solid-colored curtain as the backdrop, but now, you can get backdrops showing scenery or a pattern like a brocade wallpaper looking like a Victorian-era sitting room. You can also arrange for a 3-D effect, such as a trellis with greenery and flowers, designed by your floral expert.
--Open-air photo booths. In this evolution of the traditional box photo booth that some couples find to be too "boardwalk attraction" for their wedding style, now you can get an open-air photo area that may be set up like a celebrity-style red carpet against a personalized branded backdrop. Guests feel like VIP's when their photos are taken at this type of photo area, and more people can fit into the shot than in a crowded, smaller traditional booth.
--Live viewing. Photo booth photos are displayed on a screen, visible to guests standing outside the photo booth, for instant enjoyment. (A live-viewing option often prevents any drunk or disorderly guests from taking off-color photos, as well.)
--Photo access online. Guests will certainly get that expected photo strip of printed photos, but now they can also sign up on a laptop outside the photo booth to get an email notification that their photos are available online to view and share.
--New types of props. If you will have a traditional photo booth, but still want some novelty to thrill your guests, look to evolving past the usual photo booth props that guests have seen at many other weddings. Go to Etsy and search "photo booth prop" to find unique wearables such as hats, floral pins, vests, apron-style tie-ons with images on them and more. Chalkboards are still a popular item for the photo booth, with chalkboard pens with a wide tip so that the guests' wording and drawings can be seen in photos and video. It's a common mistake to offer regular chalk, which may not show up as well as a broader stroke.
--A personalized DVD. While not new, as this has been a feature of some photo booths in the past few years, more wedding couples are opting to purchase this option.
--4-by-6-inch photos. Not the glorified bookmark, as the experts at Beyond The Booth call the traditional strip of tiny images. When those strip images are so small, you can't see much detail. A larger photo lets all of the prop work and the guests' messages or sign wording stand out, clear to see.
With new and better access to your photo booth photos, you might choose one of your fun couple photos as an image for your "thank you" notes, as well as for posting on your personal wedding website after your big day. With so many ways to share and enjoy your photos now, you'll get even more value out of your photo booth investment.
Sharon Naylor is the author of "The Bride's Guide to Freebies" and three dozen additional wedding books.