How to have awesome wedding photos by Jeff Libby
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I'm Jeff Libby, a graphic designer, and all around creative. I've been working in the events industry for as long as I remember, coordinating and managing. I started MiHi while I was working on a tugboat because I thought it was a great way to incorporate wedding photos and creative design into an industry that I have so much experience in- events.
Are all photo booths created equal?
All photo booths are not created equal. From the hardware inside (camera, printer, etc.) to the way the actual booth looks, there's such a wide variety of what some call a photo booth. I've always felt that the photo booth should be fun but also appealing to the eye, which is why we have so many different themed booths.
The quality and look of a photo booth are not the only things that make up a booth, though. We combine technology with photography to create unique experiences for all of our clients and their guests. Among just wedding photos, we can create GIFs and boomerangs with animated overlays, slow-motion videos, Array Boomerangs (think The Matrix), and even video testimonial booths.
”We use DSLR cameras in our booths, but the most important factor to consider when getting great quality wedding photos is the lighting. The flashes we use on our booths, as well as the positioning of our booth, ensure that the photos come out great!”
Which parameters are the most important to couples?
Our couples always want to know how much we can customize their photo booth experience. They’ve put so much time and effort turning their dream wedding into a reality, and so they’re overjoyed when they find out that we can customize every aspect of their photo booth rental.
Building custom backdrops is a popular question. Sometimes a couple wants a flower wall, and other times they want their monogram printed on the backdrop. We’ve even designed and created custom props for some of our couples.
The next question is usually about the quality of wedding photos. We use DSLR cameras in our booths, but the most important factor to consider when getting great quality wedding photos is the lighting. The flashes we use on our booths, as well as the positioning of our booth, ensure that the photos come out great!
“When booking, make sure you have a contract to protect both parties.”
What questions should they be asking when selecting the right vendor?
The hardest part of my job is educating couples about the differences in wedding photos quality from company to company. Sometimes it is really hard to turn down a company offering a photo booth service for $200 when they’re seeing prices much higher, but I always have to explain that in this industry, you get what you pay for. Someone offering their services for that little is most likely very new to the industry and doesn’t have the experience needed to ensure a successful event.
I’ve heard countless stories about equipment failure with no backup, photo booth attendants who are not acting professional, or the most common issue; the printer not working. I always tell anyone who is looking for a photo booth to read online reviews of companies, ask if they bring backup equipment, do they carry insurance in case something were to happen?
When booking, make sure you have a contract to protect both parties. I have heard of companies canceling last minute because they find another gig that pays more. The list goes on, but the number one piece of advice I can give is to not focus solely on price.
”Our attendants are held to high standards, and they love what they do.”
Which portion of the process keeps you busy the most?
The part of my job that takes the most time is definitely coming up with and implementing creative and unique wedding photos ideas that help elevate the photo booth industry. We’ve brought different looking booths to the market, as well as animated boomerangs, our Pose Flashcards, handmade wood props, and I'm sure I’m missing other things.
I don’t personally go to many weddings anymore, but I spend a lot of time training my attendants to be engaging, welcoming, and fun at every event. Our attendants are held to high standards, and they love what they do.
”A typical day for our attendants at a wedding consists of coordinating logistics with their planner and setting up the booth prior to runtime.”
What does your day at the wedding itself look like typically?
A typical day for our attendants at a wedding consists of coordinating logistics with their planner and setting up the booth prior to runtime. They’ll ensure lighting and wedding photos quality is top notch, and if they finish the setup before runtime, they’ll either help be an extra set of hands for other vendors, or they’ll open the booth up early.
When the photo booth is up and running for guests, our attendants, equipped with their Pose Flashcards and a desire to have a good time, will encourage guests to take wedding photos, let loose, and have fun. They ensure the booth is running properly throughout the evening, they coordinate guests signing the memory book, and they try to get everyone to use the booth at least once.
At the end of the evening comes the strike, where they pack the booth up and make sure there’s no mess left behind for the venue to clean.
“Our packages range from $350 to $1500+ depending on what you’re looking for.”
What's the typical budget that the bride should set aside for these wedding photos?
As I mentioned before with pricing, you get what you pay for in this industry. If you’re going to pay only a couple hundred dollars, you probably won’t get a full-service booth with printing and an attendant, with quality equipment. The numbers just don’t add up. With that being said, our packages range from $350 to $1500+ depending on what you’re looking for.
For the $350 package, we give you a DIY booth that you have to pick up, set up, and drop back off. You get the very basic design, no printing, and no backdrop or props. Our standard photo booth package that comes with printing, an attendant, and everything necessary to have a great event (props, backdrop, photo strip design, etc) starts at $600 for two hours.
Our average price is $845, though, because of add-ons such as additional time or a memory album with unlimited printing. If you’re on a tight budget, I always recommend setting up a backdrop with props and letting your guests take wedding photos with their phones or a provided camera. The experience and output are very different, but it can still be fun, which is the most important part of a photo booth if you ask me.
”The most popular props that guests use are either our themed sign props or our handmade wooden stick props.”
Any horror stories you could share where things didn't go as planned?
The most memorable horror story is when an attendant brought the wrong photo booth to a wedding in Keystone from Denver. They brought our Vintage Booth instead of the Rustic Booth, and we only noticed when we realized that the Rustic Booth was still at the office.
Fortunately, we had enough time to drive up there and set it up before start time, but when the bride found out, she told us that she would have actually preferred the Vintage Booth after seeing it in person. We now label our booths (even though they look so different!)
What are some of the most popular props guests use at the wedding?
The most popular props that guests use are either our themed sign props or our handmade wooden stick props. Although we still bring props, we find that the Pose Flashcards tend to be much more fun, and guests need to use their hands so they won’t use too many props.
”Couples tend to get caught up in visiting with their friends and family that they never come to the booth, so our attendants have to hunt them down and remind them to get a few wedding photos for their memory book.”
What would be the one thing you would ask of the grooms and brides to make your job easier?
If I could ask one thing of the grooms and brides that would make my job at their wedding easier, it would be not to forget to get photos themselves! Couples tend to get caught up in visiting with their friends and family that they never come to the booth, so our attendants have to hunt them down and remind them to get a few wedding photos for their memory book.
The couples always WANT their wedding photos, and they’re so grateful that we go and find them, but when we aren’t manning the booth, who knows what kinds of pictures their guests will take!