Starting a business is on many people’s bucket lists, but deciding what to start is often a big stumbling block. You may not want to turn your current job into a business, you likely need to fit in your start-up around your full-time job, and you need something with relatively low start-up costs. If you’re considering starting a photo booth business, you’re in the right place.
A photo booth business has minimal start-up costs, can be run just in the evenings and on weekends when you start, and you don’t need to be a professional photographer to start it. Intrigued? Here are the steps you need to take to start your photo booth business:
Step 1: Research
Before you dive in and start buying your equipment and setting up your online presence, you should see what the competition is like in your area and consider all the ins and outs of running this kind of business. Keep in mind that competition is good, it means there are paying customers in your area looking for what you offer. If you have no competition then you can be the first! Make a note of these companies so you can come back later to differentiate yourself from them and price your services competitively.
Next, consider if a photo booth business will suit you. Here are the qualities you need to succeed:
- Enjoy attending events with lots of people – extroverts love this kind of business (or be willing to hire someone to do this for you from the start)
- Happy to work evenings and weekends in return for a huge amount of flexibility
- Are punctual – event organizers won’t appreciate it if you’re late!
- Motivated to succeed
- Have access to transport to get to and from venues with your equipment
If you have these qualities, you’re ready to move onto step 2!
Step 2: Buy Your Equipment
Next, you need your equipment. We offer a wide range of different types of photo booth equipment, so you can choose the best equipment based on your budget and the kind of clients you hope to work with. If you want to charge higher prices, get better equipment, and you’ll likely also serve larger events.
If you see yourself at weddings and corporate events, spending more upfront is a good move. If you believe your primary clients will be local parties, then more budget-friendly equipment will do the job. Don’t forget that you can always upgrade later once you’ve established your business.
Here are some of the best options for new businesses:
- Most budget-friendly: if you’re on a budget, you may want to go the DIY route. Our DIY kit pairs with an iPad (or Surface), ring light, and simple stand, so you can start serving customers ASAP.
- Professional entry-level: The Helio V2 is a great all-in-one kit that really looks the part – the stand is sturdy yet highly portable and can be set up quickly. If you’re looking to make an impression fast, without breaking the bank, this is a great piece of equipment to choose.
- Best to wow from the start: Our Lumina Medium DIY Shell will wow your clients and their guests from the moment you set it up. The large screen attracts guests and goes beyond a simple display – it offers augmented reality features which can change up the background and provide virtual props!
We have other options too, so make sure you compare our full range. The other things you need are:
- An iPad, Surface Pro, or DSLR camera to take pictures
- A backdrop – a simple curtain works well, but feel free to get more creative!
- Additional props – this will vary on your client, so you can wait to get a booking or two before buying them and add to your prop collection over time
- Optional: photo printer so you can offer on-the-spot images (if you don’t want to do this, provide image galleries online after the event or email the photos)
Step 3: Pick Your Business Name & Register Your Business
Once you’ve chosen your equipment, it’s time to register your business so you can start booking events! It’s totally up to you what you call your business, just keep in mind the kind of customers you want to work with. What business structure you choose depends on your circumstances, and you can find some advice from the SBA here. Make sure you check what licenses you need in your state.
Step 4: Set Up Your Website and Social Media Accounts
Now you need to let people know that you exist! As soon as you’ve ordered your equipment, start setting up your online presence. Start with a website (easy and affordable to set up through a platform like Wix or Squarespace) and a couple of social media accounts. Just stick to one or two platforms at first, such as Instagram and Facebook, or Facebook and LinkedIn, depending on the type of clients you most want to serve.
Step 5: Form a Marketing Plan
If you want to succeed, take a day or two to plan what kind of marketing you’re going to do for the next 3 months. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
- Put up fliers locally
- Share regularly on social media and use local hashtags
- Share posts about your services in local Facebook groups
- List your business on as many directories as possible
- Consider running local Facebook ads
- Run a competition on your social media account to gain more followers and increase awareness
Step 6: Set Up Your Systems
This sounds a little dull, but it’s a good idea to get all your systems in place early in your business so serving your clients is a seamless process. Set up systems and processes for:
- Setting up and dismantling your equipment – practice doing things in the same order until they’re seamless!
- Decide how you take bookings – do people email or call you and you put it on your calendar, or do you want to use booking software? (If you use a website platform like Wix, they have appointment software built-in)
- How do you take payments? If you want to take card payments, make sure you set up a PayPal for your business, or consider using another platform like Stripe
There are plenty of other systems you can develop over the long term, but if you give this a little thought now, you’ll be more confident and deliver a better customer experience.
Step 7: Book Clients & Buy Props
You’ve got your equipment, your systems, and you’re marketing. Now it’s time to book your clients! Start taking those client bookings and buy any props you may think will enhance their experience with your photo booth business. Remember, you’ll be able to use them again and again in the future!
Step 8: Serve Your Customers
When your first event arrives, get there early and set up. Make a note of anything you didn’t expect or that you can prepare better for next time to make your life easier.
Step 9: Get Testimonials, Wash & Repeat
After your booking, make sure you reach out to your client and ask for a testimonial and if it’s okay to share a couple of images on your social media page. Share the testimonial on your website and on social media to get more bookings, then wash and repeat the entire process until your business runs like clockwork!
A photo booth business is a perfect choice for someone who wants to become their own boss in the near future, but also needs to juggle a full-time job. It’s totally up to you to decide when to take bookings or when you want time off, and your equipment will help you look professional from your very first booking. To explore our photo booth equipment, click here.