A photo booth seems to give people an instant license to show off their silly sides with friends, loved ones, acquaintances and even strangers. Photo booths at parties and events can be a recipe for fun times for your photography clients and, ideally, some shareable, keepsake photos. Unfortunately, the great majority of photo booth photos tend to have a “sameness” about them; people make the same basic funny faces and may use a few requisite photo booth props. However, whether you run a traditional or open-air photo booth, more creativity in your photos is possible. Use these five tips to help take your photo booth photography from ordinary to awesome:
1. Location, Location, LocationJust as in real estate, “location” counts with photo booth setup. They don’t call alcohol a “social lubricant” for nothing, so if you have an opportunity to set up your booth near a bar, do it. Other ideal setup spots would be by the dance floor or a karaoke stage — anywhere people are already having a good time and the energy is high.
2. Playing it Up with PropsWith photo booth photography, success is often in the details. Arm yourself and your photo booth setup with plenty of props and other items to spark creativity and help people loosen up. You can also use existing accessories in unexpected ways; have all of the guys hold their ties or point to their boutonnieres while making faces. Have the ladies hold their cell phones to their ears and pretend to look preoccupied in an engaging conversation. Use existing decorations at the venue in fun and inventive ways in addition to having your own array of props nearby. An innovative trend in photo booth props is paper prop sets with specialized themes for weddings, holidays, and more. They photograph amazingly well and are far easier to transport than 3D props. From funny mustaches to fake lips and ridiculous glasses, these paper props are sure to encourage bolder poses and yield more creative photos.
3. Capture the “Vibe” of Each GroupWhether it’s two or twenty people, each group you photograph will have its own vibe, dynamic and energy. Become adept at zeroing in on the overall “personality” of each group and take steps to amplify it. A fun-loving group at a bachelorette party can take things to the next level with some masks, crazy costume jewelry and feather boas. Tell a group of groomsmen how handsome they look and watch them instantly become three times as photogenic. Of course, you probably won’t be as aggressive in encouraging seniors and young children to “go wild” as you would with groups in their twenties. That said, grandma and grandpa just might surprise you once you bust out a few pairs of funny glasses or other creative photo booth props. Use discretion and become adept at “reading” groups quickly and amplifying their energy.
4. Be a StorytellerIf a group seems “flat,” try giving them an idea, a scenario or a storyline to act out in their posing. Have them pretend to be on their favorite ride at the amusement park; ask them to demonstrate what they’d do if they just found out they won the lottery. If photographing kids, have them make their best fake “angry” face or pretend they are superheroes. The sky’s the limit, and with your direction, the look of a group (and their photos) can shift quickly and dramatically. Brainstorm a list of possible scenarios to shout out ahead of time and be ready to snap away at the perfect moment.
5. Posing Tricks and TipsThe happiest photography customers are the ones that look great in their photos. As the photographer, you can help bring out the very best in your subjects even in a setting as whimsical as a photo booth. A few quick adjustments can make an ordinary pose extraordinary in no time. Take the time to fix out-of-place tufts of hair or rumpled collars; have everyone move their hips back a bit and move out their chins just slightly. These simple adjustments and courtesies can help give everyone the most flattering look possible. Lastly, as the photo booth operator, make sure your own mood and energy level is high, fun and festive at these events. If you can’t at least “fake it,” consider hiring someone who’s a better fit for the job. Energy is contagious, and if the photo booth operator brings their “A” game, photography magic can happen.
Can you share a tip for working a photo booth? Do you direct fun poses or just let the guests do their own thing?
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
Interested in learning more about setting up and operating a photo booth for special events? Check out: 5 Best Tips for an Awesome Photo Booth Backdrop!
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