Photo Booth Photo Booth

It was once quite easy to identify, they were all of a regular size and shape, square boxes that had a half length curtain down the side.



  1. a cubicle or small room in which a person sits to have their photograph taken by a machine.

source: Collins Dictionary

The First Photo Booth

The first photo booth.

From the original design by Anatol Josepho, which in its day was somewhat of a novelty, for which people would queue for hours to use, not unlike a trip to an amusement park these days, they evolved into the common place ID photo booths, found in railway stations, shopping centres, post offices and many more places around the world. Some used for fun, (we all did it), but mostly as a means of acquiring those neat little photos that enabled the freedom of travel – passports.

Fashion or artistic difference saw one or two slightly more unusual shapes, where the end of the booths were curved or embellished with artistic flair. Most of the time they were though, just square little boxes.

traditional style photo boothSo what happened to change this?The digital camera. No longer was a ‘wet lab’

needed, those smelly chemical prints, that folk wafted around to dry, were consigned to history. Amusingly though users still feel the urge to wave the modern prints and gingerly hold them at the edges? Today’s printers, at least those used by professional operators, (no household inkjets), provide lab quality prints, in around 10 seconds, not only touch dry but waterproof (or beer proof at parties).  Avoid any operator that uses an inkjet printer.

This new technology saw the rise of mobile portable photo booths, designed to be moved around from even to event, enabling the boom of the ‘party photo booth’ hire business. An activity that has literally swept across continents with virtually few places not being affected by them. It was perhaps no surprise the first thing to change was the size, originally designed for one (and a couple of your mates squeezed in at the side), these were no good for parties, you want all your friends in there too.  So they got slightly large, next to go, in some instances, was the seat, standing room only but again room for more! After that the artistic flair returned and one or two more unusual shapes started to develop, the most popular on in the UK being the curved ended pods style.  Loads of choice for everyone from vintage retro to modern aesthetic.

But it wasn’t the camera as such that made the change but the feeling of being left out!


Only joking.

Larger Pop-Up Studio with Green Screen

Pop-Up Studio using Green Screen

There is another type now,  it  isn’t a ‘photo booth’ in the terms of the definition above, but is seems to be strongly marketed as such. I’ve never understood the need to badge these as booths? They are in fact a ‘pop-up’ studio, slightly smaller in size than those perhaps used by ‘event photographers’. They have their own market and niche and can be just as much fun as booths or even go as far as to provide studio quality portraits.  Usually they consist of a small portable studio, with either a photographer or some kind of automated camera control (usually nothing more than a remote) and the professional printer, used in booths. The right operator will usually offer a range of backdrops, generally themed. I guess the real benefit is for the group shots, having no sides allow more people in the photo.  In some instances the set up had been somewhat limited, in that the studio consisted of standing people against a wall or corner of the venue and the ‘on camera’ flash. Fortunately these are few and far between and most of the pop-up studio faux booth operators  are highly professional.

The real downside to this is, the photographer, who’s under charged for the days work (wedding) and offer to add a ‘photo booth’ on at the end of the day and send the photos round on a disc. The whole point of a photo booth (or pop-up studio) is THE PRINT. You can do the rest on your own ‘smartphone’ or digital camera!

Whilst cost always plays a factor in any decision, the real issues is to make sure the style offered suits your need. If you have lots of young guests with fewer inhibitions, it may well be the open style, pop-up studio works very well, on the other hand if your guests aren’t so  gregarious then the enclosed booth, where all the antics are hidden from view behind the curtain, would be preference.

alternative photo booth?

alternative photo booth?

Finally, consider as we offer both services, our experience tells us that a ‘photo booth’ achieves far more use by guests and throughput than the ‘pop-up’ studios. The exception perhaps being themed green screen, but this requires another level of skill and specialist software to achieve.





See also Photo Booth Page