Photobooth Finder

12 Tips To Avoid A Photo Booth Rental Disaster

12 Tips To Avoid A Photo Booth Rental Disaster

12 Tips to Avoid a Photo Booth Rental Disaster

(aka How to Avoid a Cowboy Operator)

Across the world but in particular in North America (USA and Canada) the humble photo booth has enjoyed an amazing resurgence over the last 10 years. It's not hard to understand why, they are unquestionably the most entertaining, fun and interactive addition to any event when everything goes right!

However don't be deluded into thinking that every photo booth is awesome or that any old photo booth operator is going to provide you with an amazing experience. Please BEWARE!! Cowboys do roam them there photo booth fields and if you don't know how to spot one you could be in for a photo booth rental disaster or at the very least an unexpected hiccup. 

Examples of Photo Booth Disasters and Hiccups

  • Canceling your booking last minute due to mismanagement (eg double booking, lack of staff)
  • Canceling your booking to accept a better booking elsewhere 
  • Running out of paper mid hire 
  • Turning up late / Leaving early
  • They go out of business before your rental date and take your money with them
  • Not being able to access the venue on the day due their lack of lead up liaising with your venue 
  • Issue prone photo booths which result in a loss or stoppage of service during your event.
  • Technical issues for which they aren't equipped or experienced to fix on site resulting in loss of service
  • Flimsy or DIY booths that aren't up to the job
  • Poor quality, ugly or tired looking photo booths that simply do not match the caliber of your event 
  • Poor quality prints, videos or gifs
  • Hidden and/or unexpected charges (meals, delivery fees, difficult set up, early set up, late pack down)
  • Loss of digital copies due to operator error
  • Rude or unhelpful photo booth attendants during your event
  • No insurance (eg public liability, vehicle, contents)
  • Not using a surge protector (risk of injury or booth malfunction)
  • Not taping down all cords (risk of injury)
  • The list goes on but you're getting the picture by now that plenty can go wrong.....

Before we get into how to actually spot a photo booth Cowboy let's delve into what actually makes a truly great photo booth rental experience. There are two pretty simple but not always deliverable elements to this equation:

1. Good Customer Service (pre, during and post rental) 

2. High Quality Photo Booth (construction, hardware and software).

It's very important to note here that you don't necessarily have to find someone who rates perfectly on both counts. More important is that you understand that there is generally a direct correlation between pricing and how well different operators and their booths actually rate on these two elements. For instance if you want a photo booth for your Wedding be prepared to pay a higher price as you don't want to take any risks at anything going wrong as you get one chance! So in this case you would be wanting the best customer service to make the process easier for you and you're going to want a high quality photo booth to ensure your guests and you have a great experience to rave about for years to come and have high quality prints, videos etc which are going to last a lifetime. However if you are having a backyard BBQ and just wanted to spice it up a bit and aren't needing the ultimate photo booth experience you can find a cheaper options which still give you a relatively good experience.

Unfortunately photo booth operators can't always tell you honestly how they really rate nor can you just base your assumptions on pricing. You're going to need to use your smarts and your ability to research to help you. So how do you tell a good operator from a Cowboy?

12 Warning Signs to Spot a Photo Booth Cowboy

  1. Their website looks unprofessional (messy layout, spelling mistakes, poor grammar, cheap graphics, stock images etc)
  2. Their website is a one pager with limited to no information on it
  3. They don't have a website, they only advertise on Facebook or classified sites 
  4. They offer their services on Groupon, Scoupon etc
  5. Their website has no or very limited pictures of their photo booths (ALARM bells should ring as they likely offer low quality booths and don't want you to see/compare them!)
  6. They make some pretty audacious claims but do not substantiate them with proof (eg We are the best/No.1 photo booth operator) 
  7. They are slow or don't always respond to your emails/phone calls
  8. When you phone them they are short with you and more interested in getting you booked in and taking your money than answering your questions in a professional manner
  9. They have a Facebook page which doesn't allow anyone to make comments on their posts (ALARM bells should ring here as this is often a tactic to avoid bad reviews/feedback)
  10. They claim to be equally as good if not better than the expensive photo booth operators but can do it much cheaper 
  11. There is no record of their business name in the state or national business register 
  12. They have plenty of amazing testimonials on their website but when you search elsewhere you find bad or no reviews for them 

True Cowboys will satisfy more than a couple of the warning signs but armed with this knowledge you will be better be able to avoid a photo booth disaster!

The Photobooth Finder is also here to help you and you can find more useful information in our Photobooth Rental Guide and in our Blogs. We have built a trusted network photo booth suppliers across North America (USA and Canada).

CLICK HERE to start your photo booth search

GETTING MARRIED? Read this Blog about How to Pick a Great Wedding Photo Booth Rental

Happy Boothin!  


Disclaimer: While every caution has been taken to provide readers with most accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog. Author will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.

(Photo Booth Blogger: Justin Jowett)


About Justin Jowett

Justin is the Head of Operations at Photobooth Finder (USA, Canada and Australia) and a serial photo booth blogger.

He is also the Organizer of the Australian Photo Booth Expo "BoothCon". Previous to this he ran a successful photo booth hire business of his own in Brisbane from 2010 - 2014 and is well known and respected in the Photo Booth Industry particularly in his native Australia.

Recent Posts by Justin Jowett

Tags: Photo Booth Disaster, Photo Booth Rental Tips

View All Articles


Are you a photobooth operator? Sign Up for your free listing now!

Sign up for the latest news & info about photobooths and The Photobooth Finder