Kids In The Photo Booth (At Adult Events) Yes or Hell No!?
Earlier in the year I blogged about the reasons why a photo booth is still the must have cool addition to any event. One of the reasons I gave is that they can make great babysitters. My 5 years experience as a photo booth operator (2010 -14) was spent running unattended automated photo booths. In other words I never had to be there to see what people and kids were up to which is probably a good thing despite those early machines being designed for unattended use.
During this time none of my hundreds of past clients expressed anything negative about kids using the booth. In fact it was quite the opposite, I had many clients tell me how great it was that the booth gave the kids something fun to do instead of getting up to mischief and annoying the adults. To further cement my position that photo booths are great for kids I don't ever recall any of my photo booths being damaged by kids. (Adults however did on occasion but that's for another blog....)
Well not everyone who read my blog saw it that way and my article got some unexpected negative attention on social media from a couple of photo booth operators who unlike me attend their booths during a rental. They were very unimpressed that I should even suggest making great babysitters was a great feature of a photo booth rental. One person even went so far as to call me irresponsible and gave me the "furious red face" emoticon. Twice! From her I could sense the frustration she had built up from what I can only presume to be years of "child instigated photo booth rage". Whilst I can understand and even appreciate her frustration I think she was misplaced accusing me of being irresponsible. However it did get me thinking that maybe I needed to investigate further and find more out about the "attended" side of the coin of which I had inadvertently and somewhat ignorantly overlooked.
To do this I consulted with some of my trusted member operators and was given a greater insight in to how things can be for attendants and adult guests when kids are left to take over the photo booth. Apparently they can become unruly, over bearing and hog the booth not allowing the adults much of a chance to enjoy the booth. I was also told parents are all too often missing in action whilst their kids run riot and are quite happy for the photo booth rental attendant to deal with them so they don't have to. The photo booth attendant is primarily there to oversee the smooth operation of the photo booth and encourage all guests to use the booth. They are not employed to be the babysitter.
Given these new insights I edited my original post to make this distinction and hopefully provide a more balanced insight whilst education the public about how the issue. Unfortunately for the "furious red face" emoticon lady my explanation and subsequent update wasn't met favorably. Apparently her pent up anger about the issue was not to be quelled.
No matter what the stance on kids I believe it is up to the photo booth operator and their attendants to set and communicate clear rules about how they want their photo booths treated. It is also up to the renter to also set some guidelines about how they want kids to interact as much as it is about parents controlling their kids or heaven forbid kids being totally excluded. It can be something as simple as agreeing on a set of rules e.g. that kids are allowed to use the booth for the first 1 or 2 hours then it's adults only. If the rules are made clear prior (via the rental agreement and in lead up communication) then it is far easier to enforce during the rental as the attendant has a clear mandate. These rules should also be clearly communicated via signage and verbal instruction from the attendant during the rental. If there is an MC they should also advise and remind the guests as well. The added use of stanchions to control crowds and stop unruly behaviour of adults and kids alike is also helpful.
The type of event is very important when considering having specific rules for kids about the use of the photo booth. For instance at a Wedding (and many other important events and occasions) the main reasons the client has rented a photo booth is to entertain their guests and to be the source of printed/digital memories for posterity. I am sure they would be happy to have some pictures of their younger family members and friends children but certainly they want the majority of pictures to be of the adult guests.
At the end of the day so long as the rules are clear and being met then everyone can have a good time in the photo booth including kids and to that I think we can all say Hell Yeah!
Read more about Kids and Photo Booths HERE
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(Photo Booth Blogger: Justin Jowett)