After a flurry of activity, with a constant flow of wedding reception guests to my photo booth, I finally had a moment to breathe, grab a sip of water and get ready for the next onslaught of revelers.
Just then, a little flower girl (maybe five or six years old) who had been a regular “customer” all evening, came back to the booth yet again, this time dragging an uncle. I dutifully deployed the small road case I had been using to raise the little lady up high enough for the camera to capture, and waited through another session of four photos.
After an evening with “babysitter” tacked onto my photo booth operator job description (the flower girl wasn’t the only excited youngster in attendance), my patience was starting to fray a little, and I caught myself grumbling internally as I ducked back into the booth to remove the road case. The kids were just being kids, but it can get tiring after a while. (Especially when the partying parents are AWOL…but I digress.)
I handed the photo prints to the flower girl (she had to distribute them to all of her photo-mates, of course), and as she passed one on to her uncle, she held her own copy out in front of her and said loudly, “I’m gonna keep this forever!”
We all know that particular photo print is likely already lost, discarded or destroyed. However, that little moment led me to a bigger realization about the symbiotic relationship between DJs and photo booths. It’s all about making memories.
Wedding DJs, in particular, are aware of their responsibility in the creation of the memories that make up a “successful” reception. All the vendors have their parts to play, of course, but as MC/host, musical entertainer, and often event coordinator, the savvy wedding jock understands how important his or her personal performance in all areas is truly essential to the event’s overall success.
Along with music programming, mixing, hosting, etc., most DJs also offer extras like uplighting, monogram gobos, video, and more. Over the last decade, one of those “more” items has risen above the rest in importance for many DJ companies: photo booths.
Based on the little epiphany I described above, along with about three years of experience as a photo booth operator (running a fully enclosed, touchscreen setup with printer, requiring a good deal of operator involvement), I see the DJ-photo booth relationship as qualitatively different from any of the other typical add-ons. Why?
The photo booth is a perfect counterpart to the DJ’s “creation” of a memorable event. With a photo booth complementing the DJ’s performance, the guests have a chance to create a visual reminder to jog their memories of the wonderful event. And who better to provide that memory aid than the one orchestrating the wonderful memories in the first place?
(I realize that photo booths can also be great for photographers and videographers to offer, but I would argue that they make the most sense either as a DJ offering or as a stand-alone service.)
Sure, the photo booth experience is about being in the moment (often being quite silly in the moment!). However, it’s also about capturing and saving that moment of fun at a joyous occasion. Whether they’re uploaded to a Facebook feed, under a magnet on someone’s fridge, or in a pile of prints for newlyweds to enjoy, the images from a great event create an afterglow of joy for guests and couples alike. They provide a tangible reminder that augments the photo booth user’s personal memory of the experience. Sometimes they even help a guest remember how much fun the DJ was, when it comes time to plan their OWN event. — Dan Walsh
Dan Walsh is the Chief Content Editor and Curator for Mobile Beat. In addition, he has been working Photo Booths for a DJ/Photo Booth Multi-Op in Rochester, NY for the past 3 years.