Social media is part and parcel of modern weddings. From hashtagged tweets to Facebook updates, images of your big day can be winging their way across the internet before you even say “I Do”.
It’s a lovely way to build and record memories of an event that’s taken a lot of time, effort and money to organise. And now, photo booths are capitalising on that same technology.
Peter from Photo Yolo, who runs the business with partner Nathan, says photo booths have transformed from something seen as a little bit quirky to something that’s de rigueur for many couples.
“They’re definitely growing in popularity,” he says. “They bring a sense of fun and colour to a wedding and people love that they don’t have to line up. They can just be inspired for a photo and take it.
“Best of all, they offer a sense of immediacy. Because couples get a USB from the booth at the end of the night they have their photos and video straight away to enjoy, or even take on their honeymoon.
“It lets them hold on to their big day a bit longer.”
Peter says the latest innovation in the industry is Instagram photo booths, which bring friends and family even closer to the action by tapping into the popular photo-sharing app. And the biggest advantage is in the execution.
Traditionally, photo booths draw guests together before a stationery camera that then takes their photo. But with an Instagram booth, the whole venue turns into one big camera, courtesy of mobile phones. And here’s how it works.
“Couples decide on a hashtag for their day, which might be something like #Kateandwilliamswedding,” explains Peter.
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“That’s then programmed into the Instagram photo booth.
“Then, when people add photos to their own Instagram account with that hashtag, the booth will pick them up and print them off within 10 seconds, complete with any comments you might have added.”
It’s just like creating, and then printing, a real-time photo album, backed up by a live feed gallery slide show and private upload to Facebook the following day. And the creative possibilities are endless.
“It means people can capture every element of the reception on film, from the beautiful centerpieces to the bridal party arriving to the toasts, the speeches and more,” says Peter.
“It’s really turning all of your guests into event photographers.”
To help make the most of it, he suggests appointing someone, or several someones, as your official Instagram Photo Guru, with responsibility for taking, uploading, printing and then collecting photographs of every element and moment of your celebration, both big and small.
They could work off a pre-written list, spontaneously take things that catch their eye or focus on a combination of the two.
In short, it’s all about making memories. And that goes for standard photo booths as well.
Here are 10 creative ideas to make the most of them …. plus some Instagram inspirations.
Create a pic-heavy guest book
Most photo booth hire includes an album that lets guests add not only their photos – postcard-size from the instagram booth, or postcard or film-strip size in black and white, colour or sepia from the traditional booth – but also write their name and a short message right beside it. Encourage all of your guests to take up the opportunity and you have a readymade guest book with a truly personal touch.
Instagram touch: Add comments when your upload your photo to Instagram so they print off with the image.
Get into the spirit of a theme
It wouldn’t be a photo booth without a selection of props to add to the fun, so encourage people to create a theme for their turn in front of the camera. “We bring more than 100 props along for people to play with,” says Peter. “It’s all about encouraging guests to relax, have some fun and maybe be a bit cheesy.” Options range from superhero masks and rap-style bling to a stunning collection of moustaches and novelty glasses galore. There’s even slightly more risqué items available, for couples who feel a bit cheeky…
Instagram touch: Look at every part of the celebration as your props, from gorgeous centerpieces to glasses of bubbly.
Grab some extra wedding party photos
With the ability to fit up to 15 people inside, Peter says photo booths are a great way to grab some extra shots of your attendants on top of the more traditional images generally taken earlier in the celebration. These can be serious and formal or focus on fun, as the couple let their hair down in the company of their nearest and dearest. You could even use some of them to create special thankyou photo books for the attendants after the event.
Instagram touch: Keep your phone at the ready to capture the wedding party in spontaneous moments, from fixing their lipstick to chatting with the father of the groom.
Create Thank You cards
Booths are a great way to create thankyou cards. You could carry a sign with a message on it, spell out your thanks on a chalkboard or hold a piece of personalized bunting. It’s fun and informal and allows you to then write a personalised message on the back and send it out to guests.
Instagram touch: Since you’re not tied to a location, take the chance to shoot the image in the thick of action. One fab idea would be to pose in the middle of the dancefloor surrounded by guests having a wonderful time.
Make a family album
How often is your extended family all in the same room? And dressed to the nines? Chances are, never. So take advantage of the fact to get everyone on film. You could do groupings by immediate family, by generations, by home state – anything you like. And the best bit is, since you get your photos on USB, you can share them with all and sundry afterwards.
Instagram touch: Use the comment facility to include everyone’s names.
Curate an advice journal
As people add their photos to the booth album, encourage them to write not just their name and message, but also a piece of wedding advice they’ve found useful in their own lives. It’s such a lovely way to draw on the best wishes and wisdom of family and friends.
Instagram touch: Get couples to do a joint message and photo as it underlines what they are saying.
Make a unique cabaret show
Photo Yolo’s traditional photo booth allows guests to leave a video message. And according to Peter it’s a great way to create something innovative and fun. “Guests can leave a traditional congratulations, so it’ s like a video guest book, but we also encourage them to have fun,” he says. “For example you get some people dancing, others telling stories that involve the bride or groom or others sharing a joke.” It turns into a great package designed to amuse and entertain the groom, who receive it on USB at the end of the night.
Instagram touch: It’s not quite the same, but you could get guests to make you a joke book by writing their favourite jokes in the comments of their Instagram photos.
Create a journey of the day
This is something special you can really only do with the Instagram booth, and it would best be done by one person. They could snap bits of action as it happens, adding relevant captions as they upload the shots, and then, once they’re printed, collect all of the pics together in sequence so you can flip through and see the events you missed out on. For example: 3.10pm – grandmother of the bride has the first glass of champagne. 3.20pm – flowergirl’s shoes come off. 3.45pm – how good are these canapés?
Where did you meet your partner?
Instagram touch: Get names if you can to include in the caption.
Compile a chalkboard story
“One of the things people love to use is chalkboards, where they write a message and then pose with it,” says Peter. And their uses are unlimited. You could write just your name and relationship to the couple, add inspiration to a married life bucket list, or even offer your favourite quote about love.
Instagram touch: Take these photos all over your reception so you have a stunning collection of backdrops.
“There really is so much you can do with a booth, particularly an Instagram booth,” says Peter. “You put so much effort into the day it’s a great way to ensure some extra memories.”
And finally, here’s four great posing ideas:
* The surprise smooch – plant one on your other half’s cheek unexpectedly and catch their surprise on camera.
* The photo bomb – wait until some other guests are getting ready to say cheese and then jump into frame at the last minute.
* Paparazzi – pose like you’re celebrities who’ve just been caught out by a sneaky paparazzi and you really don’t want your photo taken.
* Love heart – use your hands to form the shape of a heart. It’s very fitting for the day, after all.
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