Social Media Has Made Photo Booths More Popular Than Ever

by Freya Drohan

Thanks to the “If it’s not on social media, it never happened” mantra, the desire to document ourselves in real-time has never been stronger. Newer tech like GIF cameras have made photo booths a staple at events, from awards ceremonies to fashion shows. Mike Limatola, co-founder/COO of photo booth rental company Fonteco Event Technologies explained to The Daily how the technology has evolved and what new interactive features may crop up next.

Has social media had an impact on photo booths?
Social media has reinvented the photo booth and the concept of photo sharing at events. Photo booth software has evolved over the years to integrate seamlessly with social media, allowing guests to instantly post their experience. Who doesn’t want to show off their photos to their social network? In the past, those photos were only printed, and often ended up on someone’s desk or refrigerator.

Mike Limatola (Courtesy)

Do people still want to print their photos?
Our events are mixed between digital sharing only, and digital sharing plus on-site printing. Having a physical memento or takeaway is always nice in this digital age. It comes down to our client’s budget, goals, and ideas.

Why do people love hitting up photo booths at events?
People go to events to see and be seen, and they love sharing those moments. In the age of camera phones and digital photos, images are ubiquitous. However, there’s a fun, interactive element to stepping in front of a photo booth at events that can’t be replicated with a smartphone. And let’s face it—people love showing off when they’re at cool events, and photo booths help encourage that, especially with millennial and Gen Z demographics.

How did you enter the photo booth business?
My business partner and I began Fonteco Event Technologies when we saw a growing trend in events and photo booth rentals. We both have experience in the tech industry, and he had an interest in photography, so it was a good fit. After analyzing the market, we jumped in and built our first photo and video booth. Since then, we’ve grown into one of the largest suppliers of photo, video, and GIF booths nationwide. We also design and manufacture our own booths in-house.

Guests interacting with a Fonteco photo booth (Courtesy)

What can a photo booth add to an event’s atmosphere?
Retail and fashion events are the perfect atmosphere for taking and sharing photos. The demographics of these events tie in well to our services, as attendees love to pose, and let their peers know where they are and how much fun they’re having. We’ve worked with clients like Tiffany & Co., Cost Plus World Market, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Marc Jacobs, Rebecca Minkoff, and others to liven up their activations and add a fun, memorable digital keepsake.

Any emerging trends in photo booths you’ve noticed?
Our retail and fashion clients want custom builds and experiences. For example, a client came to us to provide 60 photo and karaoke kiosks in their stores for a holiday promotion. It wasn’t an off-the-shelf type booth. We worked closely with their team to tie together photos, videos, and user-generated entry data from our kiosk into their nationwide contest.

Tell us something fun and novel a client has asked for.
We had a client come to us with the idea of a “meme photo” experience. They wanted a way for guests to have photos taken back-to-back with two different sets or scenes. We were able to bring that idea to life and allow guests to choose their meme, take their photos, and instantly print and share their meme.

Will animation-focused booths likely stay popular?
Animated GIFs and Boomerangs have more of a visually impactful effect when shared on social media, so we feel they will remain popular. We have numerous ways to customize the GIFs as well, such as the speed, animated backgrounds, and overlays.

Are social media feed walls becoming more popular?
Social media feeds, like Instagram and Twitter, are a tried-and-true way to encourage social conversation, to drive brand awareness, and to aggregate and display that social conversation in a visually appealing way. We have seen brands utilize our social media displays for all types of events, as well as in-store, as a signage-type solution. Clients in the retail space can showcase their social media posts and/or user-generated content around their brand easily and cost-effectively. There’s also a feature to allow brands to request the rights to their fans’ posted content, quickly and legally.

What might the photo booth of the future look like?
Technology and photos evolve. Regardless of the hardware or device, it all comes down to guests’ experiences. A fun, socially shareable encounter continues to drive engagement. We’ve seen many “new” trends, but most provide that same functionality and end result. People love bragging about events they’re at. What better way than to offer photo proof to their friends, family, and followers. This is why photo experiences aren’t going away anytime soon!

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