Jeff Caron started the area’s first photo booth rental company, Saratoga Photobooth Company, in 2006. because he was looking for a fun side job in addition to working in digital multimedia at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
In researching the history of the photo booth, “I noticed that they were starting to come back to events, especially out in California and New York City.”
After he bought his first booth, the Saratoga Springs-based business took off.
Since then, the company has done 1,000 weddings and now has 10 booths.
“It’s one of the largest [photo booth] companies in the country,” he said of his business, which he now runs full time.
The booth is usually set up during cocktail hour and might stay there through the entire reception, allowing people to stop by as they please.
Caron and his employees stay on the site but don’t hover around the booth.
“It’s supposed to give the illusion of a private studio,” he said. “They love the freedom of the photo booth.”
Gibson first saw a photo booth at a wedding in 2009 in Chicago. Laughing and being silly in the booth and then looking over the photos afterward was a blast, he said.
“That night, I said, ‘I want to do this.’ ”
About a year later, Gibson, who lives in Waterford and works full-time for the state, bought a photo booth and got to work.
Last year, he focused on networking and attending bridal shows to get his name out there.
“This year, it just exploded,” he said of the photo booth business. Last year, Gibson did 45 events, about 35 of which were weddings.
Most of the booths give photos that are of higher quality than the older booths, providing a more elegant, professional result.
“I have pretty much top-of-the-line equipment for the printer and camera,” Gibson said.
Caron promises that his photos will last a lifetime.
He also offers a scrapbook option for couples who want guests to post a photo in the guest book and write a message next to it.
“People love those photo booth scrapbooks,” he said. “It becomes a permanent fixture on their coffee table.”
There are various types of booths.
Caron’s 770-pound steel booths are vintage-style but digital and comfortably fit two or three people.
“The record is eight,” he said. “That’s half the fun of the photo booth, is the cramming in.”
Gibson’s is wheelchair-accessible, something that was important to him, and can fit between eight and 10 people.
Because of the popularity of photo booths, some photographers offer a simulated booth as an option in addition to regular wedding photography, at about the same price as a booth rental would cost.
They hang a backdrop and sometimes a curtain for privacy.
Some wedding couples like the idea of a real photographer, rather than an automated machine, taking the photos, said Dexter Davis, owner of Dexter Davis Photography in Albany.
“It’s just a different option versus the actual booth,” he said. “Some people like the idea of having an open booth.”
Davis has been in business for 14 years as a wedding photographer and added a photo booth option about a year and a half ago.
The wedding couple can either get a disc with all of the images after the event or have 4-by-6-inch prints made on site as guests wait.
Photo booth companies and photographers who simulate a booth offer fun props for guests to try, including fake mustaches, boas, sunglasses and hats.
But people don’t have to use them.
“We definitely don’t push the props,” Caron said. “Photo booths have a way of capturing people as they are.” u