Why Are Photo Booths So Popular?
Why Are Photo Booths So Popular?
In an age where everyone with a smartphone can take pictures of anything, anywhere, anytime, you’d think photo booths would be an antiquated novelty. After all, they’ve been around since the 1920s when the first coin-operated camera kiosk debuted in Manhattan, developing portraits in eight minutes for the princely sum of 25 cents. Yet photo booths are still here and they’re still as popular as ever.
Photo booths are one of the most rented items at parties and other events. Next time you go to a shopping mall, amusement park, or wedding reception take a moment to look around. Chances are there’s one not far from where you’re standing. What has allowed this seemingly niche product to survive the cultural transition from celluloid to megapixels? The answers may surprise you.
They’ve kept up with modern tech
Today’s photo booths cost a bit more than a quarter, but that’s because modern photo booth manufacturers are producing machines far more advanced than anything a 1920s New Yorker could’ve imagined. Users no longer have to wait eight minutes to get their pictures. Instead, images are printed almost as soon as they’re taken. Many booths can send digital copies to a user’s email address as well. Professional-grade lighting and cameras mean people can take selfies that put their smartphones to shame, while touch-screens equipped with real-time photo-editing software allow users to decorate their images in fun, unique ways.
No one has to hold the camera
Something as simple and straightforward as this feels almost silly to say, but the most obvious answers are often the best ones. Photo booths make it easy for groups of friends to take pictures together without one person having to snap it from afar or hold their phone aloft while everyone else struggles to squeeze into frame. For large gatherings, special events, and family vacations, attempting to get everyone in the same shot at the same time can sometimes be a losing battle. Even with all the convenience of smartphones, this remains a big advantage that only photo booths can provide.
Real photos are memories you can hold
Digital photos have many benefits: they can be copied and deleted with ease, they’re simple to store and transport, and you take literally hundreds of them without wasting any physical resources. But that intangibility is also one of digital photography’s biggest weaknesses. People like taking home souvenirs that remind them of the good times. They like holding their memories in their hands, pasting them into scrapbooks, and framing them on their walls. To achieve the same thing with the digital photos, users first have to buy an expensive printer, get ink and paper, and finally comb through hundreds of files deciding which ones to print. Not only are photo booths less expensive, but their rarity also makes the memories they capture all the more special.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing
In some ways, photo booths are just as contemporary as ever. But in other ways, they are indeed a relic of simpler times. That’s not a bad thing, however. A session in a photo booth is like a visit from an ice cream truck. It has a timeless charm all its own. For older users, it’s a flashback to the past. For younger ones, it’s hip and vintage. Whatever the case, photo booths have a purity and a sense of fun to them that not even the slickest smartphone can compete with. It’s the kind of feeling that puts a smile on your face quicker than you can say “cheese!”