March 2017


Open air photobooths is a fairly new photobooth trend to hit the market over the past 5 years. Fast gaining popularity the open air photobooth is now  the most popular photobooth for weddings, corporate functions, festivals, parties and school formals.

The first thought that generally pops into a person’s mind when they hear the term photobooth is that of an enclosed booth which you step into. Concealed behind a curtain there is generally a bench seat and enough room for a few people to tightly squeeze in. After following instructions on a touch screen the photo booth takes a series of photographs and prints out photo strips for you to take home.

There are definitely similarities between open and closed photobooths the open style booth generally tends to build upon the idea of a traditional closed booth, offering a fun and modern twist on the classic closed style booth.

The best way to describe an open air photo booth is that it is like a portable photographic studio. There is no traditional booth as such that users step into, but more of  photographic backdrop that users stand in front of. From here the setup can vary greatly from one open photo booth hire company to the next, both in quality and setup. In my opinion an open air photobooth still has to have the actual photobooth box rather than a photographer taking pictures in front of a backdrop but you will find companies who say that this is considered a photobooth.

At the simple end of the spectrum some photographers will place a camera on a tripod and use this to capture photographs. Guests will stand in front of the backdrop and the photographer will instruct them to pose whilst capturing their photo. At the time guests can’t see their photographs, nor do they receive prints. Rather, the photographer will deliver the photographs as digital files after the event. THIS IS NOT AN OPEN AIR PHOTOBOOTH!

We also  have photographers with a similar setup, they will however include a printer and offer instant prints during the event. THIS IS STILL NOT AN OPEN AIR PHOTOBOOTH!

The problem with such a setup  is that guests have a photographer posing them, instructing them and generally playing a large role in the process. This can make a lot of guests feel uncomfortable which takes the fun out of a photobooth and that’s not the experience a good photo booth should offer, nor is it the experience that leads to the most candid, creative and hilarious photos possible.

So then, what would you consider a good open photobooth?

In our opinion, similar to the way closed photobooths are operated by the user with a touch screen, there are a bunch of open air photobooth companies offering booths based around a very similar user experience. This is the kind of photo booth we offer at Closed Curtain Photobooth.

These open photobooths typically consist of a unit which houses a touch screen and a camera, the units are usually the height and size of an average person and can be housed in our traditional photobooth boxes or our new Mirror Me Photobooth.

Here’s how the experience plays out from a users point of view:

·   grab some props from the props box or table

·   stand in front of the background

·   touch the screen on the open photo booth to begin a series of photos

·   photos are printed on the spot

·   Leave with a smile on your face!

·   Drink more alcohol and come back and take even more hilarious pictures


Why would I hire an open booth over a closed booth?

There are many reasons why a client might choose to book an open photobooth over a closed booth and it’s for these reasons we’re seeing such a dramatic  increase in the popularity of open booths. The closed photo booth on the other hand is starting to become somewhat dated. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of an open photo booth

·        Open air photobooths can generally fit a lot more people in the photo! A closed booth offers a small space for users to squeeze tightly into, the camera is only a few feet from the user and typically it can be a struggle to fit more that a few people in a picture. On the other hand, because open photo booths use a large backdrop guests can walk freely into the area and strike a pose using their entire body or in a large group! The most people we’ve ever had in one of our open photo booths is 32. Much of the size depends on the distance of the boxes to the backdrop. 

·        Image quality. A great photograph must have a couple things to increase quality, in the case of a photo booth, two defining factors are camera quality and lighting. It’s not uncommon for many photo booth operators to use a poor quality camera, some even use webcams. This stands for both open and closed photo booths, so it’s important to make sure your operator uses a professional DSLR. We would never use anything less because the finished product is the most important thing for us.


·        Lighting is one area where open photo booths really excel, the setup offers great potential for operators to provide extremely high quality lighting with flattering and vibrant photographs where everyone looks great. In order to achieve these results the operator must have a good understanding of photography and lighting, it’s what really sets some hire companies apart from the crowd. I always recommend scrolling through each companies client galleries prior to booking. You will find a huge difference in quality just by taking the time to look.


·        Accessibility. Open air photo booths are incredibly portable, the setup can be broken down and carried into difficult to access areas, such as up stairs and through narrow doors. Traditional closed booths are bulky and heavy. 

·        Crazy ridiculous fun! Yep, that’s right. One aspect of open photo booths is that it’s easy for guests to jump in on the action, photo bombing is welcomed! Want to drag grandma into the shot? No problem! Open air booths are  more interactive and that leads to more pictures and more fun!

Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit more about open photobooths and can make an educated decision when deciding what style of photobooth you want for your event and which company to hire!