Banner that says "360 Photo Booths vs. Photo Booths" with images of traditional photo booths and a 360 photo booth below it
March 1, 2024

360 Photo Booths vs. Photo Booths | What’s The Difference?

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Photo booths have been a long-standing staple at events that are used as a way for guests to have a memento to look back on and share with their friends. For a long time, photo booths only provided guests with a physical picture as a take-away from an event, but with the onset of social media, digital images and videos began to be shared in place of a printed picture.

A decade ago, the 360 photo booth entered the event market, with a new design and means of creating captivating content. This new type of photo booth had people asking the question “What’s the difference between 360 photo booths vs. photo booths?” In this article we’ll take a look at these staples in the event industry and help any event planner or photo booth operator know which would be best for their events.

360 Photo Booth Videos vs. Photo Booth Images

Pile of images taken with a photo booth at an event

It’s no secret that standard photo booths produce images of event guests at an event. By using a green screen (or, more recently, background removal tech) these images can feature any background an event planner could ask of a photo booth service. The images can take the form of photo or videos, but the cameras recording the content is almost always stationary in relation to the subject. Images can be delivered to event guests as a printed souvenir, or as a digital piece of content that they can share on social media.

Even though the word “photo” is included in the name of 360 photo booths, these machines don’t actually produce a photo at all. They actually create video content. A 360 photo booth attaches a camera to an arm that swings around a central subject. The result is not only a more-interesting way of shooting the subject but also a means of showcasing the entire environment surrounding the subject in the background. After capturing the raw video, a second rendering step is typically performed that can adjust speed in either a faster or slowed delivery as well as cut the timeline and add other effects and branding overlays. Music is also typically added. This content is almost always delivered to event guests digitally and guests very rarely leave a 360 photo booth with any physical content.

360 Photo Booths vs. Photo Booths: What Do They Look Like?

Standard photo booths come in many shapes and sizes. In their simplest form, photo booths can simply involve a camera pointed at an area where guests are intended to pose and take a picture. However, as the photo booth indusrty has evolved over the years, many photo booths now include self-contained touch screens and print stations for users to preview, share, print or download their photos. Photo booths can also be adapted to better align with an event’s aestetic. They can even be contained inside of a mirror!

While 360 photo booths come in various sizes, they generally take a similar form. They feature a circular platform with an arm that extends out and up from underneath the platform. Attached to the top of the arm is a camera focussed towards the center. Event guests stand on the platform, and a motor that is hidden beneath the platfrom rotates the arm around the guests to create 360 degree videos. If an iPad or an iPhone is used as the camera for the 360 photo booth, guests may preview and download their videos directly from the camera. However, videos are most often previewed and downloaded at a separate sharing station a few feet away from the booth after they have been transferred from the camera via a wireless connection.

Guest Experience For a 360 Photo Booth vs. a Standard Photo Booth

Guests entering a standard photo booth often have an understanding of how photo booths work and don’t need much prompting from a photo booth operator to have a photo taken. In fact, event guests are so comfortable with photo booths that some photo booth activations can be designed to operate without an attendant at an event. While this standard photo experience may create a known and comfortable environment for the guest to create content of themselves, it is often not much different that taking a selfie and does not provide a truly memorable experience or highlight of an event for them.

Diagram of a 360 photo booth noting the camera, arm, and base

360 photo booths, on the other hand, normally require a photo booth attendant to ensure that event guests understand how to position themselves for the video and that they safely step on/off the platform while the arm is not moving. After guests are standing on the platform, attendants typically provide a short set of instructions and explain that the camera will rotate around them for a few seconds as it captures the video. Often guests are encouraged to strike a pose or move around a little to ensure a dynamic end result. Attendants also ensure that guests do not step off the platform early and that the video capture area stays clear so that event guests do not accidentally come into contact with the rotating arm. Event guests generally report have more memorable and more positive experiences with 360 photo booths than traditional photo booths.

Required Space for a 360 Photo Booth vs. A Standard Photo booth

A standard photo booth can be operated in area as small 5′ x 5′ at an event.

Due to the mechanical rotating arm, a 360 generally requires at least a 10′ x 10′ area to be operated safely, but a 15′ x 15′ area is recommended.

Cost of a 360 Photo Booth vs. a Standard Photo Booth

How Much Does It Cost To Buy a Standard Event Photo Booth?

Stand-alone photo booths come in many variations and photo booth companies looking to purchase one should expect to pay anywhere between a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending upon the design, the camera, the capture software and the inclusion of a printer for photo still shots.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent A Photo Booth for an Event?

According to a article, event planners looking to hire a standard photo booth for their event can expect to pay an average of $250-$550 per event depending on the type of photo booth and the amount of time they need it for.

Variation in standard photo booth rental costs can come in the form of:

  • Event duration
  • Booth type
  • Add-ons
  • Printing
  • Peak vs. off-peak schedule
  • Location (both local and city)
  • Photo/ video type

How Much Does a 360 Photo Booth Cost?

A few reputable 360 photo booth manufacturers exist, but only OrcaVue stands on 10 years of 360 photo booth manufacturing excellence, offers warrantied booths, and US manufacturing and support. Because of its unique arm-stabilization design, the OrcaVue XL 360 photo booth is typically chosen for stadium-scale events, tours, brand activations, live broadcasts and studio production. As such OrcaVue is accustomed to providing pro-class support and service. Smaller photo booth operators benefit from this as the same staff is always available to them as well. OrcaVue’s professional 360 photo booth product line offers price points ranging from $2,590-$5,790.

Inexpensive 360 booths can be purchased from overseas for as little as $1,200, but buyer beware! Not all 360 photo booths are created equally. Low-quality booths generally come with engineering issues that causes footage to be unstable and unusable; plus they invariably have little or no overseas support/service (when they say it is US-based, be very skeptical) and no replacement parts availability.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a 360 Photo Booth for an Event

According to a July 2023 article by Medium, renting a 360 photo booth for an hour usually has a starting price of $200 to $500 per hour, depending on your requirements. A 3-4-hour minimum rental time is standard for many companies. Additional hours may come at reduced rates. As with standard photo booths, the rates vary considerably by city.

Variation in 360 photo booth rental costs can come in the form of:

  • Type of 360 photo booth and features
  • Event duration
  • Customization, lighting, and branding
  • Peak vs. off peak
  • 360 photo booth enclosures
  • Location (both local and city)

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