The Future of Entertainment — Reviving Photo Booths, the Century-Old Nostalgia Machine

No modern event or party today is complete without the main things: a full-blown bar, delicious appetizers, a great crowd, and a photo booth. Party season is here, which means that photo booth fleets are busier than ever. For those in the business, this time of year is comparable only to the wedding season. Photo booths have become a component of corporate and personal events. The saying “pics or it didn’t happen” is becoming “photo booth or we didn’t party.”

Tribute Kiosk, a provider of interactive photo booths, at BMO Field’s Select-a-Seat event for the Toronto FC

Photo booths aren’t new: In a span of 100 years, they evolved from what printed eight pictures for 25 cents in 1925; to the iconic four-photo-strip machine; to the factory-produced stalls that have become afterthought accessories in malls, bars, and movie theatres. But in recent years, entrepreneurs have dusted off the fun, magical-feeling memorabilia machines and transformed them into a key part of the event scene.

80% of wedding photographers believe that having a photo booth would increase their revenue and clientele.

As much as this industry has come and gone, it is worth approximately $10.6 billion as of 2018, according to IBISWorld. Afi Aflatooni, who owns the Toronto-based photo booth business, Tribute Kiosk, has told me that “one of the first things that photographers, hosts and event planners do for events is to find a photo booth for everyone to love”.

Tribute Kiosk has been around since 2009, building and designing interactive touchscreen kiosks for weddings, sports fanatics, and indoor playgrounds. The company provides coaching and training including in their Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) products to get users familiar with the kiosk quick, and clients only pay for it when they use it, meaning that they borrow Tribute Kiosk’s equipment to experience the simplicity of partnering with a company that cares about their success.

Since its founding a decade ago, Tribute Kiosk has been managing, manufacturing and programming their technology. A benefit to their clients, they provide their own experience, including unlimited prints, super simple setup, and personal support to name a few. The experience attracts not only weddings, sports games, or indoor playgrounds as the company mentions through their website, but attracts all that want their memories to be cherished. People want to share pictures of themselves endlessly, especially at their eventful moments.

Sharing is a big draw. Subjects still walk away with a printout in their hand, but they can also share them instantly on Twitter and other social media platforms by linking their accounts to the photos taken. Hosts not only get their events promoted through a subject’s social network, but they can also collect e-mail addresses and other useful information. There is also a nostalgia factor. Think of the return of Polaroid and all other types of photography ideas, all of that makes a great party.

The best part about photo booths is that the photos taken are organic and unretouched. Something about the experience is exciting to people, and it is simply because people do not get much a head’s up about the flash going off. It gives people more of an authentic in-the-moment feel, it is raw and real and that is why people love them.

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