Take your best shot

Photo booths are a snappy alternative to humdrum wedding favors

Photo booth rental companies in Reno include: PicBox Photo Booth, 12030 Broken Hill Road, 391-6161, www.picboxphotobooth.com; and Reno Photobooth Company, 354-0300, www.renophotobooth.com.

When it comes to wedding favors, you could get personalized mint tins, water bottles or playing cards for your guests. Yeah, you could do that. … Or you could spend your money providing them with a fun experience and something they won’t leave on the table once the wedding is over.

The photo booth is making a comeback, not only in bars and clubs, but also at weddings. These vintage-style booths, popularized by amusement parks, arcades and Andy Warhol, allow you to slip in, take a seat, draw the curtain and let the camera reveal what happens afterward in a strip of three or four shots. They’re one alternative to the wedding favor, as the strip can be personalized with the couple’s names, wedding date and colors, and both the guest and the couple get to keep a copy of the strip.

Photo booth rental businesses in Reno include Reno Photobooth Company and PicBox Photo Booth Company. Both will deliver the booth to the event and allow for unlimited photos that can be personalized. Photos can be in color or black-and-white, and a variety of props are included in the booths—from boas and hats to glasses and moustaches on a stick—to ensure a fun experience.

“This gives people an option to get crazy in the photo booth,” says PicBox co-owner Dustin Espindula. “It’s closed; even the most shy people are laughing and having a great time with this.”

PicBox includes a scrapbook, so guests can keep one strip for themselves and put the other strip in the scrapbook, along with whatever they’d like to write for the couple. And Reno Photobooth offers a photo book with all the images on a CD.

“A lot of people are going this way instead of justifying chocolates or some other gift that can range $2 to $5 per person,” says Espindula.

The booths are also an alternative to disposable cameras. For years, those have been a popular way for guests to capture unexpected moments of the reception for the bride and groom. However, disposable cameras require that the couple pay to develop each roll of film, without even knowing if they want the photos on them.

Not that photo booths are cheap. They can run from around $650 to over $1,000, depending on the number of hours they’re needed and the package the couple chooses. Given the limited number of photo booths available, Espindula recommends couples reserve their booth well in advance of the wedding date, especially if the wedding is held on a popular day, such as on a weekend.

If you don’t want to rent a photo booth, you can make your own with a laptop, webcam, photo booth software, printer and photo paper. (Offbeatbride.com provides great instructions for how to do this.)

Another fun way to capture your day is to create a photo studio, of sorts. Hang up a curtain or some funky fabric, arrange a comfy couch or some interesting chairs—bring out your inner set designer and create whatever scene you’d like, be it “American Gothic” or American Gangster. Provide a camera facing the setup, or have friends take turns playing photographer. Later, post the pics for guests on a photo sharing website like Flickr.