"Hey Alexa, just a quick question. Have you any idea how we could source some polaroid cameras for a bit of interactive fun at the wedding? Would need film too but thought you may be able to help being in the photography world :)"
Caz & Ben
Just one of many emails and facebook messages I've received from clients and friends about which 'polaroid' camera to choose. I love instant cameras and I love photobooths in general, and they always go down well with guests at weddings! So time for a bit of a useful post - I thought I'd share what I've found to work well and have seen used at lots of lovely parties but would love to hear if you have any other ideas or experiences!
I've been flicking through our own album today and it's really made me giggle and enjoy our day all over again, I'm so glad we did it.
When Daf and I got married 3 and a half years ago, photobooths were just becoming popular at weddings but we were 'Mr & Mrs Low Key Wedding', planning everything in under 6 months. I didn't have the time or energy to worry about props - I just wanted my guests to enjoy a little spontaneity and to have a little record and message from them. A simple DIY option.
What to buy and where from?
I bought a Fuji Instax from ebay and we were set to go. I bought some film - I wasn't sure how much to buy, I planned enough for one print between 2 guests plus 20 spare. It worked out quite well - and we enjoyed using up the spare film at the end of the night with silly photos, passing the camera around the pub! I reckon you are probably looking at around £120 for the camera, films, album and paper to write on etc. If you are one of my clients you are more than welcome to borrow mine (as long as you replace if it gets accidentally damaged), it's much fun!
These are the things we used but you can use your own imagination when it comes to the album!
Album - just a brown kraft paper style one from paperchase with compartments to slip photos into
No glue or sticky tape required!
Luggage tags for messages
The 'Polaroid' brand films and cameras are no longer in production. If you do have an old Polaroid camera (I have a couple of beauties) you can buy film from the Impossible Project but it's not quite the same as the good old stuff and mustnt be exposed to light whilst developing...so can be a bit tricky! So we went for the Fuji brand to be on the safe, reliable side, but the beauty to instant film is that you never quite know how it turns out!
How to set it up and how will guests know what to do?
The instax is pretty simple to use and self explanatory - the only thing that might be tricky is changing the film after a few wines, but the film casette literally just clicks into place. We wrote out clear instructions too. You could always put a bridesmaid, friend or someone in charge of checking on it now and again. I find the batteries should last all night but have some spares on hand just in case.
At our wedding, things were a little slow on the uptake as it was all in a little corner, but my dad announced it at the end of his speech and then everyone knew what to do! :)
There are loads of things you can do - we didn't have any fancy dress, preferring to capture photos of our guests as they were so we could see them, as I said Mr and Mrs Low Key Wedding! :)
Our friends pulled it out of the bag though - they began to write limericks as their message, competing against each other to be the most witty. This is my favourite from one of our uni friends....
"Alexa was pulling a frown
She wanted a hot man man around
Then a tall guy rocked up
He said "Hey Babe, wassup?
Dafydd Dent won't let you down"
Some super awesome ideas I've seen at my couples weddings :) Lauren & Ray went for a mini Instax - sooooo cute, I know you can buy these at John Lewis online or again, amazon or ebay etc. They used sticky dots to fasten the photos into the book.
Mae & Alec took their photo as soon as they arrived at the venue and stuck it to the front of their album so people would know what to do! :) Cute! I love how they used washi tape to secure the photos.
Yes, that is Ali and Ben's album. I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful book. How incredible! The camera was placed on the ledge below.
Guests enjoying writing messages at Emily and Tom's wedding.
Pass the camera around the tables during the meal
This worked really well at Caz and Ben's wedding - so much fun to be had and then the guests laid them out on the table as they left for the evening do!
I love how some of the guests (no names mentioned!) took the camera for a little adventure around the hotel!
Build your own digital booth Now both of these booths were just incredible - both built by hand - this one by Anna & Andrew's friends....there was a DSLR and flash set up inside, AND a laptop and printer. Truly amazing!! But before taking on something like this, beware a lot of love and effort went into these projects and they needed a little looking after during the evening to replace paper, ink and generally keep running. I was astounded by these, incredible work!
And this one? Dan built himself in the run up to his and Alex's wedding - Alex is an optician so the theme was glasses - flippin loved it!
Get someone else to do it for you! :) If the DIY option doesn't sound like your thing, I've met loads of professional photo booth companies along the way - here are a few ideas of people to check out.Katie and Alex went with Say Fromage - a simple photo booth complete with person to run the booth in case films or ink run out!
Sunny and Fil used the Photo Emporium - they were amazing and the props went down very well with the guests!
Helen and Sam used the Mighty Booth
- a flippin awesome photobooth made from a vintage wardrobe, complete with awesome props and very friendly staff to build and run it!
Just beware. If you do go professional, I will jump in the booth! :) Love!
I would love to know about any of your ideas or suggestions for either a DIY instant camera guest book or photo booth company - I'm not an expert, this post is just about my experiences about what has worked well!