How to Start a Photo Booth Business

A photo booth business gives passersby the ability to take photos during gatherings and local events. Typically, photo booths are situated at parties, weddings, movie theaters and similar locations. Modern photo booth businesses give customers a variety of photo-taking options. While some photo booths have background props, others have digital amenities and social media sharing options. Generally, the photos are digital. They can also be printed once they’ve been taken. Photo booths are normally situated outside large event spaces. They’re used at concerts, movie theaters, at parties, during weddings, on the beach and in a variety of other places.

Learn how to start your own Photo Booth Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services.

Start a photo booth business by following these 10 steps:

  1. Plan your Photo Booth Business
  2. Form your Photo Booth Business into a Legal Entity
  3. Register your Photo Booth Business for Taxes
  4. Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  5. Set up Accounting for your Photo Booth Business
  6. Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Photo Booth Business
  7. Get Photo Booth Business Insurance
  8. Define your Photo Booth Business Brand
  9. Create your Photo Booth Business Website
  10. Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your photo booth business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Photo Booth Business Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability.

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Want some help naming your photo booth business?

Business Name Generator

What are the costs involved in opening a photo booth business?

Fortunately, a photo booth business isn’t expensive to start. In fact, you can build one for about $5,000 if you’re economical and handy. While the booth, camera, and equipment aren’t too expensive, you’ll need to invest in powerful hardware and software. A solid booth will be about $2,500 and can be disassembled. A basic camera, meanwhile, is about $500. As you upgrade, however, consider purchasing better lenses—or a better camera. A laptop can be purchased for $360, and basic software like DSLR Remote Pro is purchasable for $175. Other supplies, like a printer, props, and other supplies tend to be rather cheap.

What are the ongoing expenses for a photo booth business?

Your expenses won’t be much. Maintenance and camera upkeep are cheap, sometimes being as little as $50 per month. You will also have to pay for the gas you use to travel to events. Drive a fuel efficient car and make sure you’re planning your trips close to one another.

Who is the target market?

Look for patrons at any special event. The more exclusive the event, the better business it will be. Weddings, V.I.P areas, grand openings, and special guest visits are ideal. Event-goers will use a photo booth if there’s a reason to document the event. Check out your area’s local events, and talk to event coordinators.

How does a photo booth business make money?

A photo booth business makes money on a per-shot basis. You can charge event-goers for digital or printed versions. Additionally, you can offer photo packages to entice additional purchases. Rarely do photo booth businesses make money elsewhere. Because social media is free, charging extra money for social-media-related posts or services is generally a bad idea.

How much can you charge customers?

You can charge customers about $20 per photo. If your booth is extravagant, consider increasing the price. Some photo booths charge up to $50 per photo, if the event is unforgettable enough to warrant it. If you’re working for a venue, expect to make between $30 and $100 for your services.

How much profit can a photo booth business make?

Photo booths typically make about $35,000 per year. This depends on the area, however, as high-traffic locations are often more popular. Thus, high-traffic locations are more profitable.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Work on weekends. Don’t be afraid to reach out to local venues, either. Once you get a photo booth up and running, you can pay off the bills quickly. Don’t be afraid to expand out of your market, either, and focus on turning a profit as much as possible.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your photo booth business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website. If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

In most states, it is necessary to obtain a business license. Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a photo booth business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

FInd out what types of insurance your Photo Booth Business needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Photo Booth Business.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a photo booth business

Photo booth promotion isn’t hard, but it’s certainly particular. You’ll need to promote to hotels, venues, and wedding organizers. If you can partner with individual providers, you can advertise through them. Create a Facebook page, and use video marketing on Youtube. Having a Flickr account doesn’t hurt, nor does having a Wedding Wire and Yelp account. A lot of your advertisements will be online.

How to keep customers coming back

Attract customers by setting up your booth in a high-traffic area. If you’re visiting a wedding, set up shop near the refreshment area. It’s a good idea to be noninvasive while also being in an attractive, much-traveled area. Offer great discounts with Groupon, and don’t forget about Google Adwords Paid Advertising to create a pay-per-click campaign.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

The photo booth business is perfect for any person who likes photography. Whether you’re a photographer, a framer, a painter or simply love taking pictures of others, you can establish a photo booth business to give customers the chance to take their own pictures. Operating a photo booth does take some familiarity with camera settings like ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. The ideal photo booth business owner will also have a solid software foundation. It takes time to hook everything up, but it’s certainly worth the effort when customers are satisfied.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a photo booth business?

A photo booth business owner needs to select an effective, attractive, and engaging photo booth style. They’re responsible for moving the photo booth from location to location. Depending on the event, a booth’s interior may need to be changed. A photo booth business must also maintain professional equipment. Light modifiers, camera peripherals, backdrops and studio strokes must be maintained. If you’re using studio-style booths, it can get expensive. For this reason, a photo booth business operator needs to print post-event advertisements.

From a financial standpoint, a photo booth operator needs to budget effectively. It pays off to have a firm grasp on expenses. When a photo booth business owner isn’t doing direct business, they’re often finding new events, new venues and new photo booth opportunities.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful photo booth business?

Having a good eye for photography is a must. If you can, talk to another photo booth business owner. Because photo booths are particular, lighting and angle-wise, you’ll need plenty advice about capturing photogenic angles. Having a knack for online marketing and cold calling, too, is important. Because photo booth businesses typically seek out venues and events, understanding the basics behind seasonal events, party hours, and nightlife can certainly help.

What is the growth potential for a photo booth business?

A successful photo booth can become a preferred provider in its area. Because photo booth business owners have incredible flexibility, it isn’t hard to target an area’s most popular areas. That said, a smart photo booth business operator is one who targets opportunities without driving up expenses.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a photo booth business?

Build slowly. Too many photo booth business owners invest in overpowered cameras, over-hyped equipment, and luxurious backdrops. Keep the expenses low, and practice shooting. Also, drive to nearby events before traveling across the state. As a solo operator, you’ll need to pack in as many events as possible. Give your event-goers plenty of photo options, and make sure your booth is paid off relatively early.

How and when to build a team

Fortunately, you can operate a photo booth single handedly. You’ll need to invest in a partner eventually, however. Photo booth operation isn’t difficult, but it can take time to process taken photos. As a provider, you’ll make more money by servicing more guests. If you can increase the traffic speed by having a partner—or several—you should expand immediately.

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