8 Things I Learned Hosting A Church Photo Booth


07 Jan 2015

Hosting a photo booth at one of our services had been on my creative idea list since we first launched our church in September. I had seen other churches pull it off well and I knew it would work perfectly in our fun culture. We decided that our big Christmas service would be the perfect place to try it out for the first time. It was a HUGE success, but as I look back on that day, I learned a lot of valuable information that I wish I would’ve known going in.

Christmas Photo Booth Christmas Photo Booth

Christmas Photo Booth Christmas Photo Booth

1. It’s A Great Way To Add Excitement To An Event

We placed our photo booth in a space where it was almost the first thing you saw when you entered our church’s lobby. It was amazing to see the smiles from people who immediately wanted to jump in and have their photo taken. I love that it gave people a tangible way to remember the excitement of the day.

2. A Large Banner Works Great As A Background

We ordered an 8’ by 8’ banner from esigns.com and simply hung it with chain from our 14’ pipe and drape that makes up our lobby. This was a great way to showcase the design from our event. However, in the future I will opt for a matte finish so it won’t reflect so bad. I’ll also be sure to stick to thicker font weights to avoid important banner details being lost.

3. A Tripod Is A Must For A Consistent Look

Using a tripod is the easiest way to keep all of your photos matching and create a clean look as people flip through your album. Unfortunately, we learned this the hard way. Our photographer accidentally left her tripod behind and was left to take all of our photos by hand.

4. At Least Two Volunteers Are Necessary

Not only do you need a skilled photographer for your booth, but you’ll want someone who can gather people, too. We found that it’s best for the photographer to be able to focus solely on their subject. Your gatherer, on the other hand, will be able to greet guests and provide a friendly nudge that they should participate.

5. Props Aren’t Necessary, But Do Make Things Fun

Providing props such as hats, sunglasses, and items that match your event’s theme really steps up the engagement level. Adding in this small level of creativity makes it exciting for your participants. For our next booth, I’ll at minimum include some small signs that have our hashtags on them.

6. It’s Best To Offer Photos Before AND After Service

Every church has a handful of attendees who arrive late on Sundays. By providing your photo booth both before and after service, you make a way for them to be included despite their tardiness. It also makes a way for people who skipped the line on the way in.

7. Have Your Booth Available Early For Volunteers

At Piedmont Chapel, half of our attendees are involved on one of our teams. So when our booth was only available during times when our guests were arriving, they missed the opportunity to have their photo taken in the name of service. Be sure to have your booth open early for the people who are making your Sunday morning possible. Chances are, these photos mean the most to them.

8. This Is A Huge Opportunity For Social Media Outreach

We chose to post all of our photos as an album on our Facebook page immediately following our service. This was great because we were able to tag quite a few of the participants, then pay to boost the entire album. We spent $50 to boost this album to people who like our page, their friends, and the friends of people who were tagged. The amazing part? Facebook shows us that those photos were seen by 10,904 people! Not just any people, but people who have some kind of connection with someone in our church.

Together with the cost of the banner, we spent $230 on everything for the booth. I would recommend it to any ministry who is looking for a way to both add some fun to an event and reach a lot of people in your community on Facebook.

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Kendall Conner

Kendall Conner serves as the Creative Pastor at Piedmont Chapel in Greensboro, NC. He is a graphic designer, video editor, and all-around media geek, but above all enjoys seeing lives changed. Together with his beautiful wife, Holly, they strive to use media to spread the message of Christ and equip others for ministry.

Comments

  1. Does the banner company create your design background also or did you upload that?

    • Kendall Conner : January 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Hi, Juan – We created that design ourselves. We got the photo from Lightstock.com and I believe the font is from Dafont.com.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Kelly Johnson : January 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Very Nice, What a great way for ministry interaction and for your social media!

    • Kendall Conner : January 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Hey, Kelly –

      I think the important part was that our people had a good time and got to show off their church!

      Kendall

  3. Great ideas! We also take some time to have someone tag the people when we put them on our church’s Facebook page. It raises our page views that week from 600-700 to over 10k the two times we’ve done it this year.

    • Kendall Conner : January 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Hi, Ken –

      Oh yeah. This is HUGE! We do it as much as possible.

      Good advice!

    • I always wonder if we should tag people or let them do that themselves. Some people choose not to include photos of themselves on Facebook or don’t want their children identified. I know they can delete the tags but we all know once it is out in the internet it is always there. One option would be some sort of consent form at time of the photo is taken. That works for a photobooth but not in all situations.

      • Kendall Conner : January 7, 2015 at 4:00 pm

        I learned through this process that people cannot tag themselves in photos that you’ve paid to boost. Kind of a bummer there.

        I suggest including a sign at the entrance that states “Notice: Cameras are used throughout our facility for both security and promotional purposes.”

        We also express when we’re taking the photo booth pictures that they can find them on Facebook.

        Good thoughts!

  4. This is a great idea!

  5. Thanks so much! Great information!

    Also, wanted to thank you for your amazing webpage. As a church planter (the non-creative type) your practical and not-too-techy site has really helped me grow in this area. You are a blessing – thank you!

  6. Collin Thompson : January 7, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Kendall! Thanks for all the awesome stuff you post on here. As a fellow creative director in a large church, I sure appreciate it!

    Do you usually get your banners printed through esigns, and are you impressed with the quality? We’re looking for a cheaper alternative from the local print shop, but we’re a little weary of online retailers due to an unsavory past experience.

    Thanks!

    • Kendall Conner : January 7, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Hey, Collin –

      Thanks so much for the kind words. We’ve moved to using Esigns for all of our banners. I especially love their $160 roll up banner. It’s the best quality that I’ve seen anywhere. The only thing that I’ll say about them is that they get a little sloppy with tiny banners. (Ones under 4 foot.)

      Kendall

  7. Hey Kendall,

    Just curious, did you allow or prohibit people from using their own cameras and phones to take their own pictures? What would you recommend?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  8. Great idea! I think a similar idea will work perfectly for our Easter Egg Hunt outreach.

    Two quick questions:
    1. How did you tag first-time guests if you didn’t know them? Did you include Facebook on registration info?

    2. Anyone have experience printing and mailing these pictures to families after the fact? At our Easter events people dress up, and this could be another way to give back to these families.

    • Kendall Conner : January 8, 2015 at 11:59 am

      Hi, Brandon –

      1. This is a bit tricky. The simple answer is that we didn’t, but we have been really great about connecting with people on Facebook before they attend. Our lead pastor friends people from our city almost daily and anyone who likes our FB page. Between those, we have “met” almost everyone who comes in our doors before they come.

      2. Rick Warren’s church does something similar to this in their next steps process. They take everyone’s picture in a professional way and explain that if they come back next week that they will receive a free printed 8×10 of that photo. Up until a few years ago, Rick Warren still used these photos to memorize the names of all the people in his church.

      Hope that helps!

  9. Hi Kendall,

    Love this post. We’ve been using the photo booth strategically at our largest outreach services during the year. We have a volunteer team that consists of
    – written photo permission signer & queue management (gives us permission to put the photos on Facebook in a photo album like yours)
    – prop and talent management
    – photographers (work in shifts)
    – photographers assistant
    – producer (normally my lead volunteer photographer)

    The reach has been huge.
    198.9K Impressions
    by 69.5k users

    Because we take lots of photos (and I mean hundreds, maybe over a thousand now) of groups of people the church brand reaches far and wide.

    The big communication takeaway for me is that friends of FB friends see our brand in a different way. Centred around families and community.

  10. On the banner did you lay it out on photoshop? If so does it need to be 8 ft by 8ft in photoshop to print in high res?

    Thank you very much!

  11. Considering this for our Valentines Day Banquet. We are pretty rural, and we have a large number of people who arent social media savy. I was asked to make pictures available on our website. What are your thoughts on this? I thought about simply opening up a page with direct links to download, but I am not sure we want that on the main site. Any ideas? Perhaps start a subdomain as an events page with that to avoid it being available to all for download?

    • Kendall Conner : February 8, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Hey, Jeremy! I’ve seen people host them on their website with just a simple page filled with pictures. They’d have a link on the front page of their website pointing to it. However, we like to promote our Facebook page, so we tell everyone to find them there.

  12. So I just saw this post and wanted to weigh in a little bit because my wife and I are not only church planters in New England but most of our sustenance comes from being photographers who own a professional photo booth.
    There are a ton of how-to’s online about creating a photo booth enclosure that utilize a touch screen computer to activate the system and software that does the magic so you don’t have to have a photographer. Various software also include overlay features, social media sharing including instant uploads with your event hashtag and even texting the pic to the family. If you plan on regularly hosting a photo booth on special weekends (Easter, Christmas, Fall Kick-off, etc.) this is a great asset to possibly add to your creative team’s gear. There are professional level turn-key units which can also be purchased if your budget allows. They often include professional cameras, lighting, touch screen software already set up and professional printers that can spit out prints in 10 seconds or less.
    To see our enclosure and some of the gear we have you can hit up our photo booth website at http://www.rockyourbooth.com.
    If anyone would like a gear list from our setup or advice from our 5+ years doing this professionally, full-time, shoot me an email through the contact page on our church website.

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