Is a 360 photo booth worth the investment for your rental business?
Or will the trend die down in the following years? 360 photo booth manufacturing is still a small industry. The few brands that do manufacture them are either expensive or have questionable product quality. We’ve reviewed and compared them all in this article — to help you get the best value for the price and your situation.
We’ve also answered the most burning questions rental companies have around 360 booths:
- Where are 360 photo booths most popular?
- Which is the best 360 photo booth to invest in?
- How much can you earn renting a 360 photo booth?
- Is it necessary to offer 360 booth rentals to survive in 2023?
- Will $1,000 get your foot in the door? What can you get with $7,000?
But before we go into all that, if you’re in the market for regular booths, then we highly recommend the Simple Booth HALO: the complete photo booth solution for rental companies.
First, what is a 360 photo booth?
Don’t let “photo” in the name fool you.
360 photo booths are actually video booths featuring a camera on a long metal arm that rotates around a platform where guests stand, pose, or dance. The end result is a video—either slow motion video, boomerang, or a regular video—that looks GLAM, like it was shot by a professional Hollywood studio.
360 booths are perfect for all event organizers looking to offer their guests a night they won’t soon forget, and will most likely share on social media.
360 booths are considered a novelty, yet they’ve existed for a while.
The first 360 booth was engineered in 2014 by OrcaVue, a photo booth manufacturing company.
We’ve had the honor to put Daniel Rosenberry, the CEO of OrcaVue and one of the original creators and largest manufacturers of 360 photo booths in the world, on the hot seat. Check out our interview, where he shares the story of how it all started, grew into the huge event trend it is today, and answers helpful questions about 360 photo booths.
Here’s a list of all the topics we covered and their timestamps:
- Where did 360 photo booths come from? [0:00]
- How did you build the first 360 photo booths? [0:45]
- How did OrcaVue grow from 2015-2022? [2:10]
- What does OrcaVue do now? [4:10]
- What differentiates your product from the competition? [5:15]
- When did you switch from events back to a focus on 360 photo booth manufacturing? [8:13]
- What’s your prediction for the future of 360 photo booths? [10:00]
- Are 360 photo booth sales still strong? [12:03]
- Is now the time to invest in a 360 photo booth? [12:52]
At first, the demand was low. It wasn’t until a fateful celebrity party on the brink of 2020 that this product finally took off.
Although the trend plateaued in August 2021, the hype train is still chugging along at high speed: every month, 85,000 Americans search “360 photo booths” on Google:
Moreover, a recent “360 photo booth” trend on TikTok amassed 75.9M views.
Given how they’ve rocked the industry, it’s safe to say that 360 photo booths won’t go away any time soon.
Yep, they’re here to stay as an expensive photo booth alternative for special occasions when event organizers want to crank up the wow factor to an 11.
If you’re a photo booth rental company, you should consider having at least one 360 booth in your arsenal for 2023.
Differences between 360 photo booths and regular photo booths
Unlike regular booths, 360 photo booths have moving parts.
This is, in fact, their biggest strength and weakness.
First, where there is movement, there are hazards. Events are filled with all sorts of activity. People are distracted, spirits are high, and—speaking of spirits—alcohol is frequently involved. Combine that with a spinning metal bar and an elevated platform that can be too small for the number of people wanting to stand on it simultaneously, and you have a recipe for disaster. People trip, bungle, or take a misstep. They are looking at their phones, get hit in the leg, arm, or head, and hurt themselves. Besides the obvious liability involved, forceful stops like these can fry the electric motor that powers the arm: ruining your equipment and your rental service for the night.
Second, 360 booths require additional equipment. Give regular photo booths a mounted ring light and a nice wall for a backdrop, and they’re good to go. But attach a ring light on a spinning arm, and you make it heavier and even more dangerous. Not to mention that a light in motion can throw an awkwardly moving shadow that doesn’t look good in videos—meaning a custom lighting setup is needed. On top of that, the 360 booth backdrop must be perfect all around the booth: which means investing in huge, expensive enclosures that cover your machine like a tent.
Third, complex setups and operators are necessary. Heavy platforms. Enclosures. Lights. Stanchions. Not only do you need to reserve at least a 10’x10’ space on the event floor, but at least one to two operators are required to stand by, control the motor arm, and troubleshoot problems throughout the night.
At the end of the day, 360 photo booths are a novelty for taking selfie videos that look simply amazing. They’re memorable and dynamic. Guests want to feel special, look good, and have fun at events, and 360 photo booths help do just that. It’s a movie-star photo booth experience.
It’s for this very reason that event organizers are ready to shell out two to three times the rental cost of a regular booth.
Is owning a 360 photo booth necessary for your photo booth rental business in 2023?
The short answer is no.
Although owning a 360 photo booth would be advantageous in 2023, your business won’t go under without it.
360 video booths are a high-ticket, niche offering. Sure, they’re often more exciting than regular booths, but they do come with significant risk and cost/space requirements that many event organizers don’t want to deal with.
Nevertheless, some do welcome this opportunity.
This is precisely why I suggest you invest in one and offer it as a high-ticket upsell: provided the investment won’t put your business in financial danger.
How much does it cost to buy a 360 photo booth?
The three primary differentiators for 360 photo booths at various price points are:
- Build quality
- Platform dimensions
- Movement mechanism
Spending a bit over $1,000 will get you a basic 27″, one-person stand with a rotating arm that must be swung by hand: like this one by WISVANAI, an Amazon photo booth brand.
If you’re looking for something sturdier at 34″ that can hold two to three people, this hand-driven Revospin will cost you $2,500; while the motorized OrcaVue Air (at comparable dimensions) will set you back by $3,500.
Finally, a fully decked out OrcaVue XL, “built to handle concert-scale crowds, multi-camera productions, and days of touring,” goes up to $7,890 with a 46” platform and four-to-five-person capacity.
(You can learn more about build and price comparisons at the end of the article.)
As a photo booth rental company, it’s a good idea to have insurance. Venues and event planners will often require it.
It’s an especially wise decision to get insurance given our discussion on 360 booth dangers. You’ll want to protect yourself from being financially liable for any of the following:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense and judgment
As for cost, here are some starter plans offered by RVNA, a photo booth insurance provider:
- General Liability: $99/Annually
- Employee Crime: $75/Annually
- Property & Equipment: $55/Annually
Of course, the final price will account for location, risk factors, your history and company size, equipment value, and more. Typically, $1M general liability coverage in the US will cost you between $400-$700 per year. [*]
Ongoing operations costs
360 video booths involve two primary ongoing costs. The first is attendant wages.
Unlike the self-service convenience of regular booths, 360 photo booths require one to two attendants provided by you: the rental company. According to Indeed, the average photo booth attendant wage in the United States is $17/hour.
The second cost is transportation and setup.
360 photo booths are big and bulky, so you’ll need a large vehicle like a van to get them to your event location: especially if you have additional equipment, which we’ll cover shortly.
Right off the bat, loading, unloading, and setting up a 360 photo booth will take you 2 hours (on average), which will immediately set you back $34 or $64: depending on the number of attendants.
There is also the tear-down time, which is likely to be another hour, and the return trip with the gear. As we head into 2023, the cost of mileage according to the IRS is 62.5 cents per mile. There is also the drive time, depending on whether you pay your attendant for it or not. The average driving speed—accounting for traffic and city driving conditions—is 13 miles/hour.
For an event that is 20 miles from your HQ ($25 in mileage cost), requires two attendants that are paid for travel time ($104), and event setup and teardown ($102), you will have a base cost of around $230 just to show up.
Is that worth it?
How much can you charge for a 360 photo booth rental?
How much you charge for a 360 photo booth rental depends on:
- Your location
- Day/time of the week
- Equipment and service quality
In general, you’ll pocket between $200 and $600 per rental hour (with most events spanning 2-6 hours).
Different places have varying levels of demand for 360 photo booths.
As price follows the supply-and-demand curve, it will change from location to location.
360 photo booths are currently most popular on the East Coast, specifically in the South (Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana) as well as in Delaware and Maryland.
And, perhaps not surprisingly, they are also prevalent in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to the viral videos, there’s plenty of them in Los Angeles as well, you know, where the celebrities are.
It’s safe to say this is where you’ll find the greatest demand for 360 booths—and, naturally, the most competition.
Time of the week
Some rental companies also adjust their pricing based on the time of the week.
Thus, 360 booth rentals are cheaper on weekdays and costlier on weekends when more events are happening and demand is higher.
Quality of equipment & services
Finally, the price you can command depends on your equipment and value-added services you can provide such as custom branding on videos, special effects, additional lighting, backdrop setups, green screen or enclosures, and props such as swords, wigs, oversized glasses, signs, and so on.
In the end, your pricing strategy is entirely up to you, the quality of your brand, and your ability to sell.
What is needed for a 360 photo booth?
Although base equipment consists of the platform with the spinning arm, a full 360 photo booth setup requires far more. If you want to get serious about your rental service, you’ll also need to invest in:
Let’s discuss each one and why it’s important for your business.
360 photo booth enclosures
Enclosures are like huge tents that surround the photo booth.
They help you control the backdrop through LED light strips installed in the inner part of the enclosure.
Enclosures are usually circular and measure 8’ in diameter and 9’ in height. Regarding material, they are often either inflatable, plastic, or steel-framed with curtains. Some also have a TV attached on the front to stream the camera feed and attract more eyeballs from afar.
Prices start at $2,000 and can go up to $4,500 for premium-quality enclosures.
Here are some examples:
360 photo booth cameras
Though it is possible to create a 360 booth with a DSLR camera, it’s not common practice.
Why? Because it requires you to mount both a DSLR camera and an iPad on the spinning arm. Weight at the top of the arm offsets the booth’s center of gravity and generates a lot of momentum.
Translation: this makes your booth more wobbly, dangerous, and fragile.
Curious to see a booth like this in action? Check out this video from dslrBooth:
Looks like something you’d want?
Here are our recommendations for the best DSLR photo booth cameras:
|Best All-Around Camera||Most Affordable Camera||Best Performance|
|Canon EOS M50 Mark II||Canon EOS Rebel T3||Nikon Z6|
|With its compact mirrorless design and quick autofocus, it offers the best performance for the price.||Although it has weaker autofocus and limited ISO capabilities, it has a proven track record of “Canon reliability” and is a great camera for under $300.||It’s more compact than traditional DSLR cameras and offers high-resolution shots.|
|Shop here||Shop here||Shop here|
360 photo booth apps
360 booths are typically run with a dedicated iPhone for the camera
It’s a simple solution. Most iPhones have a high-quality camera and don’t require photo booth apps to take amazing shots. However, if you want to take advantage of the following features, you’ll need to use a dedicated photo booth app:
- Background removal
- Animated overlays
- Gif generator
- Slow motion
- Motion ramping
- Intro & outro clips
- Filters, effects, and layouts
- Movement-triggered spinner
- Live view sharing and countdowns
- Sharing via email, SMS, or social media
Some of the most popular 360 degree photo booth apps are:
- Snappic: $19 to $69 (monthly subscription)
- Touchpix: $140 (monthly subscriptions)
- dslrBooth: $199 (one-time cost)
360 photo booth accessories
Accessories or any add-ons aren’t vital pieces of equipment.
But they can take your 360 video booth experience to the next level. These include:
- Stanchions for safety
- Light bars to look cool in the background
- Confetti canons or fog machines for special effects
Specifically, OrcaVue software supports a DMX protocol to automatically trigger these types of machines.
Is it hard to use a 360 photo booth?
Before you can successfully use a 360 degree photo booth, you’ll need to set up and learn to use:
- The photo booth app
- Video templates
Tech-savvy people will find it easy to get the system up and running after tinkering with the booth and equipment for an afternoon or two.
For anyone else out there, it might be a bit of a challenge; but don’t let that scare you! All photo booth apps have extensive libraries of tutorials, self-help articles, and customer support teams that can help you at every step.
Also, although photo booth operators need not be expert photographers, they should be familiar enough with camera and lighting technology to help guests enjoy the best possible experience and troubleshoot any problems that arise during the event.
Best 360 photo booths for rental companies in 2023
Despite current trends, 360 photo booths are still a relatively small slice of the photo booth industry.
There aren’t many brands manufacturing 360 booths that I could compare head-on.
With this in mind, this section highlights every brand currently selling 360 photo booths as of November 2022: comparing their prices, dimensions, mechanisms, and customer reviews.
Manual spin 360 photo booth: niche-use case
Because they lack an electric motor, manual booths are:
- more reliable
- less expensive
But they do need an operator to spin the arm.
In fact, there aren’t many 360 booths that don’t work with a motor, and the only two brands that manufacture manual booths are WISVANAI and Revospin.
|27″||Small||1||Revospin||42 lb Travel Case||5.0||$1,770|
|35″||Medium||2-3||Revospin||37 lb Travel Case||5.0||$2,530|
WISVANAI is an Amazon brand with 15 reviews distributed evenly between 1 and 5 stars (as of this writing). The brand’s biggest challenge seems to be shipping practices, as most reviewers complain their booth arrived with dents and scratches.
Revospin, on the other hand, is an established brand and one of two industry leaders in 360 photo booth manufacturing—alongside OrcaVue, the company that started it all.
Their builds are known for their high levels of sturdiness, American manufacturing, and premium price tag.
Motorized 360 photo booths
1. Lesser-quality Amazon brands (best for newbies)
There is very little differentiation between 360 booths on Amazon.
They all feature a motor that drives the arm, an attached ring light, and a phone holder: everything you need to start out!
I’ve split the table by dimension size and sorted all products by price (in ascending order).
|45.3″||Extra Large||4-5||MWE||Flight Case||4.8||$3,299|
Note: all of these come with mounted ring lights.
You can’t go wrong with any of the “small” model brands.
In the “small-medium” category, MWE is the winner, and I recommend their small-medium model to everyone starting out. This brand boasts the most reviews and the best rating, and the only cheaper option is DOEL: which has an aluminum box for transportation but also inferior reviews.
There’s not much to say about the large and extra-large categories, as they’re dominated entirely by MWE.
Premium-quality brands: best for serious photo booth rental companies
Looking for larger, sturdier motorized booths of premium quality?
You have OrcaVue, Dzentech, and Revospin to choose from.
|Dimension||Model||People||Brand||Drive||Case||Ring Light||LED Top||Ring Light||Price|
|33.5″||Medium||2-3||Dzentech||Motor||Hard Case (+$500)||No||+$500||No||$3500|
|46″||Extra Large||4-5||OrcaVue||Motor||Canvas Case||No||No||+$300||$4,090|
In my opinion, the best overall choice is any model by OrcaVue.
If appearance is important to you and you don’t mind spending an extra $2,000, you’ll love Revospin’s $5,600 model with an infinity LED cover.
A 360 photo booth from either of these two companies currently represents the best money can buy.
360 photo booths: final verdict
360 photo booths are a great addition to your existing product arsenal.
They can be rented at 2x to 3x the price of other booths, making them the perfect way to impress high-end clientele or upsell your existing customers.
If you’re starting out, dip your toes in the water with one of the Amazon brands: the small-medium MWE for one to two people is perfect for the job at $2,200. If that’s too risky for you and you’d like something simpler, safer, and more affordable, a small one-person manual booth from either WISVANAI (at $1,155) or the sturdier Revospin (at $1,770) are great options.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking to get serious and provide large event organizers with a premium experience, one of the motor-driven OrcaVue models will be your go-to.
360 photo booth alternatives
In the market for regular booths as well?
Then I recommend the Simple Booth HALO: our complete hardware and software solution.
HALO is a modern photo booth designed for businesses that want a low-maintenance, high-quality photo booth to delight their customers: helping them collect leads, create branded event galleries, and learn from robust analytics. All while entertaining their guests with a responsive app design, beautiful filters, a plethora of fun effects, and simplified social media sharing.
In many ways, HALO is the opposite of a 360 photo booth.
It doesn’t take up much space, it can be set up in 5 minutes, and doesn’t require an attendant or elaborate accessories. In other ways, HALO is just as good, or better than a 360 photo booth. It captures still photos, video clips, rebounds, and animated GIFs that participants love to share. People get their photos quickly and have a lot of fun.
In short, HALO offers a simple, high-quality experience you can trust for any next event.
Are you ready to invest in a 360 photo booth? Or have you decided to play it safe with Simple Booth HALO? It doesn’t matter what the future holds in store, your clients will always crave a booth like HALO—the build quality rock-solid, yet every line so perfectly curved, and incredibly versatile software. It leaves a lasting impression on anyone. Guaranteed 😉