Professional and DIY photobooth options on Martha’s Vineyard

Wedding guests have fun with photobooths. — Photo courtesy of David Welch

Photobooths are a recent wedding trend that has really taken hold.

The idea is to provide an area – either curtained off or not – where guests can pose for do-it-yourself photos. Some use the opportunity to take glamour shots while dressed in their best, but most opt for silly poses using costumes and props. The concept allows for an entertainment option for kids and adults alike, wonderful souvenirs for guests, and fun photo mementos for the wedding couple.

You can set up your own photo booth or DIY photo area pretty easily. All you need is a camera on a tripod, lights, a remote shutter device, and some props. However, there are a number of local photographers who can include the service as part of a wedding package, and some offer additional options like on-the-spot prints and slide-show monitors.

Tim Correira is one such professional who has a sophisticated set up available. He can set up a private photobooth, but he generally recommends an open area with a backdrop and lights. “A more open area – a photobooth without the walls – can be tailored to fit seamlessly into someone’s wedding.”

The advantages are laid out to prospective parties: “With an open area you can fit a group of 20 people if you want. To enclose it, you can only fit three or four people. You can’t see what other people are doing on the inside. Having an audience turns it into a group activity.”

Mr. Correira grew up on the Island and worked as a staff photographer at the Boston Herald and for Gatehouse Media, before starting his own business. He is based in Arlington but spends a good part of the summer here at his parents’ home. He notes that he does up to 30 weddings a year, about 20 of them on Island.

He started offering the photobooth option last year at the request of a bride and says that he is currently including the service in a third to a half of all weddings he does. He has also set up a photobooth at other types of events, including Christmas parties, birthday parties, and proms. His fee for this service – $950 – includes an operator. “You want to make sure it’s running smoothly the whole night, that the printer has ink. Sometimes people are scared to use it. Having someone on hand encourages people to try it out.”

As well as on-the-spot prints, Mr. Correira sets up a monitor that displays a slideshow of all the pictures. This encourages guests to get in on the fun and often attracts a lot of attention. “I’ve been at weddings where the dance floor was empty because eveyone was hanging out at the photobooth,” he recalls. People also like to post their pictures immediately to Facebook.

Props in Mr. Correira’s arsenal include hats, fake mustaches, and a large picture frame. However, he notes that most guests don’t need any help getting creative with shots. After a few drinks people are more inclined to get a little goofy – mugging, holding up signs, forming human pyramids and, at times, even mooning the camera.

“Sometimes it gets a little…crossing the line,” says Mr. Correira. That can especially be a problem if people can enjoy the privacy of an enclosed area. “People sometimes forget that the pictures will be on public display,” he says, pointing out another advantage of an open arrangement.

Mr. Correira notes that couples use the photos in a variety of ways. Some have guests sign them and create a photo guest book from people’s favorites. Others provide simple frames with the date and the couple’s name so that guests have a personalized wedding memento to take home.

Photographer David Welch of Edgartown provides a similar service he calls the Red Carpet. He notes that the trend took off around 2006, and he’s been offering the service for the last few years. His set up includes two standing high power strobes, umbrellas, and props. He either sets up a DIY arrangement or does the photos himself – taking a break from dance floor photos now and then. Mr. Welch is not, as of now, offering on-the-spot prints or a monitor. His photobooth fee is $500.

“It’s interesting how the evening can progress,” he says. “People do some pretty random things. It’s funny to see how people can get into character.” He notes that there’s generally a lot of groping, especially in the later, alcohol-fueled hours.

Others take the photo op set up a little more seriously. Says Mr. Welch, “People almost feel like it’s kind of a glamour moment for them. The set up is kind of fun. It’s just a fun thing to see all the lights and the professional cameras.” He adds, “I encourage them to get into character and pretty soon everyone wants to one up each other.”

Tim Correira Photography:; 508-265-8163;

David Welch Photography:; 508-939-3438.