How to Start a Photo Booth Business With Your Kids

Do your kids like taking silly photos?

Want to teach your kids the value of hard work and the basics of running a business?

Start a photo booth business with your kids!

There’s no better way to have quality family time and teach life lessons than to start a business as a family.

In this article we’ll show you how to start a photo booth business with your kids.

It doesn’t matter whether you make any money. The point is to do something different and have fun!

Start a Photo Booth business with your kids, including backdrops, costumes, props. Have fun while teaching the value of hard work and basics of entrepreneurship.

Why a Photo Booth?

Starting and running a business helps develop communication and math skills, and encourage creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. What’s more fun than taking silly pictures of yourself? Taking silly pictures of others and making someone’s day!

A photo booth is more than just a fun family project. It will also help you teach business and life skills to your kids and encourage conversations with the neighbors and each other.

With a photo booth, there’s lots of room to be creative with costumes, props and locations and have lots of contagious fun with a camera. You don’t need anything fancy. A point-and-shoot or a camera phone will work just fine.

Plus, you can earn a little money for a family treat or to donate to a good cause.

Try this photo booth entrepreneurial adventure with your kids. It’s a great way to work together and bring joy to people in your neighborhood.

The concept goes like this: grab your kids, a camera and some simple costumes and props. Then find (or create) a place where people would stop for a picture. Charge them $1 to email a photo, $2 to email a photo strip and $3 to mail them a print.

Note: These prices are just suggestions. Do what you think is best for your neighborhood. If you plan to donate the profits to a cause, you can charge a little more. Just let your customers know.

setting up photo booth

Make some money with a family photo booth!

Business opportunities for kids have changed a lot over the years. Today’s entrepreneurial kids have a lot more choices than delivering newspapers, mowing lawns or setting up a lemonade stand. This adventure blows those ideas out of the water!

Start with a family meeting. Discuss the photo booth idea with your kids. If they’re game, go for it!

Ready? Say “Cheese…”

You Will Need

For the backdrop:

  • Large sheet
  • PVC pipe in various sizes (optional)
  • Large clips (optional)
  • Large rolls of paper or several sheets of poster board and tape (optional)
  • Paint, crayons and markers (optional)

For costumes and props:

  • Cardboard and/or poster board
  • Wooden skewers
  • Dress-up clothes
  • Hats
  • Costume jewelry
  • Various toys

For the photo booth business:

  • Signs (construction paper or poster board; markers, crayons and/or paint)
  • Clipboard and customer order forms
  • Camera (smartphone or digital camera)
  • Tripod (optional but recommended)
  • Folding table and chair (optional)
  • Baskets or other containers for costumes and props (optional)
  • A cash box or bag and around $20 in change

Preparation Time

60+ minutes

  • Backdrop planning and materials – 20 minutes
  • Costume creation – 20 minutes
  • Setup – 20 minutes

Activity Time

1-2 hours, plus time to prep and send out photos

Location

Outdoors: driveway, neighborhood street corner, park, garage sale, farmers’ market, etc.

You can start with a simple photo booth and a few props in your driveway or front yard. Then get more elaborate each time you try it.

#1: Create Backdrop, Costumes and Props

Take as little or as much time as you want to make “accessories” for your photo booth.

Backdrops

For a basic backdrop, use a simple sheet draped over a fence, a branch or even your car.

If you want a more professional look that can be used anywhere, make a photo backdrop frame from PVC pipe and use large clamps to connect a sheet or blanket, colorful themed fabric or even wrapping paper to the backdrop frame.

diy backdrop

Make a simple backdrop frame from PVC pipe to use over and over again with different fabrics. Screenshot: happinessishomemade.net

You can have your kids paint or draw backgrounds on large rolls of art paper or connect several poster boards to create custom backdrops. You can also decorate the inside of a refrigerator box.

Costumes

For costumes, gather old dress-up clothes, funny hats and wigs, costume jewelry, silly sunglasses, etc… Don’t go overboard the first time you do your photo booth. Just put together a nice assortment of things that people can put on over their clothes. Note: You can always build on the number of costumes each time you set up shop.

kids in costumes

Kids love playing dress up! Image source: iStockPhoto.

Also, come up with some kooky handmade accessories.

Start with white cardboard. Note: You can also hit up your recycle bin for cardboard or paper that you can glue to a thick background, like an old cereal box.

Draw hats, mustaches, glasses and animal noses on the paper, then color them in and cut them out. Fasten these to skewers with tape so that people can hold them up to their faces.

making and finished accessories

Draw accessories on white cardboard, color them in, cut them out and attach to wooden skewers. The more creative, the better.

There’s no need for your costumes to be complicated. Just make them unique, so when people get the pictures of themselves, they remember what a fun time they had at your photo booth!

testing props

Test out the costumes and accessories after you make them.

For props, take large toys, beach balls or anything that you think would add extra oomph to the photos. This is especially important if you want to give your photo booth a theme.

Theme Costumes

For extra fun, try different themes. Come up with a list of ideas, search topics online and see what you can put together.

  • Oldies—Make sure to have poodle skirts for girls, t-shirts and leather jackets for the boys. Play 50s music in the background.
  • Superhero—Make masks and use fabric for capes. Print out words like “Pow!” and “Bam!” in a fun font and glue to skewers.
  • Animal Farm—Make silly animal hats. Don’t forget to paint a custom backdrop for this one: blue sky, green grass and maybe a silo or farm in the background.

Bonus: Make fun paper hats, balloon hats and costume jewelry to add to your stock of accessories! Perfect for a fun photo shoot.

#2: Pick a Place and Time

Keep your first photo booth really simple and see what kind of response you get from your kid-entrepreneurs, as well as from customers.

Set up shop in your driveway at a time when you are likely to get some foot traffic, Saturday and Sunday mornings are good, especially if you live in a neighborhood that has a lot of garage sales on the weekend. Many people are already driving or walking around with money in hand, ready to spend.

If you know someone who is having a garage sale, ask if you can set up shop. They’ll most likely say yes, in exchange for a few fun pictures of their own, of course.

Also, invite your friends and neighbors to come to your photo booth and get their pictures taken. That’s how we started. We didn’t get very much traffic, but we didn’t expect to. We just wanted to test it out.

setting up shop

Set up shop in your driveway. It’s the perfect way to get started.

After you test it out, look for other places to set up shop. Here are some options:

  • See if your neighborhood, school or community center has an annual rummage sale. Sign up now and be ready!
  • Set up at a farmers’ market or at one of your local parks. (Be sure to find out about the rules and fees ahead of time.)
  • Make a “pet photo booth” in front of a pet store (remember to ask for permission first). You can even donate the proceeds to a local animal shelter.

Note: Be aware of your local laws about doing business in public places. Get permission if you want to use someone’s private property.

#3: Set Up Your Booth

Once you’re on location, set up your signs, backdrop, costumes, table and chairs.

If you haven’t already done so, make signs announcing your photo booth. Use markers, crayons or paint on colored paper or poster board. For small signs, attach wooden skewers and stick them into the ground.

making and placing signs

Make signs to announce your photo booth. You may even want to put signs on the street with arrows directing people to your location.

Set up your backdrop and find a convenient place to display your costumes and props. A few large baskets will work nicely for costumes, accessories and props—one basket for each. Put your cardboard cutouts in a jar or vase on the signup table, so your customers can look through them easily.

Also, print out order forms and have several pens on hand.

homemade backdrop

A sheet hanging off the back of a car makes a great backdrop.

Once your booth is in order but before you open for business, walk your kids through an example of how things will work before they get their first customer.

Photo Booth Business Basics

Note: These are just suggestions. Come up with script notes that will work for you.

1. Greet your customers: “Welcome, would you like to take fun pictures in our photo booth today?”

2. Explain what you’re doing/how it works: “Choose a costume, we’ll take three pictures in our photo booth, and then send them to you via mail or email. You can take pictures alone or together. Here are our prices…”

3. Have them fill out an order form. Be sure to get complete information—name, email and mailing address, if applicable.

4. Consider starting an email list to let your customers know when and where they can visit you again. Ask them if they’d like to be added to the list.

5. Have your customers pay you.

After the photo shoot, thank your customers. Ask them to come again!

Bonus: If you have older kids who are social-media savvy, consider starting a Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and/or Twitter page to share your photo booth pics (be sure to ask permission first). Ask your customers to like or follow you.

Pretend you’re a customer and walk your kids through the process in advance to bring up their comfort level and identify any problems in advance. Tell them it’s okay to be nervous, and you’ll be there every step of the way.

The more relaxed and prepared they are, the more enjoyable the adventure will be for everyone: parents, kids and customers!

#4: Take Fun Photos

Use any type of camera to take the pictures. A simple point-and-shoot or camera phone will work really well for this type of pic. We used our iPhone camera to make things super-simple.

Make sure your kids take turns taking pictures. You may even want to take some, too! Show your kids how to “frame the shot,” so that they’ll look like real photo booth pictures.

girl with tripod

A tripod will help your kids frame the photos and hold the camera still to prevent blurred shots. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Take several pictures of each customer. Decide in advance what you think would be an appropriate number of pictures to take for each photo or photo strip purchased. For example, three or four for individual shots, five to seven for those who want a photo strip. That way, you set the rules up in advance. This is especially important if you have a line of customers waiting to get their pictures taken.

taking photo

Show your kids how to frame the photo so they take better pictures.

Set up a way to keep track of and match your pictures to your customers. You wouldn’t want them to get a picture of someone else in the mail! A simple way to do this is to take the first picture of your customer while they hold up the order form to the camera. This way, you can match faces to names on the order form.

#5: Send the Pictures

Once your customers choose the pictures they like, send them directly from your phone. This is another great reason to use a camera phone for your photo booth!

emailing photo

Send out individual customer photos from your smartphone.

To make an authentic-looking photo strip, take at least five pictures. Once you have “photo approval” from your customer, note the winners (or just delete the ones they don’t like), so you can create the strip and email it to them later.

How to Make Photo Strips:

For authentic-looking photo booth strips, use a simple web app like PicMonkey.

Go to the site and click on Collage.

It will ask you to upload your first photo for the collage.

Once you upload all of the photos for the collage, click the Layouts tab on the left.

photo strip

Create a photo strip just like a real photo booth.

Choose the Ducks in a Row option, then rotate it to vertical.

Once the photos are arranged, save a copy to your computer to email to your customer or send the file to be printed. Easy-peasy!

For customers who would like a print copy mailed to them, use a service like Snapfish or Shutterfly to order inexpensive prints online. Once the photos arrive, mail them to your customers with a little thank-you note.

Depending on the number of orders you get, this should only take 30 minutes to order the prints and another 30 minutes to mail them out. Note: Check how long the service takes to mail out photos ahead of time, so you can let your customers know when they can expect their photos.

signing up customer

Be sure to get your customer’s email address so you can send their pictures to them.

Work with your kids through every step of the process. It is, after all, a family adventure. If appropriate, let older kids take the lead. It’s a great way for them to develop organizational, communication and leadership skills.

Some Final Thoughts

Starting a photo booth business with your kids is a fun family activity. There are lots of opportunities to get creative and have a great time. It’s not hard and it can be educational. Your kids will learn how to confidently communicate with people, how to manage the money they earn and the importance of being diligent and finishing the work they set out to do.

When we do our family business ventures, sometimes we make money and sometimes we don’t. But regardless of the level of traditional “success,” we’ve played, laughed and had meaningful conversations with our kids. That’s the whole point!

We hope we’ve inspired you to start a business with your kids!

What do you think? Have you ever started a business with your kids? What sort of venture? A lemonade stand? A car wash? How’d it work out? Are you ready to try a family photo booth? What do you think kids can learn from going into business? Tell us about the businesses you’ve started—or want to start—in the comments. We’d love to see pictures too.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Natalie Hixson

Natalie is co-founder of Entrepreneur Kids Academy. She loves her family's business adventures. She inspires other parents and kids to start a business too! Other posts by »


  • Adriana

    What a great idea! Shared with my community, thank you!

  • Natalie Hixson

    Glad you enjoyed it Adriana! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks, Natalie! I love the idea of kids starting a business–it’s a great project for summer vacation.

  • http://www.entrepreneurkidsacademy.com Natalie Hixson

    We had a great time writing this post! Thank you!! Kids are full of fun and interesting ideas, it’s so neat to see what ideas they come up with! Hope this post inspires parents and kids to set out on a new business adventure! :)

  • Elena Halterman

    You can order prints on Shutterfly to be sent to someone else. I often order prints and have them sent directly to my grandmother! Saves the trouble of mailing it yourself and the cost of a stamp as well. Thank you for this wonderful article!!!

  • http://www.entrepreneurkidsacademy.com Natalie Hixson

    Yes! We have sent pictures through Snapfish before. It makes getting pictures sent so easy. Thank you for that tip. So glad you enjoyed it! :)

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