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How To Build A Photo Booth: Part 4 - Photo Booth Printer

Welcome to the series of articles "How To Build A Photo Booth" written by the staff at Photo Booth Experts.  

These articles were not written in order to sell our products but rather they were written to give ideas and useful information to those looking to become more informed of certain details when building a photo booth yourself.

PLEASE NOTE! What you about to read is only our opinion (based on our own experience) of what we feel is the best approach towards building and designing a photo booth for party rentals.  Remember that the choice of structure design, components and software is ultimately up to you.

To build the photo booth You need the following components:
Photobooth Computer

Photo Booth Software

Photobooth Camera

Photo Booth Printer

Photobooth Monitor

Photobooth Lighting

Photo Booth Enclosure

Photo Booth Accessories
Photo Booth Printer

So the question is what printer is best for use in the photo booth?

Important criteria for the Photo Booth printer:

     Photo Booth printer image quality
     Photo Booth printer speed

     Photo Booth printer cost per print

     Photo Booth printer durability

     Photo Booth printer media supply availability

     Photo Booth Printer price

    2x6 printing option (4x6 cut in half)

    Protective transportation case availability

First of all let’s go ahead and put the inkjet printer question to rest right now.  We do not recommend ink jet printers.  Inkjet printers have proven to be unpractical for Photo Booth applications because they are slow and very expensive when it comes to paper and ink. 


The best printer choice for the Photo Booth is the Dye Sublimation printer and the following will cover the reasons why:
  • Outstanding quality
  • Very affordable cost per print
  • Fast printing (some printers could print 4x6 in about 8 sec)
  • Amount of prints per load (depends on the printer model from 300 to 700 per load)
  • Durability

    2x6 print option
One important detail about photo booth printers. In our opinion the printer must have a 2x6 print option (4x6 cut in half). This is very helpful when photo strips are the choice of your client for the photo booth rental event. Technically the traditional photo strip is what people expect from the photo booth.   Instead of manually cutting the 4x6 which will take time and the manual cut will not be perfect. If your printer will cut 4x6 for you it will be absolutely precise and will save you a lot of time and extra work.


There are a few different brands that have become somewhat of a standard for photo booth applications. We have personally road tested the following printers:   
Shinko S2145, 
HiTi 510L, 
HiTi 510S,  
Sinfonia Shinko CS2 (CHC-S6145), 
Mitsubishi CP-D70DW, 
Mitsubishi CP-9550DW, 
Sony UPDR 200, 
Sony UP-CX1, 
Sony UP-DR150. 

All of them delivered outstanding image quality, affordable per print cost, fast printing speed, durability, and the 2x6 printing option (4x6 cut in half). So it is safe to say that any of these printers will make your photo booth printed images a high quality product.

When you are choosing a printer for your photo booth, the choice of which model to purchase will mostly depend on your photo booth enclosure design.  Each printer will have different dimensions, weight, and print delivery system (paper tray).  Based on your photo booth enclosure design you will have to plan how the printed pictures will be delivered to the customer.

For example:  We wanted the pictures to print inside the photo booth. To achieve that  we designed a custom aluminum paper tray so the printed pictures will fall at a certain angle and drop into a picture box that has been mounted into our photobooth enclosure.  

The pictures delivery system you are planning to use most likely will impact your choice of photobooth printer.


Printer Prices

The prices for a NEW, high quality Dye Sub printers range from: $750 - $1500
Preferably you will want to purchase your printer new. However there are also second hand/refurbished Dye Sub printers available. We started our photo booth business by using refurbished Sony UPDR 150 printers. We bought some of them on Ebay and others we purchased from our printer supply company. As we continue to grow we have started to buy NEW printers only. 

Protect your Photobooth Printer

It is imperative to protect your printer and all your other devices as well. When choosing your printer you should ask yourself how you are going to be transporting the printer.  This is very important because your printer is the most expensive and somewhat irreplaceable component of your Photo Booth. Unless you have a back up printer (which is ideal) you must take all necessary precautions to make sure it will work when you arrived to your photo booth rental.  

Search around and get yourself a hard transportation case. These cases can be expensive but it is 100% worth it to spend the extra money while at the same time giving yourself peace of mind knowing that your printer is protected. 

TIP: always transport your media (paper and ribbon) separately from the printer.  

Where to buy your Photo Booth Printer

When looking for a printer you should start your search online.  Look for a good price and make sure you find a reliable source for your media supply.  We recommend buying from companies with good reputations in the business.  Ultimately the choice is yours.
Good luck and remember to never skimp when it comes to choosing and protecting a printer for your photo booth.

We hope this article will help you to make sound decisions when it comes to buying and using printer for your Photo Booth. 

This article has been written by the staff at Photo Booth Experts
The series of articles "How To Build A Photo Booth" for DIY Photobooth builders consist of:

How To Build A Photo Booth: Part 1 - Computer for the Photo Booth
How To Build A Photo Booth: Part 2 - Photo Booth Software
How To Build A Photo Booth: Part 3 - Photo booth Camera
How To Build A Photo Booth: Part 4 - Photo Booth Printer
How To Build A Photo Booth: Part 5 - Photobooth Monitor
How To Build A Photo Booth: Part 6 - Photobooth Lighting
How To Build A Photo Booth: Part 7 - Photo Booth Enclosure
How To Build A Photo Booth: Part 8 - Photo Booth Accessories

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