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What is a Virtual Photo Booth?

Introduction

Virtual Photo Booths are the unexpected but totally appreciated children of the Coronavirus pandemic and the photo booth industry. Nobody planned for them and we were filled with mixed emotions when we heard the news. Some were confused and wondering how to make it work…  but they’re here now and we’re in love!  Heck, we can’t get enough!

If you’re not in the know, there are two types of virtual photo booths. There are Web Based Virtual Photo Booths and Text Based Virtual Photo Booths.

A web based Virtual Photo Booth runs from your web browser. You go to a website where your photo is captured to create a photo, gif or burst/boomerang. Text Based Photo Booths operate via text messaging. Your event guests will text their photo to a predefined number. Once the photo is received, the Text Based Photo Booth will place the photo into a customized/branded photo frame and send it back to your guest via text.They both fundamentally do the same thing, but in different ways. 

The virtual photo booth you choose will be based on what features you want and how much you want to spend. If you’re getting an aneurysm trying to understand things so far, you’re thinking about it way too hard. Take a sip of your favorite big people drink (Hazel Baden on the rocks for me please) and relax as I break it down. 

Web Based Virtual Photo Booths

A web based virtual photo booth, like PicPic Social, is more like your traditional iPad or DSLR photo booth. You can use them to capture photos and create gifs & burst/boomerangs. If the guest does not want to take a photo, many web based virtual photo booths will allow the guest to upload photos directly from their device. Some web based virtual photo booths (PicPic Social) have AI background removal that let you change the background of a photo without green screen.

As stated, a web based virtual photo booth runs from your web browser.  Because a Web Based Virtual Photo Booth runs from a web browser, it will work on practically any device that can access the internet. A web based virtual photo booth can work on your phone, a tablet (iPad or Android) or from a computer.

The only exception might be that Nokia you’ve been holding on to to play snake. 

When you use a service like PicPic Social to create your virtual photo booth event, you will be given a link so you and your client/event guests can access the virtual photo booth and take photos. This link can be distributed to event guests via email, text, by placing the link on a web site or via QR Code.

Text Based Virtual Photo Booths

Text Based Virtual Photo Booths work via text messaging, so they can only run on devices that can send and receive picture messages. You send a photo to a predefined number. When the photo is received by the number, the text based virtual photo booth will process the image,  apply a branded frame to the photo and a final composite will be created and sent back to the guest via text.

As of this writing, text based virtual photo booths cannot create gifs or bursts, but some do have background removal. Also, text based virtual photo booths do not have the ability to apply props or apply stickers. It’s not hard to imagine text based virtual photo booths advancing to the point where you can create gifs, but I can’t imagine it being a better experience than using a web based virtual photo booth.

Which Virtual Photo Booth is Right for Me?

Ahh, the million dollar question. It’s not a simple answer… there are a lot of factors that go into this. 

To better answer this question, check out the next guide in this series. Web Based Virtual Photo Booth vs Text Based Virtual Photo Booth. Onwards!