Most Cost-Efficient Photo Booths for Trade Shows

by Nicholas Rhodes
Last Updated on August 24, 2023
Most cost-efficient photo booths for trade shows

A whopping 13,000 trade shows occur in the U.S. every year. And that's only 40% of the global annual trade show total. So you should have little to no trouble finding a trade show when you need one.

You'll most likely find putting together the best trade show booth possible a much more difficult task. There are probably more options for booths than there are stars in the sky. And you'll likely find that many of them aren't as cost-effective as you would like.

But there's no need to run around screaming and throwing things when someone at your small business brings up trade show booths. The article will tell you all about a booth idea that everyone can enjoy: photo booths.

Read on to learn about some of the most cost-effective photo booth options for trade show booths.

Trade show floor with various booths showcasing products, with a photo booth being the center of attention and attracting crowds of attendees.
Attendees gather around a photo booth attraction at a trade show, surrounded by various booths showcasing products and services.

What Is a Trade Show?

To defeat your enemy, you have to know your enemy. In this case, your business's enemy is the trade show.

Maybe your business has never been to a trade show before. If so, this event's mysteriousness may make it seem as tall and imposing as Mt. Everest. In actuality, the concept is fairly simple.


trade show (also called a trade fair or exhibition) is a type of event that often features a set number of booths. The people who run booths are representatives of businesses. They market to event attendees.

Event attendees can wander around looking at these booths for as long as the event lasts (usually a few days) if they want to. They may or may not be able to visit every booth during this time, though. Seriously, some of these trade shows seem to have more trade booths than there are drops in the Pacific Ocean.


Trade show venues can vary based on their size, importance, and where the events are being held. The construction trade show equivalent to the Superbowl will probably stuff a massive mansion-sized convention center to the brim. You're also more likely to find such a venue in a large city like Atlanta or Georgia.

Things will work differently in cute little American towns. These places won't have the luxury of behemoth venues. Thus, the trade shows in these towns will take place in hotels or arenas.


Since most trade shows take place indoors, no one has to worry about fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk summer temperatures or freeze-boiling-water-in-seconds winter temperatures. So trade shows take place throughout the year.

But most industries have separate trade show seasons. For example, the UK fashion industry has two fair seasons that take place in January/February and July/August. There are probably good reasons why trade show organizers choose these times for their trade shows.


Organizers usually theme their trade shows around particular industries such as technology or construction. If you can name a large enough industry, it most likely has a trade show. The organizers will usually only allow businesses that relate to the industry theme to have a trade show.

It may be possible for businesses that do not relate to the event's theme to get booths. However, they're unlikely to win over guests in this way. Imagine how you'd feel if you went into an ice cream parlor and found you could only order pizza.


Exhibitioners first have to rent the booth space. For the more popular trade shows, this can get incredibly pricey. They may have to pay a thousand dollars or more.

Then there are the other costs. Businesses need to design and produce their display space. They also need to create samples, promotional items, and other marketing materials.

Then they need to ship everything to the event space and get it set up. In addition, their staff will have travel and accommodation needs. This is why your business must get the most out of its trade show booth.

Trade show booth creatively designed to integrate a photo booth into the display, highlighting the cost-efficient nature of the setup.
A trade show booth creatively designed to integrate a photo booth into the display, showcasing the cost-efficient and attractive setup.

Why Are Trade Shows Important?

Despite the high prices, research involved, and intense competition, businesses keep attending trade shows. Why is this so? Because the benefits companies can gain from them are always worth the effort.

Generate Leads

Most businesses go to trade shows to sell things. Luckily, many attendees go to trade shows to buy things. So your business and some attendees can match as perfectly as peanut butter and jelly.

There's Still Competition

Don't get too confident, though. You still need to convince the other party that your product or service meets their needs. In addition, you'll likely be competing against several other businesses that have products similar to yours.

Find a Target Audience

Quick, picture your ideal customer in your head! Do you only see an endless black void? Then your business probably needs to attend a trade show to find out about its target audience.

Track Details

Along with other industry professionals, you'll also run into a lot of potential customers. People are unlikely to approach your booth unless they have a genuine interest in your product or service. If you keep track of their ages, genders, ethnicities, etc., you're sure to find a pattern.

Do It Subtly

Make sure to ask your employees to record these details subtly, though. A lot of people probably won't like it if your employees stare at them intensely. They probably also won't like having their faces photographed or recorded.

Learn What Your Audience Likes

Your potential customers can give you a ton of information about what's right or wrong with your products or services. They'll also give you insight into experiences they've had with similar products. Listen carefully!

Listen to Complaints

For example, imagine that you're selling software. People will probably come up and complain about bugs they've run into, issues they have with the design, and so on. You can write these complaints down and use them to update your software later.

Update Product

Other times, people will talk about problems they've had with software similar to yours. They'll likely ask if your software has something the other software is missing. Make sure to include the features they are asking about in future updates.

Let the Audience See You

You could spend millions putting your ads up on some big-time TV networks. Most of the viewers there likely won't be in your target audience. They also probably won't appreciate that your ad interrupted their favorite television show.

They Come to You

A more cost-effective option may be to spend thousands of dollars on a trade show booth. Customers who come to your booth will have come there specifically to find products like yours.

Both ads and booths allow customers to learn about your business name and offerings. But only the latter one lets your customers come to you. They're more likely to leave your booth with a positive opinion of your business.

They'll Remember You

When customers run into problems related to your product or service, they'll think of you. You may then make a sale.

Company's success story, showing how their budget-friendly photo booth trade show setup helped them generate leads and boost sales.
An illustration of a company's success story, showing how their budget-friendly photo booth trade show setup helped them generate leads and boost sales, with graphics, charts, and images showcasing the success of their strategy.

Why Do Photo Booths Make Cost-Effective Trade Show Booths?

Of course, without the perfect trade show booth, your business may walk away with hands emptier than the void of space. A trade show photo booth can be that perfect booth. Below you'll find some ways that photobooths can give you more for less.

Venue Flexible

Did a trade show manager somehow move the whole trade show to a field full of rocks? Perhaps an outdoor trade show got unexpectedly rained on. If so, you'll see a lot of businesses struggling to make their displays look great in the face of the elements and surroundings.

Works Great Everywhere

You won't struggle with these issues when you use certain photobooths. Most options will function and look great everywhere. The weather and the venue don't matter.

So, if you get a photo booth, your business won't end up getting fewer visitors in the face of unexpected changes. Thus, there's less of a possibility that you'll get far less back from the time, effort, and funds you put into your trade show booth.

Booth Flexible

On a related note, photo booths also work with all types of booths. Some businesses may struggle to fit their ideas for a giant inflatable mascot, an entire bedroom setup, etc. into a small inline booth. Others may confuse and thus drive away potential customers by putting a smaller booth on a large island or peninsula booth.

Works For All Booths

There are options for photo booths that can fit in all trade show booths. Most photo booths only require a camera device and the business can decorate the rest of the booth however they wish. Many photo booth designs can get away with a rather minimal backdrop that won't cost much to set up.

Works Without Booths

In addition, some photo booths don't require a booth at all. Some photo booth systems have mobile cameras and/or virtual options. One of your team members can walk around taking photos and handing out business.

This way your business can maximize its trade show audience engagement by going beyond its booth. It's far more cost-effective than trade show marketing ideas that are limited to the booth areas.

Theme Flexible

As mentioned, you want your booth to fit in with the theme of the trade show. Else event attendees will feel like they've walked into a Mexican restaurant and found it only serves sushi.

Multiple Industry Businesses

But some businesses can sell their services to a wide variety of industries. For example, photographers can take marketing photos of an endless amount of products. It doesn't matter if they're baby pacifiers or statues of cows, good photographers can make any product look good.

Fit It In

But visitors may have trouble fitting certain businesses in with certain industries. The right photo booth setup can make any business feel like they're part of an industry. Physical and virtual backgrounds that match the event's theme make the photo booths fit in better.

Collect Marketing Information

How can your team members take down information without freaking out the guests? You may be thinking that you'll have to hide one of the team members under the table. But with photo booths, you may not even have to have a team member taking down information at all.

Image Information

You can see the faces of anyone who uses your photo booth. Thus, you can use these images to find the ages, ethnicities, and other aspects of people who visited your trade show booth. You can use this information to find a target audience for your product and/or service.

Contact Information

In addition, to get their photos, your guests will usually need to give you email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, etc. You can use this information to set up some email or text marketing plans with these customers.

Customers Market For You

Photo booths won't just help you market to customers. They will also let customers market your business for you. The photos that the customers take can end up going all the way to Timbuktu and/or the digital equivalent of this city.

Social Media

The whole point of social media is to post life events. And trade shows are life events. So event attendees will likely talk about the fun time they had at a trade show.

To make their posts more believable, they'll likely have to post a picture or two ("pics or it didn't happen" as the old saying goes). If you make your photo booth look appealing and/or use a great camera device, they'll likely choose your photo on their social media post.

This is a great free marketing strategy. The people that see this person's post will learn about your business through your branded background and/or frame. They may then seek out your business when they need your product and/or service.

Printed Photos

A similar effect can happen when your guests put their photos in a frame, stick it on the fridge, etc. Any family members and/or friends who see the photo will learn about your business. Then they may seek out your business when they need it.

You may not get as much exposure with printed pictures. You may end up with a guest that has more friends and family members than the number of drops of water in Lake Superior, but that's rare. Still, you'll get free marketing for just the price of the photo booth.

Make Your Brand Fun

For most businesses at trade shows, fun is the last thing on their list of priorities. Most of the time, this is because seriousness works best for their branding. It would be weird to have a face painting service at a booth that's selling software.

Fun But Serious

But photo booths can be fun without being silly or unrelated to your brand. As long as you theme your photo booth right, it shouldn't take away from the more serious aspects of your brand.

Positive Opinions

In addition, attendees will have a more positive opinion of your business. They'll remember the fun time they had at your photo booth and remember that your business was the one that organized it. So they'll associate your business with fun.

Comparison between a traditional expensive trade show booth and a budget-friendly booth featuring a photo booth as the main attraction.
A comparison between a traditional expensive trade show booth and a budget-friendly booth featuring a photo booth as the main attraction, highlighting the benefits of the cost-efficient setup.

Most Cost-Efficient Photo Booths For Trade Shows

Of course, some types of photo booths are more cost-effective than others. If you want the best bang for your buck, try the following trade show photo booth ideas in the list below.

Roving Photographers

Your guests don't have to wait until they get to your booth to show that they're having fun. Your photographers can capture them in the exact place where they're having fun. This can happen when they're eating, playing a game, crying over that one CEO they consider a celebrity, etc.

Cover More Ground

With this method, your business can cover far more ground than it can with just a single booth. This means that you can get a mountain-sized amount of customer information. You can also get hundreds of customers to take photos that they will carry out to all the obscure corners of the internet.

A Regular Camera?

You can use a regular camera for this, but this camera will make it harder for you to upload photos to an online photo gallery. Also, your guests won't have the benefits of filters and fun augmented reality props.

Our FotoRover

Our FotoRover, on the other hand, has these mentioned features. It has an online gallery and will add props and filters to your photos.

In addition, the FotoRover won't just take photos. Your guests will also have the option to shoot boomerangs. These are short videos that move backward and forward.

Simple Background Photo Booth

Most of the other businesses will be setting up highly elaborate pop-ups and backdrops. Others will have branded canopies, shelving, etc. These types of setups can cost a major amount of moolah.

You can use elaborate pop-ups and backdrops for your photo booth's background if you wish. But this isn't necessary. You can make your photo booth far more cost-effective with a simpler background.

Green Screen

With a green screen, the background of your photos can become anything. You can take your guests anywhere from the Swedish Alps to the surface of the Moon. But ideally, you'll probably have a few branded backdrops for your guests to choose from.

Still, you won't have to spend a truckload of money on your background and the guests will still feel satisfied. In addition, that bright green color will be very easy for your guests to see from the aisles of the trade show.

Some guests may even know how a green screen works. They'll go to your booth expecting a photo and/or video booth.

Simple Background

Are you not comfortable working with a green screen? We can provide an attendant that helps you work with the technology. But if you'd rather have a static, cost-effective photo booth background, there are plenty of ideas you can use.

Consider getting a large piece of fabric that's related to your business. This can be something that you pick up from a thrift store. Maybe one of your workers can let you borrow a tablecloth or bedsheet for the event.

Our FutureFoto Tool

If you need a good camera tool for an in-person photo booth, try our FutureFoto tool. It offers most of the same features as the FotoRover. The only real difference is that it isn't as mobile.

Ship and Deploy Photo Booth Service

Is the thought of getting our photo booth tools from one place to another filling you up with dread? Perhaps you feel like you might break them on the journey from your business to the trade show. Or maybe you don't want to pay any extra shipping fees.

We Ship Anywhere

You don't have to worry. We can ship our photo booth tools to every city and state in the country. In addition, we'll ship it in pieces in a perfectly cushioned and protected box.

Setup Is Easy

It also won't be as hard to set up as you may think. It should only take you about 3-5 minutes to get your booth fully set up. Also, if you hire an attendant, they can help you if you have any trouble setting up the booth.

Attendee interacting with a photo booth at a trade show, with different product images or branding elements incorporated into the booth's photo backgrounds.
An attendee interacts with a branded photo booth at a trade show, with different product images or branding elements incorporated into the booth's photo backgrounds.

Try Our Photo Booths

In sum, photo booths aren't just a fun activity your guests can participate in during a trade show. They can also be a highly effective trade show marketing tool. You can get a lot of information about your guests, your guests can help you market your business, and your business will look better in the eyes of your guests.

Also, if you're looking for options for trade show photo booths, try our products. We have a wide variety of both in-person and virtual photo booths. These can easily make your business the life of the party at any event.

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