Darkroom Booth Review

Darkroom Software has made reputation for providing top notch event software for photographers all over the world.  Darkroom Core and Professional provide event photographers with both onsite and drop-ship fulfillment options.  Photo Booth software is a new area for the company.  If you have ever been on a Carnival Cruise and had your picture taken, then reviewed the image and purchased it, then you saw Darkroom Core or Professional in use.

I have used a competing product in all of our photo booths for almost a year.  The competing product is solid and reliable, but lacks a good user interface.  Often while creating photo booth strips or trying to set up start screens, I would say in my own mind “if only someone would create an easy to use photo booth software, they would be a hit”.  I had no idea that Darkroom Booth was in the works.

The Darkroom Booth software user interface mirrors the Darkroom Core and Professional presentations.  The user Interface is easy to navigate and intuitive.  The tabs across the top of the screen are easy to move through. A user of Darkroom Core or Professional user can get up to speed with a very small learning curve.

Most photo booth software requires that you are familiar with Photoshop.  Manipulation of the images is expected to be in Photoshop.  Darkroom is a bit different.  Darkroom allows you to literally drag and drop almost anything.  I have taken clip-art and created photo booth layouts and welcome screens in minutes.  I have not had to go to Photoshop at all.  The competitors work well, but to be creative you must have a good Photoshop skill set with the competing products.  My 14 year old can create great strips in Darkroom Booth.

Green Sceen is the hottest option in the photo booth business.  Darkroom Booth comes ready to employ a Green Screen.  Simply select “Chroma Key” in the images option and you are ready to shoot to Green Screen.  Video is also an option.  The video option works well and smoothly.  Video clips of up to 60 seconds can be produced with the software.

Every new piece of software has growing pains.  Darkroom Booth was no different in the early releases.  Where they are different is in that the customer care is excellent.  I feel like I have a personal customer care associate (Wally at Darkroom).  I had one of the first copies of Darkroom Booth.  When small issues such as smoothness of it’s Liveview appeared, I called Darkroom and made a report.  Within 5 days, a full update was issued with the Liveview smoothness issue resolved.  I even got a follow-up call to tell me that an update was available.  Now that is customer service.

If you want to take the customer care one step further, Wally at Darkroom actually did a takeover of my computer and gave me a full tutorial of how to use the software.  I could not believe that.  They score a 100 on the customer care side.  Additionally, a number of informative tutorials are posted by the company online.

What have we had problems with?  The command of Ctrl R is supposed to reprint.  If you have a new trainee (we did) and they hold the Ctrl R down and continue to hold it, it will reprint numerous copies.  I am going to call that user error.  One Ctrl R for each reprint is the thing to remember.  Other reprint options are available also.

Our company, MidAtlantic Photo Booths, has 4 photo booths in our company.  The number of licenses that a piece of software provides is important to our company.  A purchase of Darkroom Booth issues the purchaser 2 licenses.  The computer must be connected to the Internet in order activate or deactivate the licenses.  A number of photo booths can share a single license purchase.  We could probably juggle 6 booths on 2 licenses if we had to.

A Darkroom Booth license can be purchased from the Darkroom Software Website for $295.  If you are in the market for a quality printer, consider pairing your Darkroom Booth software with a printer from Imaging Spectrum.  Imaging Spectrum will bundle a discount for the purchase of any of the Darkroom software with the purchase of most printers.

With all of our photo booths, we have conducted over 40 events with Darkroom Booth.  We feel that we have enough field testing experience to say that we highly recommend Darkroom Booth for your photo booth business.

 

Photo Booth Printer DNP DSRX1 Review

The DNP DSRX1 printer has been the workhorse of our photo booth company for over a year now.  We thought that it was a good time to post a long term review of the printer in an effort to help others make their purchase decision.  When we purchased the DNP, we had to take a leap of faith based on recommendations from others on which printer would work best for our event photography.  We have used a number of printers in the past 13 years for our event photography but the DNP has been the most professional level unit that we have purchased.

We purchased our DNP from Imaging Spectrum.  Steve Behen was and continues to be our salesman.  Steve had a lot of brands available but recommended the DNP.  We placed our first order for 1 unit for our Delaware photo booth and it arrived a few days later.  We were able to add a 3 year extended warranty to unit for an additional $50.  We felt really good about this unit right out of the box.  After a year of ownership, we still feel good about the printer and particularly feel good about the customer service that Steve Behen has offered.  Believe it or not, he calls us every few months to make sure the printer is working well in our booth.

The instructions on how to use the unit was in print and on YouTube.  We quickly learned to load the paper and load the sub-dye ribbon.  I expected it to be messy or troublesome but it proved to be very easy to load.  Once we loaded the printer, we started to run sample sessions on our photo booth.  It worked flawlessly.  We discovered after running a few session that the printer has a paper cutter embedded in the printer to cut to the traditional 4 x 6 photo strip size.  The cutter is turned off via the printer driver software.  This is a huge time saver at an event.

The prints come out of the printer cut in less than 10 seconds after the booth session ends.  The prints are dry and have a perfect color match.  We had only 1 paper jam after several hundred photo booth sessions.  The paper jam is best described as a paper crinkle.  We cut the paper and reloaded the paper and were back in business in about 5 minutes.  To be clear, 1 jam in a year is not bad at all.

There are 700 prints on a roll and 2 rolls in a box of supplies for a total of 1400 prints.  Cut to 2 x 6, that yields a lot of prints.  A box of paper and dye ribbon is less than $180.  Low operating expenses are very important to a photo booth operator.  The DNP DSRX has been the most reliable printer that we have ever purchased with no requirements to service it during the year.

The true test of if a product is just good or truly great is your future buying decisions.  A good product is recommended to others.  A great product is a product that you would purchase again.  For our Maryland booth, we purchased another DNP DSRX1 printer just a few months later.  Still months later, we purchased a 3rd DNP DSRX1 printer for our North Carolina booth.  To date, all 3 printers have been “bullet proof”.  As we continue to grow our photo booth and event photography business, our first choice will be DNP and Imaging Spectrum.