How do you deal with children?

So most events (weddings) have little children 2-10 years old, and it seems about 99.9% of the time, the parents just let them run around unattended! Well guess what, we end up babysitting these kiddos, and all they want to do is get in the booth, press the button and get out before the pictures are done. So now got one shot of the kid, and then 2-3 blank pictures.
I would say a majority of my photos at events are 50% kids, running in and out of the booth, throwing props around, playing with the props, breaking the props, etc... This last weekend I multiple kids tugging and pulling on the props, getting them tangled up and breaking, with the parents standing right next to them....What did the parents do? put the broken prop back in the box, like nothing happened!
My agreement says if props are broken the client is liable to pay for them, but when the prop only costs me a $1 or 2 I don't charge them for it.
How do you deal with something like this? What steps have you taken to keep the kids out of the booth, or under control? How do you tell the parent or client politely that the kids need to be more careful or under supervision?


  • 10 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • LorneChesal
    IMO, a problem without a solution.

    IMO, *any* action on your part runs the risk of offending someone's sense of entitlement. There are those who will suggest you scold them or find a parent to hold accountable, but I disagree.

    Ours is seen as a form of entertainment, and this is what kids do for fun.

    My business model is unique, in that my guests can't start the booth without me. I use a wireless remote to trigger the booth. So I am the key to getting the booth started. If kids are misbehaving, the booth don't start. The only issue I have (and I have a solution) is that they lose their minds at the printer. They go crazy. We man that as well. Nobody gets a print without us handing it to them. When I know there are lots of kids, we place it under the table ... out of sight & reach. Another solution is to *not* provide instant prints. Pick a table on the other side of the room and deliver prints there every x minutes. If it's communicated in advance, guests have no issue with this.

    In my experience, the adults are far less respectful of the props. By a bunch.

    This is part of the business you are in. People, including kids, misbehave and we must "put up with it"

    Having said that... there are lines guests can't cross. IMO of course. I abort a sequence if I see nudity. When a bunch of drunk jerks start rocking my booth, I warn once and then next time I shut down for 5 minutes to make my point.

    I will admit, it is the aspect of the biz I dislike the most. I go to a lot of events, and no other vendor takes this type of abuse.

    Drop a few wine glasses on the floor and see what the caterer or hall staff will do. The client pays for that. Tell the bartender to :"just pour the drinks" and see what happens.
  • cowboybooth
    I try and man the printer, but the printout slot is inside the booth, and I have the guest exit and wait at the album table where my co-worker is, i grab the prints and hand them over to him...after about 2 or 3 times, the kids catch on, and as soon as the pictures are done, they are kneeling on the floor with 4 sets of hands in the hole waiting for the prints. At the moment, I don't have a way to move the printer out, but my plan in the future is the purchase the HITI wireless version of my printer and place it behind the album table with my co-worker so he can grab them and hand them out accordingly.
    I totally agree with the adults mistreating the props as well...i've had a few events where the kids placed the props where they got them from and the adults try and play basketball throwing the props from the booth back into the box.
    I almost feel like I need a sign and a statement in my agreement that states children under 10 need to be accompanied by an adult. Or maybe even charge a babysitting fee ontop of my normal booth fee's. Sometimes I have the same 5 kids, throw the props, grab new ones and think they can jump back into the booth when i have a line of 10-15 guests. (which at that point i do ask them to get back in line).
  • Jan
    Kids, props, and drunk adults are a problem. We are fortunate in that I an two of my attendants are or were former teachers. There is what is called a "teacher face", works all the time. We allow the kids to go in the booth many times however, at some point we will say, no more unless you come back with a parent. That also works all the time and we have never had a parent come back angry.

    As far as props go, we charge $50 for props. That covers things getting broken or disappearing.

    We also have someone giving the photo strips to the guests. So, they have to come out of the booth and the attendant will give them the pictures.
  • mikeledray
    We have a Large Sign that reads "Rogue Children will be sold to Gypsys"We have made a tidy profit off selling spare and rogue children over the years.
  • buzzkcphoto
    Mike, I think I'd have guests dropping children off to sell if I had that sign

    We've got three signs we typically put up. One says that "Children under the age of 10 must be with their parents or an adult", which is in our service agreement; the second is "No drinks in the booth"; and the third is our hours for the event. We don't always abide by all of them, but it's important to have them out and can be enforced if you need to.
  • necheez
    I loathe parents that allow their children to run around all night, I think it's incredibly rude. Several times I've had a toddler underfoot with no parent to be found.
    We do what buzzkcphoto does. A sign on the booth says that we require children to be accompanied by an adult, and we don't allow drinks inside the booth. We also trigger the booth from outside, and our printer is outside where we hand them their photo, they don't grab it off our printer.
  • Gotcha
    I was going to suggest a "Teacher Voice" too. Usually, I try the old "go show your mom your pictures!" first. If that doesn't work, I end up telling them they have to wait their turn, come back with a parent, etc. If they try to take out the pictures themselves, I tell them they can watch, but not touch. We had one child get pretty out of control and I asked an adult if they knew who she belonged to. It was her niece and she said she'd handle it. The child never came back. :)
  • skyhawk
    It's in our contract that children are welcome, but must be supervised by an adult. Of course guests have not read that contract, and like others have said, it's just a thing we have to 'put up with'..
    Hands crowding the printer... yep, it's a problem, it's caused the only 2 jams in my printers history.
    An external trigger, as Lorne stated, is probably the best way to go.
  • jtphotobooth
    How do you deal with children? I like children I tell them to show off their pictures and bring more people to the booth like mom or dad or family and etc. I even give them free candy if they come in my Van too...kidding...

    Candy does work wonders tho...
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