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A photo booth is a vending machine or modern kiosk that contains an automated, usually coin-operated, camera and film processor. Today the vast majority of photo booths are digital. Traditionally photo booths contain a seat or bench designed to seat the one or two patrons being photographed. The seat is typically surrounded by a curtain of some sort to allow for some privacy and help avoid outside interference during the photo session. Once the payment is made, the photo booth will take a series of photographs (though most modern booths may only take a single photograph and print out a series of identical pictures).[citation needed] Before each photograph, there will be an indication, such as a light or a buzzer, that will signal the patron to prepare their pose. After the last photograph in the series (typically between 3 and 8) has been taken, the photo booth begins developing the film — a process that used to take several minutes in the old 'wet chemistry' booths, but is now typically accomplished in about 30 seconds with digital technology. The prints are then delivered to the customer.

Typical dimensions of these prints vary. The classic and most familiar arrangement from the old style photo booths is four pictures on a strip about 40 mm wide by 205 mm long; digital prints tend to have a square arrangement of two images above two images. Both black and white and colour photo booths are common in the US, however in Europe the colour photo booth has almost entirely replaced black and white booths. However, newer digital booths now offer the customer the option of whether to print in colour or in black and white. Most modern photo booths use video or digital cameras instead of film cameras, and are under computer control. Some booths can also produce stickers, postcards, or other items with the photographs on them, rather or as well as simply a strip of pictures. These often include an option of novelty decorative borders around the photos. Snap Digital Imaging booth in Bicester

There are three countries in the world with major infrastructures of photo booths, the UK, Japan, and France. Many other countries have mature photo booth markets but with a lower level of penetration. These include Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux and Scandinavia. Photo booth markets in other countries, such as Australia, are steadily growing. In Europe and Japan, photo booths are mainly to be found in places of high footfall such as railway stations, shopping centres and supermarkets, as their main use is for passports, driving licences, and other forms of identification. In the United States, photo booths are purely used for entertainment[citation needed], and as a result the US is a very small market for photo booth operators when compared to western Europe and eastern Asia. Indeed there are three or four times as many photo booths in the UK alone than there are in the whole of America[citation needed] where they are typically installed indoors in places for entertainment, such as video arcades and amusement parks. In some US cities, photo booths may also be found in train stations and other transportation hubs, as a means of obtaining a photograph needed for inclusion in a transit pass.


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