Value every smile: How to improve your guest experience with in-app photos

The traditional roller coaster photo experience often involves long queues and time-sensitive purchases. Explore how using in-app photos helps you meet the expectations of your digitally native guests.
Adam Catterall
May 2023

Theme park photography has existed almost as long as the rides themselves. In the early days, technology restraints meant that cameras weren’t capable of taking high-speed shots. But, advances in shutter speed opened up the possibility for on-ride photos of hilarious expressions and wind-warped faces. Today, a picture of your loved ones at the most intense moment of a roller coaster is a staple souvenir of the theme park experience.

The big players in the attractions game know the value of photo integration. Disney for example takes over 100,000 photos a day for their PhotoPass subscribers. This part of their membership allows guests to buy high-quality photos taken by roaming photographers or any attraction with an image-capture system. It’s a prime revenue driver, perfectly integrated into their experience.

But, not everyone has the means to develop their own digital photo system in-house. For many attractions, the tried and tested method of offering photos at a sales kiosk after the ride is the most cost-effective option. Doing it this way has its merits, but it falls short in a few key areas that can affect your guest experience.

The current state of theme park photo systems

Everyone’s familiar with the photo process at a theme park. You head on a ride and have a blast zipping around the track. At the most intense moment, it snaps a photo. On your way out, you’ll be able to view your photos and laugh at your silly expressions. You’ll then have the option to purchase a digital or photo print.

This process has become synonymous with the theme park experience. But for the digital generation, it doesn’t meet expectations. Doing things this way causes a few problems:

  • Time sensitivity. Having all the photos available at the kiosk directly after the ride pressures your guests into feeling that they have to purchase right away, or lose out on their photo. This adds unnecessary stress to what should be a fun part of their day.
  • Crowding and long queues. Busy days can lead to crowding around the photo sales area. It disrupts your guests’ day and takes away valuable ride time. This is a problem when you consider that guests are only able to squeeze in six rides a day on average due to long queues.
  • Environmental impact. Similarly, printed photos use large amounts of paper. This can negatively impact the environment and affect your sustainability credentials.

So how can you negate these problems and provide a seamless photo experience for your guests?

Alton Towers digital signage promoting in-app photos, post-ride.

Integrating photos - how things should be done

Digitally native guests expect digital ways of accessing their photos. They want the entire day’s photography in one place. They want the time to view them and then decide whether they want to purchase them. They’re eager to upload their shots to social media, so they need to download them to their device.

Our in-app photos feature addresses these expectations by digitally streamlining the photo process. Here’s how it works:

  1. Your guests go on the rides and have their photos taken. Once they arrive back, their photos are ready for them to view.
  2. They find their photos by associating them with their device. They can type in the code they see on their photo at the sales kiosk or scan an ID code to identify their device. Alternatively, guests can collect a card that they can then scan into their device later. This option is better suited to roaming park photography.
  3. Ta dah! Guests can see their photos in your app. This allows them to see every photo they’re in from across the park in one place. Before purchasing, these photos have a watermark to protect them.
  4. Your guests can then browse the images and make a purchase decision at their leisure. Using a post-purchase model gives guests time to make thoughtful purchases and download the photos they love. They can do this directly from their device using standard digital payment methods. It’s a one-tap purchase with an efficient checkout system to make buying friction-free.
  5. After purchasing, your guests can download the photos straight to their camera roll. The photos are available offline, and guests are free to use them as they wish, such as posting them on social media.
“It’s about augmenting existing strengths — guest profiling, product engagement, behavioural demographics — with a new feature that increases the likelihood of commercial sales.” - Peter O’Dare, Head of Product at

Picture-perfect memories

The American author Eudora Welty once said, “A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” So don’t let your guests miss out on a special photo memory by improving your accessibility with in-app photos.

By having photos available in your mobile app, you will encourage a higher rate of adoption. People will be eager to see their photos before they buy, so anyone who hasn’t downloaded the app beforehand will be incentivised to install it on their device. That’s a win-win for you.

Eager to see in-app photos in action and learn how it can improve your guest experience? Book a discovery call today.

Free guide

Get your copy
Free guide

Get your copy
Free guide

A theme park's guide to the future of revenue growth

Get your copy

Adam Catterall

Roller coaster buff and black belt content writer
May 2023
Book a demo mobile app

Request a Demo

Find out how attractions of all shapes and sizes are deploying mobile apps to improve the guest experience, increase revenue and unlock visitor insights.

Be a part of the digital revolution.

Technology is rapidly changing guests' expectations. In our monthly newsletter, we explore the trends and technologies set to shape the future of the experience industry. Subscribe for expert insights and tips.
By attractions enthusiasts for attractions enthusiasts.
Related News & Resources
View all