By Robert Lindquist
Originally patented in 1888, the photo booth (aka “automated photography machine”) first gained popularity at penny arcades, amusement parks, and carnivals. To receive your photographic mementos, you just slid behind the curtain, adjusted the seat, deposited twenty-five cents and smiled! Ten minutes later a strip of black and white (or sepia tone) photos would slide out a chute on the side. Back then, cameras were very expensive. Only a few select folks had access to one. If you wanted to get a pic of yourself and a sweetie – the Photo Booth was the place to go.
Today, everyone has a camera, yet Photo Booths are more popular than ever. What explains the huge resurgence? There are three things driving the popularity of Photo Booths: 1) Social Media; 2) Everyone’s love for “selfies”; 3) The simple fact that Photo Booths are fun! When you step into a Photo Booth with some goofy props, the stage is yours. The camera don’t care, so ham it up.
The Photo Booths of today are lightweight and portable. They can be set up almost anywhere. There are open style booths that can accommodate a small crowd as well as the traditional closed booths. Some Booths have green screen backdrops that allow the subjects to be seemingly transported to any location on earth and beyond.
Most Photo Booth operators put out a table full of props, signs, and playthings to help folks create vintage looks and storylines. The end product is a high-quality printed image and/or a social media hashtag or URL where the photo is displayed. Professional Photo Booths typically use high-quality DSLR cameras so the image is far better than what you find at the end of a selfie stick.
For those who rent and operate Photo Booths, they are a growing revenue source. Each year, “Boothers” from around the world travel to Las Vegas for the PhotoBoothExpo, where the latest technologies, services and business solutions for the Photo Booth industry are introduced. It’s the worlds largest show for the Photo Booth industry and the place to get the first glimpse of the latest technologies – video booths, graffiti walls, green screen technology, 3D Photo Booths, props, inflatable booths, backdrops…it’s all there.
Photo caption: Rob Savickis (left) pauses for a TV interview during the 2017 Photo Booth Expo
How It All Started…
The Photo Booth Expo was the brainchild of Rob Savickis, a Photo Booth operator in Niagra Falls, Ontario, Canada. According to Rob, “The people who attend the Photo Booth Expo are either entrepreneurs with established photo Booth businesses or people who want to get into the business. Many are DJs and Photographers who already have ties to special events. Others are manufacturers and distributors looking for an effective way to reach core buyers in the professional photo booth market.” Along with the massive exhibit floor, the Expo also features an educational track that presents the most knowledgeable pros in the business. Seminar content covers all the essentials of operating a successful Photo Booth business – from Photo Booth Operation to Sales and Marketing. The best part about being at the Photo Booth Expo is the opportunity to witness the unique ways that many successful people have taken their Photo Booth businesses to the next level and beyond. For the newcomer, it’s encouraging to know that it’s an even playing field – the tools and technologies are available to everyone. What makes each Photo Booth company unique comes down to the person who operates the business. Maybe it’s marketing and promotion or possibly it’s the uniqueness of the Photo Booth itself. The Photo Booth Expo is not just about ideas…it’s about making ideas work!” For more information visit PhotoBoothExpo.com
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