In the summer of 2012, Simon was planning his wedding to Lucy. With a passion for vintage and nostalgia, he was desperately searching for a way for their guests to take Polaroid style photos for the guestbook, but via a reliable and cost effective method. A DIY project commenced, and The Vintage Photobooth Company was born.
When did you establish the company, and who works ‘behind the scenes’?
I’m Simon, onetime groom, now happy husband & the owner, booth designer, builder and marketer of the photobooths at The Vintage Photobooth Company.
Behind the scenes is my wife Lucy, and my cat Grippers (although only one of them is allowed to operate power tools).
What inspired you to start a photobooth business, and why vintage?
The Vintage Photobooth Company was born out of a DIY project for my own wedding in the summer of 2012. I love photography, especially all things analogue and vintage-styled (think Polaroids, Instamatic & Lomo-style cameras) and wanted some way of guests being able to take pictures of themselves with Polaroid cameras for a guestbook. The problem came with the unreliability and expense of Polaroid film and cameras…
So I decided that maybe a photobooth would be the best bet. Looking around, most of them came with a hefty price tag and didn’t fit the aesthetic of our vintage themed, barn wedding: this started me thinking about building / designing my own and the result was the first photobooth: a sumptuous affair resplendent with velvet curtains, reclaimed theatre seats and other unique details.
At our wedding, the booth was never empty, taking nearly 400 photos and the subject of many positive comments. Since then, we have taken the booth to weddings, Christmas parties, birthdays and wedding fairs all over the country. The main booth we use has had a redesign to improve portability but the new design still holds true to the vintage aesthetic and feel that I strove for in the beginning.
I was inspired to start the business largely after all the positive comments at my own wedding. We have an array of priceless photos from that day thanks to the booth, which provided a different perspective to the official photos of the day. I knew that I would enjoy selling and promoting something I truly believe in and that I have had first hand experience of as a groom planning a wedding.
Vintage to me is not just a current trend, or vogue – it harks back to a less disposable era, one where you took time in composing every photograph. We still really love sourcing and unearthing brilliant props and costumes which inspire people to get behind the curtain and create sweet, stylish or ludicrous photos in the booth.
What’s the most rewarding part of running your business, and the most challenging?
The most rewarding part of running the business has to be attending the events themselves; the tentative initial picture of someone trying the booth for the first time followed by the raucous laughter emanating from behind the curtain as the night progresses. There’s a real joy witnessing the excitement as pictures are passed round for others to see and groups of friends get together and plot the composition of their next shot. A photobooth acts as such a good icebreaker and also spans the generations; I think the antiquated feel of the booth is the reason why Grannies and Granddads are always keen to get involved too!
The main challenge is spending time promoting and advertising our product in a busy, crowded marketplace. Getting your voice heard across multiple social media platforms is a time consuming process!
I’m a vintage bride-to-be, can you tell me why you’re a good choice for my wedding?
We are a great choice for your wedding because our booths are not only functional but exude boundless character. They are lovingly hand-built, with authentic touches such as a pair of 1940’s theatre seats, vintage frames and push buttons which elevate our booths above the mundane and the mass-market.
We are a small, personable company who absolutely aim to please and we are happy to source props of any theme or era especially for you. The price you pay includes unlimited prints for your guests throughout the duration of hire and ALL of the images on disc for you after the event.
What sort of props do you provide?
We source original, vintage props wherever possible, and also try to provide items that are a little different to the generic (and dare we say, tacky!) offerings elsewhere.
You’ll find some real gems, such as a 1970’s police helmet, blue velvet smoking jacket, 30’s and 40’s ladies hats as well as plenty of pipes, tweed, monocles, spectacles and all manner of ephemera. We are also quite proud of the array of facial hair to found in our ‘Moustacharium’- for the discerning gentleman (or lady!).
See more of the props available by visiting the Props Page.
Can I find you at any events this year?
We will be at the York Festival of Vintage on 27th & 28th of April 2013, and hopefully at other wedding fairs and vintage events throughout the year. We are already taking bookings for events as far away as 2014, be sure to say hello and pop into the booth for a picture if you see us at an event!
What else is to come from The Vintage Photobooth Company?
We’re developing an enthusiast-level interest in all things photobooth, with a particular penchant for the earliest models from the 30’s and 40’s. We are in the final stages of planning a 40’s style, Model 11 booth (think Classic Americana soda shop) built with the same attention to detail as our current booths – watch the website for more details!
Want to find out more?
More information on The Vintage Photobooth Company can be found by visiting the company website. Prices range between £695-£795 depending on your choice of Package, but all include the entire collection of photographs from your wedding day on a USB drive.
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