Photobooths are one of the oldest, most recognized products in the coin-operated amusement industry. The first photobooth was introduced over 130 years ago at the World Fair in Paris in 1889. It wasn’t until 1925 that the photobooth was mass-produced by a Russian immigrant, Anatol Josepho, in New York City, yet almost 100 years later photobooths have continued to make us smile. The first photobooths were the familiar black and white stripes, but as photography and technology have evolved through the years so has the photobooth. Today photobooths use digital cameras and cutting-edge technology to not only provide smiles but also to deliver customized, unique experiences for the customer.
While photobooths have a long history, they are far from being a relic even in the age of the smartphone. Photobooths have survived wars, recessions, polaroid cameras, the digital camera, the smartphone, and now a pandemic. But how? Photobooths are embedded in American culture with an apple pie like nostalgia. Many grandparents have youthful memories of snaps taken in five-and-dime stores or may recall Andy Warhol’s photobooth strip inspired artistry. Parents may remember photobooths at their weddings or other meaningful life events. Today children of all ages and their parents, and maybe even grandparents too, continue to step into photobooths operating in an ever-
expanding entertainment universe at locations like family entertainment centers, malls, movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums, bars, restaurants, theme parks, major league sports venues, bowling centers, and arcades. Photobooths appeal to all generations, blending the nostalgia of the traditional photobooth with the innovation of the new experiential photobooths.
Modern photobooths still capture the simple joys in life like a silly photo with a friend, a
memory of a favorite outing, or a secret kiss, but now these moments can be amplified. You can take a silly photo with 10 of your favorite friends in the Face Place Photo Studio Deluxe. You can celebrate the exciting moment you finally saw a long-awaited blockbuster film release surrounded by characters from
the film in the Face Place Movie Booth. You can share a cosmic kiss with your partner in space in the Face Place Scene Machine. However, the most advanced photobooths on the market today do more than capture the smiles and memories of all those simple joys in life, they provide an immersive experience for the customer.
Technological innovations have paved the way for a new completely unique photobooth experience. Rather than going to a different photobooth for a new experience, you can now have multiple experiences in the same photobooth. Much like the beloved childhood Choose Your Own Adventure books, photobooths today let you choose your own unique photo experience. In the Face Place Marvel Adventure Lab, you can transform into your favorite Marvel superheroes, posing right
alongside of them. The Marvel Adventure Lab uses the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S from Iron Man to direct you to strike your best superhero pose, punch, grimace as you battle villains, and ultimately smile victoriously. Maybe you’ll choose to pose like you’re shooting webs alongside Spider-Man in your very own comic book cover? Or maybe you want to be part of a comic story in an action-packed battle scene alongside Guardians of the Galaxy? You have the option of returning time and time again for a different
experience with a new Marvel superhero…Black Panther, Thor, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, etc. Each time you enter the Marvel Adventure Lab, J.A.R.V.I.S. guides your imagination through a new self- selected comic experience.
While each photobooth experience may be different, there is one constant for the customers…they always smile! Allen Weisberg, CEO of Apple Industries, the manufacturer of Face Place, Photobooths has always been inspired by the wisdom that, “An entertainment location owner’s job is
for the customer to have a good time. The customer doesn’t need to know why they had a good time, but they just need to know they had a good time.” Customers return to places and locations where they remember having a good time. Photostrips and prints are physical manifestations of the good vibe feeling attached to a photobooth and a location. The lighting and the camera settings in the photobooth are always set to make the customer look their best and all photobooth experiences, as varied as they may be, provide ample opportunities for smiles.
Photobooths have thrived in the coin-operated amusement industry, outlasting competitors, for almost 100 years because they provide consumers the perfect blend of old and new. They offer a timeless entertainment experience combined with new technology pushing the traditional boundaries of the photobooth concept. In the era of COVID, customers are looking for the comforts and the familiarity of the past but are also voraciously seeking new entertainment experiences as the venture out again. During COVID there have been many challenges and so much more sadness than joy. Photobooths give customers a reason to feel good, a reason to smile, a moment to escape the “new normal” and maybe now more than ever… that’s just what we need!