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Digital vs. Chemical

Much like there are people who love LP records and hate the switch to cd and then mp3, there are photobooth lovers out there that love collecting the old photochemical booths, and prefer them to the current blend of what they call “digital” booths.

I do not necessarily agree with their opinion but there are those that claim that the old chemical prints were more sharp and more durable.

I do agree that there is a certain old nostalgia to the old booths, and they have a certain style as do many of the classic cars. For those of you that enjoy classic movies as well, portable photobooths played a part in many many movies.

Photobooths have definitely been part of the popular culture for almost the last hundred years. If one searches the movie databases, one can find photobooths references in movies dating back to 1928, but the first movie I was myself with a photobooth was the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night in 1964.

Many movies in the 1980’s and 1990’s had scenes with photobooths including The Fugitive (1993), Karate Kid (1984), The Terminator (1984), Beaches (1988), The Mambo Kings (1992), and The Net (1995) among many others, but the best use of a photobooth was in the movie Superman III. In the movie Clark Kent substitutes the traditional phone booth with a photobooth as his locale for changing into Superman. An amazing listing of movies with photobooths appears in the websites

Fast Forward To Today

With the advent of digital photography and portable computers it was finally possible for photobooths to be much more easily moved to temporary placements at events such as weddings and corporate parties. People have always loved photobooths but for the first time people did not have to sleek out photobooths. Rather, the came to them and their parties.

It is hard to explain the psychology behind the fact that photobooth bring out the wild and crazy side of just about everyone of any age, but it is this reality that has transformed photobooths in the last few years into the new and alternative form of entertainment. By this time the general idea of the photobooth was pretty much in the public domain for a long time and only specific innovations could be patented, so this brought out manufacturer wannabe’s by the hundreds. As always, only a handful got to the top of the pile.

Unlike the past when photographers were the main forces behind the growing portable photobooth markets of the time, in the twenty-first century a funny thing happened. Many photographers at first shunned the idea of using a photobooth at a wedding or a special event as they incorrectly believe that it was automation designed to replace them.

Many DJ companies picked up the slack and started offering photobooths as part of their services and proved that DJs, photographers and photobooths could all co-exist at a wedding, each playing their own important and vital roles.

For many DJ firms, especially the larger ones, it was photobooths that helped them survive the recession of 2009 relatively unscathed, or perhaps even in a much stronger position. After all, in hard times the strong have traditionally become stronger and the weak have well, disappeared.

The other thing DJs can be credited for is promoting the new photobooths not just as the new method of taking pictures but rather the new form of entertainment. Props for the first time became an essential part of the whole photobooth experience. Photobooth attendants were for the first time seen not as unskilled labor but as facilitators of fun. At least this is what the companies that were doing it right were promoting.

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