We’re loving this hot (and seriously fun) new trend in wedding photography: Inflatable photobooths.
Made from much the same material as kids’ jumping castles, these blow-up booths are (almost) as much fun – and they run on, well, air.
While photo booths are still novelties at modern weddings, inflatable photobooths are even more rare, largely because they’re in such demand, and companies such as JPG Photobooths, which hires inflatable photobooths for events nationally, are struggling to keep up.
“We’re thrilled at how popular our inflatable photobooths have been, especially with couples getting married,” says Sydney-based Jimmy Kien, who spent more than six months developing and building what he claims are Australia’s first inflatable photobooths, from scratch.
“Aside from looking seriously cool, inflatable photobooths are easily portable, require no heavy lifting and use the latest technology, so all images are printed out in hi-res, very, very quickly.”
Jimmy, a keen amateur photographer and Computer Science graduate, came up with the idea of an inflatable photobooth after his own wedding in 2012.
He and wife Jade wanted a photobooth at their reception but considered everything they saw a little too clunky and low tech for their hi-tech needs and, though they decided against hiring a photobooth in the end, Jimmy simply couldn’t get the idea of creating a more modern, hi-tech version.
He madly started researching photobooths, reading everything he could about how they worked and how they were built, yet he couldn’t think how he could use his knowledge of computers and technology to make photobooths better.
Then, one night, he had a dream, about a photobooth that inflated itself – and JPG Photobooths was born.
For the next few months, despite absolutely no experience in design, product development or engineering, Jimmy worked on the idea of creating an inflatable photobooth.
He tried dozens of different materials and all sorts of possible configurations – and made lots of mistakes.
“He’s pretty determined and never ever gives up until he finishes something,” says Jade, “and even though I didn’t doubt for a minute that he’d do it, I have to admit, when I first heard about it, my first reaction was, “Are you serious?”‘
However, over the next few months, Jade saw just how mesmerised by the idea of creating his inflatable photo booth Jimmy was.
“He’d be hunched over the kitchen table for hours on end taking apart machines and putting them together, everything from printers to small motors – and there were piles of screws everywhere and he always knew which belonged where,” adds Jade.
It took a few months, but Jimmy eventually figured out how to create a super-speedy photobooth that used hi-res images. He built his final prototype out of material similar to that used in children’s blow-up castles – “and it worked brilliantly!” Jimmy recalls.
A year or so later, Jimmy’s photobooths are in hot demand, not only due to the fact they can be carried around quite easily, but also that they take just half an hour from unpacking to have them inflated and ready to take photos.
JPG Photobooths has four booths on offer in Sydney and others across the country. Each is designed to stay up for more than 24 hours, long after a standards wedding ends.
“Also, unless someone manages to create a serious gash they won’t come down,” insists Jimmy who says his photobooths have survived plenty of potentially hazardous party hijinks, including lots of drunken guests and overly enthusiastic revellers.
Each photobooth also includes a treasure trove of props, allowing guests and the bridal party to add a little more pizazz to their photos.
“It never fails to surprise me just how creative people can be,” he says, “We’ve seen just about everything possible go on in our photobooths and, because they’re fully enclosed, well, we’ve seen everything else too!”
Jimmy’s design has proven successful, perhaps too successful with several companies across the globe copying his exact design and now flagrantly selling copies online.
“Yeah, well, after all the hard work, research and money I put into inventing and designing my inflatable photobooths, it was pretty disappointing,” says Jimmy, “but then, imitation is the highest form of flattery, so that’s something, I guess?”