Photos on wheels
Snap 'n go: Vintage Volkswagen bus transformed into mobile photo booth
Photo booths have become ubiquitous at the modern wedding, replete with twee props and customized backdrops. That fact was not lost on Brittany Havican, a self-taught Houston photographer who shoots weddings and other special events when she's not working her regular nursing job.
Meanwhile, her husband, Austin, had been eyeing vintage vans with a hankering to fix one up. When he came across a 1978 Volkswagen bus, painted a spotty orange and in need of some love, the wheels began turning.
"What if we can get the bus to pay for itself, and have fun in the process?" he wondered. After a few days of careful consideration, Brittany gave the idea for PhotoMoto — a mobile photo studio — the green light.
The Havicans purchased the bus early this year and spent the better part of three months doing repairs, learning as they worked and making fast friends with other VW lovers. PhotoMoto debuted at its first gig, a wedding on April 20, as a gleaming, picture-perfect beauty.
"It's an ongoing process," Austin told CultureMap, indicating a couple of cosmetic and equipment improvements he still plans to make to the bus. Even as-is, it's as easy to use as your average kiosk: Slide into the back bench, smile for the camera, pose for four frames and watch the strips print out — about a minute from start to finish.
Events have been steady since April, with an appearance at Pop Shop Houston in mid-May, a spot at Free Press Summer Festival in June, a Reddit meetup and a Whole Foods local vendor fair a few weeks ago.
Wedding appearances are also getting booked up. Brittany explained that everything is fully customizable, from the handmade props to the logo printed at the bottom of the strips. Also, Austin pointed out, the bus is so compact that it can be rolled inside almost any building.
Look for PhotoMoto to be camped out in front of Domy Books on Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. with Pride-appropriate props, and on July 12 at The Big Show 2013 opening at Lawndale Art Center. Bring a few bucks and get ready to cheese.