“A photo booth is not just about printing a photo and keeping it as a souvenir,” says Francois De Freitas, senior director of Marketing for Apple Industries. “Everything is about the experience. The new generation is looking for the experience; it’s more important that they enjoy the moment with their family and friends. So, in a way, output is the cherry on the cake.”
Apple Industries Inc. is a photo booth development company based in Greenvale, New York. It was originally founded 50 years ago by Abraham Weisberg, a coin-operated-games technician who started his own business selling products for the entertainment industry. Subsequently, in the 1990s, Weisberg’s son, Allen, added Japanese photo sticker machines to the company’s repertoire. It was a savvy business decision that helped launch the company into a highly successful photo booth empire.
Apple Industries Moves into Photo Booths
In 2008, Allen Weisberg, Apple CEO, acquired Face Place photo booths. It was a vendor that sold old-school-style booths where customers could pose for four black-and-white photographs printed on 2-inch wide strips. Over the next three years, Weisberg added color output, new size formats, improved print quality and social media integration to the Face Place booth options. He also designed a variety of booth models to cater to specific events and locations, such as weddings, bars and outdoor theme parks.
With almost a dozen individual booth designs, Apple has successfully married nostalgia and technology to draw customers of all ages. The company sells its Face Place photo booths to small business owners, or vendors, who install them at different locations and create a regular route.
Selling the Interactive Experience
“We have two especially popular photo booth setups,” says De Freitas. “The Face Place Photo Studio Deluxe is a huge photo booth that we install and sell in a lot of large theme parks and family entertainment centers.
“Instead of just taking your photo, the Photo Studio Deluxe features 24 interactive videos. As people watch the videos, look-alike celebs like Joan Rivers or Austin Powers tell you to lift your arm or do something funky; so the full photo booth experience becomes more interactive.”
Apple’s proprietary Smile 2.0 operating system employs green-screen technology and touch-screen navigation to place customers in one of many interactive scenes. The Photo Studio Deluxe measures 6×5.5×7.5 feet and has more than 5,000 LED lights to attract customers.
Apple Industries’ other up-and-coming blockbuster product, launched in 2Q 2019, is the Marvel Adventure Lab; it was developed in cooperation with Marvel Comics. “The Marvel Adventure Lab is an immersion into the Marvel Comics world,” says De Freitas. “We take photos of the customers; transform them into a comic book style; and we integrate them into a Marvel template. Consumers can pose next to their favorite superheroes, like Captain Marvel, Captain America, the Avengers or Spider-Man. We have 78 templates in total.”
The subject’s image is prepared for integration using a series of filters developed by the company’s R&D team. Subsequently, they change the face into something more comic book like while still maintaining the client’s features. The booth then prints a 6×10-inch photo, which is about the size of a Marvel comic magazine. Customers can choose to have their photos integrated into a comic book cover or an inside story panel.
Apple Industries uses Mitsubishi and DNP dye-sublimation printers for its booths. “We worked with the companies to supply our own branded printers and the paper to go with them,” says De Freitas. “DNP accommodated our requirement to print 6×10-inch paper. Moreover, we chose those brands because we wanted our printers to be durable and fast. People don’t want to have to wait for their prints.
“Our business is all about printing,” he says. “It’s the most important part of our sales. The digital file sharing only comes after the client orders a printed photo. When customers use Face Place photo booths, they choose a product, take the photos and select the one they want to print. Once they’ve paid and launched the printing function, they have the additional option of sending their image by e-mail or posting it on social media platforms.”
Further, De Freitas expects prints to become more popular, because consumers are always asking for new printing options. “We see the technology changing. The photo booth is bringing together technology; like augmented reality, licensing backgrounds as well as other features that will help the people enjoy the moment.”
With all of today’s technology, from the software to the printers, the photo booth industry is making it easier and more fun to get prints into consumers’ hands.