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Vintage photo booth is a hit at parties

Chris Dorst
Wow Booth owner Will Price (left) and his wife, Danna, hold the curtains open to reveal Pat Johnson and James F. Brown, of Charleston, who had their photos taken inside the photo booth at a recent fundraiser for ReadAloud West Virginia.
Chris Dorst Jack Hoblitzell and Emily Hopta and their children, Ellie, 4, and Charlotte, 11 months, enjoyed dressing up for a photo session inside the Wow Booth.
Chris Dorst Unlike the old strips of photos, the modern photo booth prints a postcard-size memento that can be customized with the event information. Will and Danna Price, owners of the Wow Booth, posed for these shots.
Chris Dorst An automated printer quickly spits out photos right after a session in the Wow Booth.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Remember the thrill of squeezing into a photo booth with a couple of friends, dropping a few coins into the slot, then hamming it up for the four fast flashes that come along, ready or not? Then there's the joy of throwing open the curtain and waiting impatiently for that little strip of photos to be spit out into your hands, bringing gales of laughter from all involved?

Will Price can bring that photo booth experience to your wedding, to your prom, to your class reunion, combining the vintage feel of the booth with the latest in photo technology.

Will and his wife of 12 years, Danna, own Price Portraits and Commercial Photography on D Street in South Charleston. They have two daughters, ages 18 and 15. They do the things that many photographers do: take pictures of weddings, take portraits, pictures of new babies and high school seniors, plus a fair amount of commercial work for businesses -- pictures of people, products for websites and catalogs, interiors of factories, hospitals and more. They've won national awards for their photography.

"We travel a lot across the nation -- as full-time photographers, we attend seminars, and we're always learning about the latest trends," Will said. "It seems like everything around here is behind a few years, because these have been popular in larger cities -- like Pittsburgh, New York, Atlanta -- for a while."

So about three or four years ago, the pair purchased a vintage booth with antiquated equipment. They gutted it, painted it, added a high-quality camera and lens, a computer and printer. A local seamstress custom-made curtains for the booth to recapture the old-fashioned feeling of privacy and enclosure offered by the old booths.

"There are other photographers who offer photo booths, but they are often not enclosed," Price said. "What we have is a real novelty."

The couple adds fun touches for each event; they bring along silly hats, goofy sunglasses, feather boas and funny mustaches held up on sticks for patrons to use in their photo session. As their website, www.wowbooth.com, says: "Pull the curtain, hit a button and unleash the FUN!"

Several times each month, the Prices load up the booth and take it to weddings, birthday parties, proms and other occasions. He said some class reunions have found a sponsor to offset the cost of the booth, which starts at $1,000. The price depends on the number of photos wanted. At a wedding, for example, they can print one for the guest and then one for the bride and groom.

The photos come out on a postcard-size print, and the edges of the print can be embellished with the names of the bride and groom or birthday boy or girl, or just about anything. Corporate parties can add their logos.

"Not only is the print fully customizable, but so is the booth. We can use it with or without the curtains, so we can fit in any number of people," Price said.

The actual booth is fully automated, just like the booths found on the midway in years past.

"You get in, and it has a video prompt -- it asks you to choose between color and black and white, and then it says, 'I'm going to take four photos now,'" Price said.

"By far, every time we take it out, it's the biggest hit of the party. There's always a long line and people rotate through five or six times."

To contact Price, call 304-744-8432 or visit www.priceportraits.com.

Reach Sara Busse at sara.busse@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.


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