Photobooth portraits are all the rage. Here’s how and where to get yourself shot in Metro Vancouver.
DIRT CHEAP & VERY COOL | Isn’t it ironic that, with legions of rabid snappers out there pointing and shooting their digital phone cameras at everything moving and otherwise, the automatic photobooth, the last bastion of easily accessible print photo strips, is enjoying a renaissance? Rented-by-the-hour photobooths are the currently hot commodity at private parties, corporate functions and wedding receptions, and people are increasingly snapping up shots at the 25 freestanding “photomats” in public locations dotted around Metro Vancouver.
Making Snap Judgments
Photobooth purists (and they are multitude) will be unhappy to learn that last public black and white photobooth in the Lower Mainland (it produced pix like the ones Andy Warhol made so arty and cool in the 1960s) was replaced just six months ago by a colour-only model. Located in the Capilano Mall in North Vancouver, the colour replacement is still an old school photochemical unit (another thing purists look out for) that produces an iconic $4 four-shot strip, but a digital booth will eventually supplant it too, according to a service rep for Auto-Photo Canada, the company that distributes these vending machines.
Where To Find Public Photobooths In Metro Vancouver
If the classic photochemical photobooth experience is what you crave, you can still find it at the following five locations: Capilano Mall in North Vancouver, Lougheed Town Centre in Burnaby, Coquitlam Centre in Coquitlam, Cottonwood Mall in Chilliwack and Seven Oaks Mall in Abbotsford. For digital photobooths, check out Pacific Centre and Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, Park Royal Mall in West Vancouver (two booths) and Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby (four booths). For the specific location in each of these malls, call the administration line.
Where To Rent A Photobooth
A number of local companies, such as Photobooth Vancouver, will set you up with a digital photobooth for your next soirée (Google photobooth rental), but only Auto-Photo Canada will rent you the real thing, an original black and white photochemical photobooth that produces classic strip photos like those shown at the top of this story. To find out more, call Auto-Photo Canada at 1-800-663-6661. In Vancouver, a digital photobooth rents for around $300 an hour; the Auto-Photo Canada machine goes for around $1,600 for an entire day.
Where To Try Purikura
Photobooth junkies will want to try the Japanese photo sticker booths, called Purikura, at CHQ Entertainment at Metrotown or DekaPri Photo Stickers and Arcade Gaming Shop at Parker Place Mall in Richmond. Japanese photobooths let you take digital portraits that you can then write and draw on in multiple colours using a touch screen and stylus, plus further customize by applying a mind-boggling array of cute (in that Japanese school girl way) special effects. Expect to pay between $8 and $10 for a sheet of stickers. —C. Rule
If you really love photobooths, CLICK HERE to learn about American Photobooth by Näkki Goranin, published by W.W. Norton & Company