Even in an age when nearly everybody carries a photo-taking device with them, Rogier Chapon thinks a new kind of photo booth can succeed.
TapSnap, as the operation is called, takes photos of people and then allows them to add just about whatever else they want to the shot, either by drawing or choosing from thousands of ready-made images.
“There are so many photo opportunities with animals, castles – you name it,” Chapon said.
Chapon and his wife, Jennifer, are franchisees for a Vancouver company that developed TapSnap. A former corporate and event planner for Cessna, Chapon said he had been looking for something to satisfy his “entrepreneurial spirit“ since getting laid off.
“I missed the networking, the community involvement and the marketing component,” he said.
TapSnap launched in January 2013, and Chapon got his franchise the next month. After training in Canada, he said, “I was the first franchisee to have a paid event” – an Easter brunch at Rolling Hills Country Club.
Since then, he’s taken his photo operation to weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, corporate holiday parties and fundraising events. Chapon said he offers nonprofits a special rate that allows both him and the organizations to make money.
A TapSnap kiosk consists of a camera, a 42-inch monitor and a computer.
“All we need is electricity and a solid wireless connection,” he said. “We can do indoors or outdoors.”
After posing for photos, participants use their fingers to draw on the monitor or choose from images. There’s also a green screen that can be used to incorporate complete backgrounds into snapshots.
For a recent event at Alef Harley-Davidson, for instance, motorcyclists had their photos taken in front of images of the Golden Gate Bridge, mountains and a Caribbean beach.
Children could even get Disneyland for their background.
“I saved their parents a lot of money,” Chapon joked.
Other clients include a couple getting married in Las Vegas. When they return for a party in Wichita, photos of their trip are going to be used as a background for shots of party guests.
“It will make it seem like everybody was with them in Vegas,” Chapon said.
Chapon can print photos, e-mail them to customers or share them through social media channels.
Currently, the Chapons are operating TapSnap when not busy with their full-time jobs. They would like to add employees and kiosks if the business takes off.
“We’re really trying to break into the business and social scene in Wichita,” he said.