There have been some hurdles I have had to overcome with a mobile photo booth. When I purchased Mater I didn’t realize how bad of shape the bus was in, nor did I even really know where I needed to start to fix it. I then joined the Mo-Kan VW club, made some friends, and was able to start getting to work. I met John Warren of Shawnee, Kansas who has owned 15 VW busses and purchased his first one when he was 13 years old. I also met Brandon Jarrett who has a VW restoration shop in Lee’s Summit called, The Shop. These two guys are the main reasons that the bus continues to run. I call them my “mobile mechanics”, and both of them are very important for The Photo Bus business. Due to the condition of Mater, John W. advised me to sell him and find a new bus... because not every Volkswagen Bus can be a photo booth.
The search was rough, but we managed to find a new, lowered 1970 VW Bus in Spokane, Washington in February 2012. There was one problem: we couldn’t get the bus till mid-April. On April 16th, 2012, we left KC at 11pm and drove straight through to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where we arrived at 5am in the morning. The Bus arrived at 7am, we switched it to John’s trailer and hit the road back to KC (because it was not in driving condition). As we drove home we started talking about names for the bus, and since it was made in April 1970, and we picked her on April 17th (which happens to be the same day my father passed away) we named her April. I think it’s a pretty fitting name. We got her home and had one month until the Mo-Kan VW show in Weston, MO. John, Brandon, myself and others worked a lot to finish April The Photo Bus for her debut at Volks-Weston on May 18th. There was a lot of work to be done, and we literally worked right till the afternoon on the 18th.
up and Running
So, the main drawbacks have been all of the work that has been needed to get the booth up and running since it is operating out of an old bus. Plus, I still offer a stationary booth, so if someone prefers that over the bus, it is an option. The mobile booth can be limited to where I can take it, due to the doorway size to enter a building and it still needs work to run properly. However, I usually have it up and running at Wine Walk on Delaware and First Fridays when if I’m not shooting a wedding. The Photo Bus has been INSIDE the Vox Theatre, River Market Event Place, The Bean Hangar, Union Station, The Guild KC, and the Kansas City Convention Center. Everyone has been very welcoming and has loved the bus in their space.