Featuring Wedding Photographer & Entrepreneur — Ben Chernivsky
Technology is ever-evolving. And when it comes to an industry like wedding photography, technology is constantly reshaping the playground for wedding and event photographers. Which is why we knew we needed to talk to pro photographer and entrepreneur Ben Chernivsky.
Not only does Ben operate a thriving wedding photography business — This Is Feeling Photography. He also co-owns and operates ZippyBooth, a Chicago-based photo booth rental company that is dependant on Gifyyy, his photo booth software and manufacturing company. Ben and his team have created a complete photo booth system unlike any other. And not only that, but it’s incredibly easy to use, too — something Ben takes a lot of pride in.
“We truly have taken a super complex product like photo booths, and turned it into a 12-pound product that takes 30 seconds to start up,” Ben says. “it’s iPad-based and just very, very simple.”
The Evolution of the Gifyyy Photo Booth
Before Ben created Gifyyy six years ago, he says he would go to WPPI every year ready to spend $8,000 on a photo booth to set up at the event. “Back then, that’s like how much those photo booths cost — they were very expensive systems.”
But Ben also knew how much he stood to make when setting up a photo booth at an event. So he decided to build his own… only it didn’t turn out how he thought it would. “It was just heavy and clunky and took 40 minutes to set up,” Ben says. “I just called one of my friends and said, ‘Dude, there’s got to be something better than this.’’
That something better would be Ben’s concept-come-to-life — Gifyyy. And if he wanted it bad enough to make it for himself, there were bound to be other photographers that needed something like Gifyyy as well.
An Easy-To-Use Photo Booth Solution
Ben takes great pride in how he was able to take something as complex as a photo booth and turn it into an easy-to-use solution for photographers world wide. “In my experience, photographers do not like to deal with complex things — they’re already really busy people.”
Ben thinks photographers thrive when their business processes stay very simple. “It’s kind of like outsourcing photo editing,” he says. “Once you figure out how to edit an image, it becomes a very monotonous experience.”
Ben says most photographers don’t know how complicated photo booths are until they set one up. “They’re heavy. They weigh a lot. And they require a lot of training.”
So Ben has taken this complex thing and turned it into a product that is super streamlined. “You’re not dealing with digital SLRs, sync cables, lights or all that stuff.”
What You Get with Gifyyy
When you purchase the Gifyyy photo booth package, there are two types of components you’ll receive — hardware and software.
There’s the iPad software license to be paired with the Gifyyy iPad app. “Then you get the LED ring light, these beautiful, hand-made wooden legs — which is kind of our signature look. And then there’s this really beautifully crafted carrying bag as well.”
But the real meat of Gifyyy is the web account, where you can manage your branding, overlays, settings and event galleries.
“Because the pictures have to go somewhere,” says Ben, since Gifyyy doesn’t use printers. “So people will create a fun little image on the Gifyyy app, Gifyyy creates the image or boomerang style animated GIF, the app asks for their number and then the only way to receive the photos is via text message.”
The Future of Gifyyy in Wedding Photography
Back when Ben started Gifyyy, no one could really imagine a photo booth powered by an iPad. But the iPad is what makes Gifyyy so versatile and easy to use!
“I think tech does get very complex, and that will lose a lot of people’s interest right away,” he says. “For me, successful technology is really about the simplicity.”
As for the text messaging of the photos and GIFs, a lot of photographers weren’t on board at first. Ben’s company definitely lost some sales at the start because of the lack of printing. “Over time, texting the photos and GIFs has become way more accepted,” Ben says. “And it doesn’t really matter if it’s an iPad because iPads are so powerful now.
When asked about his plans for the future of his software, Ben wants to continue on with the simplicity. “I don’t think it’s really successful giving people too many options,” he says. And it’s true — the photo booth has always been an incredibly simple concept. “You jump in — snap snap snap — and then you’re out the door, man. At the end of the day, that’s what’s great about photo booths — the quick, simple fun.”
How to Use Gifyyy
When it comes to wedding photographers strategically using Gifyyy, Ben says using it to spice up a photography package is a great way to close with potential clients. “Some people just make their packages more valuable with the photo booth.” But Ben has also seen success with making it a separate cost as well, sometimes valued at $400-$600 an event.
Aside from Gifyyy, Ben also runs ZippyBooth for Chicago photographers who don’t want to buy their own photo booth set up. With ZippyBooth, photographers get the iPad set up with ring light and the Gifyyy software, as well as dedicated ZippyBooth staff to come in, set it up and break it down for the event. Ben says ZippyBooth does about 150 rentals a year and he’s excited to see where this company goes as well.
So be sure to check out ZippyBooth if you live in the Chicago area. But if you’re looking to make the photo booth a more permanent mainstay at the weddings you shoot, we highly recommend checking out Gifyyy.
And a BIG thanks to Ben for taking the time to chat with us about his awesome photo booth companies. We urge you to not only check out Ben’s photo booth companies, but also his photography website — This Is Feeling Photography to see some of the amazing wedding photos Ben and his team capture. And we can’t wait to see how his now-simplified photo booth machines will change the way wedding guests interact with wedding photography!
Written by James Saenz