Laura Cartledge meets a company that is putting a new spin on event photography.
Television is always blamed for being a bad influence, but one Worthing couple prove this is not always the case.
“We were watching George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces,” reveals Angela Hector, who runs Caravan Photobooth.
“I charge him with the fact we bought the caravan in the first place.”
Having been a wedding photographer for more than ten years Angela, along with husband Gary, were at the point where they were wanting to mix things up a little.
“We’d seen lots of booths and thought we had a different way of doing it,” she admits.
“Finding Rosie was perfect, it worked out beautifully. It had been done up by two local ladies, we just had to convert it.”
That was back in August 2013. By the end of the month the work was done and Rosie was already attracting attention.
A year later, in 2014, they had 23 bookings and the couple haven’t looked back since – something Angela credits to the growing trend of people moving away from the traditional, and more formal, big day.
“The wedding industry does feel like it has reinvented itself from being quite formulaic to being out there,” says Angela.
“We appeal to those people who want something different.
“I think the change has been in the last couple of years,” she adds. “The feedback we get when people are booking is ‘it is amazing’ ‘it will be such a buzz’ – and we get that at the weddings as well.”
However Angela admits the amount of choice means she doesn’t envy modern brides.
“It must be hard for them now to find something that their friends haven’t had,” she explains.
“But it’s great, brides are taking more of a control of their weddings, rather than letting big venues take over – and that is where we come in.”
While Rosie offers a strong nod to the vintage style, the caravan seems to suit a variety of themes.
“We’ve been in fields and in the shadow of tipis and it looks perfect,” Angela reveals.
“People are getting so many great ideas. It’s lovely for festival weddings and barn weddings, it fits in nicely.
“When we were doing wedding photography we saw it all,” she recalls, “we did over 600 weddings between the two of us.”
Now Angela believes she has ‘the best of both worlds’ as she is able to still work in the world she loves, but without the time and stress which comes with being a stand and shoot photographer.
“It’s not a bad place to work – everyone is so happy,” she confesses.
“It’s quite flexible too, I do end up working on Saturday nights but I have two kids so I don’t go out on a Saturday night anyway. And this way I get all day at home with them.”
The fun factor, beautiful appearance and charm of the caravan are undoubtedly enough to make it brilliant, but there is one special feature which takes it a step further.
After guests have been in, hats, wigs and silly glasses have been put on and snaps have been taken two photobooth strips are instantly printed.
One of the strips is for them to keep, while the other can be used to make a great guest book.
“You know what guest books are like, usually no-one knows what to write,” says Angela, “but when people come out with a photo and are buzzing they leave the best messages.”
Plus Angela and Gary provide a table with glue and pens so the photos can be stuck in straight away, making it a fabulous keepsake.
But happy couples have been known to give this part their own twist…
“I had a wedding on December 29 and instead of the book they had a bucket of pegs so guests could put the photos on the Christmas tree,” reveals Angela.
“And we had another bride and groom who put up a washing line of them.”
Speaking to Angela it seems there isn’t a part of her ‘work’ which she doesn’t like, but does she have a favourite element?
“The bit I love is when the grandparents come in and they are wearing silly hats,” she replies.
“And when you can see the looks on the faces of those waiting outside and all they can hear is laughter – that is brilliant.”
In fact things have been going so well the photographing fleet has been extended thanks to ‘good old eBay’ which led the pair to a striking horsebox which they are working to convert.
“We are really looking forward to taking that out, we have bookings already,” Angela smiles, but adds they don’t want to get too big too quick.
“We will keep the two for this year and see how it goes – I am not ruling anything out.”
For more about the caravan and horse box photobooths, visit www.caravanphotobooth.co.uk and www.horseboxphotobooth.co.uk