Audio: Listen to how a photographer and digital product developer came together to create a futuristic photobooth using SimpleTexting’s API.
Benjamin Chernivsky is a full-time wedding photographer based in Chicago. Over the last several years, he and his team have photographed hundreds of weddings. His photos are breathttaking—but often times his clients come to him with another request: they want a photobooth at their wedding.
Ben wanted to provide photobooths as an additional service. But at the time, all of the DIY photobooths on the market were bulky and complicated. Plus, they required hiring additional help to stand by the booth and run it. Overall, they were just too costly and too complex. He knew there had to be a better solution.
Ben called his college roommate, David Miller, who worked in London as a freelance digital product designer. Together, they created Gifyyy.
Creating a Simple, Lightweight Photobooth
Ben and David knew that the ideal photobooth had a to be quick to set up, easy to carry and fun to use. Printing instant photos requires heavy, expensive equipment, so they quickly ditched that idea and settled on animated GIFs instead. These looping clips aren’t just entertaining, they’ve practically become the official language of the internet.
In 2015, David flew to Chicago to put together an initial prototype of their futuristic photobooth. And in a couple of weeks, the first Gifyyy was born. The device consists of an iPad, a custom-built wooden tripod, and an LED ring light. That’s it. It’s 100% automated and only takes five minutes to set up.
When a guest walks up to Gifyyy, they click a button. The iPad takes a series of photos, stitches them together, then the guest receives the option to have their GIF delivered by text or shared to Facebook or Twitter.
Sure enough, Gifyyy was a successful addition to Ben’s wedding photography company. Then they saw the bigger picture: Gifyyy was made to grow beyond being used for just one studio. David and Ben began to sell Gifyyy units to other wedding photographers and small business owners.
Integrating with the SimpleTexting API
From the beginning, David knew he wanted to use SMS to deliver the photos to event guests.
“We wanted a way to send things to people that was going to be quicker and less fiddly than having people pick out an email address on an iPad keyboard,” he explains.
Gifyyy was working with another SMS platform, sending their messages via a 10-digit number, but some customers weren’t receiving their photos. That’s when David started shopping around for a short code provider and decided on SimpleTexting.
“You guys were able to offer us the shortest onboarding time. Our users started reporting problems with message delivery on Wednesday and we managed to switch over to you guys by Saturday. You guys made the transition very simple.”
Beyond the Booth: An Online Platform with SMS Capabilities
Gifyyy comes with a web platform where owners can pair the Gifyyy iPad app with their account, host their galleries, track event progress, and more. This online software is plugged directly into SimpleTexting.
“There are two things we do with [the SimpleTexting API],” explains David. “One is, someone uses the photobooth and they immediately get a text message, if they put in their number, with a URL to go and view the image they just made.”
And the second SMS-enabled capability? Gifyyy’s platform lets photobooth operators send up to three bulk text messages per event to everyone who entered their phone number.
For example, a few days after a wedding, the photobooth operator can send out a link to the gallery with all of the GIFs. A few weeks later, they may send out a link to all of the photographs they shot themselves.
“For the photographer, it becomes a really neat way to get their work in front of some new people. For the people who use the photobooth, it’s a really cool opportunity to receive media content they’re going to be invested in emotionally,” says David.
From One Studio to Around the World
SimpleTexting helps reliably deliver Gifyyy’s content in the U.S. and Canada, but Gifyyy has become an international product. What started as an idea between two college roommates is now a real photobooth beloved by photographers all around the world. Want to impress guests at your next event? Head to the Gifyyy website and buy yourself a booth. Want to build a digital product with the ability to send photos and text via SMS? We’ve got you covered.