41 years in photography and I got the shirts to prove it.
4 decades working in photography, 13 and a half in boothing and the industry expert on printing solutions, what Bill Vahrenkamp, from Imaging Spectrum does not know about the industry is not worth knowing. No one can collect the number of free shirts he has without learning something along the way.
Bill got started in the industry whilst still at High School
“Where I spent three hours per day studying photography and was made photo editor of the yearbook in my Senior Year. I shot my first wedding 41 years ago while still a Senior. I covered my first Santa event in 1985 and began running regular events in 1986.”
“I began researching photo booths a number of years ago, and spent a long time researching the software and how they would add value to my events and weddings. I ran my first photobooth 2 days after Thanksgiving 13 and a half years ago and have not stopped since.”
So given Bill’s experience and his current role in Imaging Spectrum, supplying printing solutions, we wanted his take on the current supply chain issues for printing materials and what advice he has to boothers trying to navigate those.
“There are supply issues in Asia at the moment with the microchip which is used in the ribbons and printers which is causing a shortage. Once those issues are solved then they have to get put on a ship, sent to US, clear customs, sent to manufacturers and then the supplier before it is fully resolved so it could take some time. My hope is that by June we might start to see some normality back, but customers will not be able to buy ten boxes at once, it might be one at a time to stay afloat initially but it will get better. I cannot tell you how difficult it is when a customer calls to order something they need to make money and I cannot sell it because I don’t have the stock. I hope it will be resolved soon.”
“Supply issues also mean a lot of printers are out of stock and Mitsibushi leaving the market a number of years ago was disappointing as they had some good printers. Currently the DNP620 is probably the fastest and best option but it is expensive at $795. The RX1HS is also a good option at approx. $600, or there are Citizen Printers available in the UK and Asia at a good price.”
So what advice does Bill have for those relatively new to the industry?
“In 41 years, I have never NOT had two of each piece of equipment at any event. Two cameras, two laptops, two printers. Therefore, if something goes wrong, you can still deliver for the client.”
Also get the right software, Darkroom Booth has been operating for nine years now and does most the setup for you. It is really easy to set up the templates. I am a professional, I need to use DSLR Cameras, I need good lighting and I need good software, that is important to me.”
“Also don’t mix business with pleasure, I am a professional, I never drink on a job. Although, when you are photographing a microbrewery, they REALLY want you to have a drink, so it would be rude not to.”
Given all his experience and enthusiasm for photography, Bill’s eyes really light up when he discusses his shirt collection.
“I am not shy about asking a vendor for a shirt and I have quite a collection. I love wearing them, although my Photo Booth Marketing shirts are favourites of mine. I accidentally met these guys by getting in the wrong limo at PBX and the rest was history. Their 2020 tee is a particular favourite.”
Bill’s career in the industry will continue to inspire and influence boothers for some time to come. He is more than willing to share his wisdom to anyone who asks.
Just don’t ask him to sell you a t-shirt.