In a classic wedding photograph, bride Brittany Powell and her husband, Lyndon, are posed standing under a shady tree outside the River Lodge in Fortuna. She wears a stunning white gown, a strand of pearls and drop earrings, while he dons a classic gray suit, purple tie and a corsage that complements Brittany’s bouquet.

“It’ll be nice looking back at our photos,” said Lyndon Powell, reminiscing about the couple’s wedding day on Sept. 6, 2014. “We’re going to see our formal photos and remember how romantic it was, but then we can look at these pictures and we’ll see we had a lot of fun, too.”

In one of “these pictures,” Lyndon sports red shades, an English bobby helmet and a faux frown while Brittany Powell wears oversized orange sunglasses and a goofy grin. Their friends are clustered behind the couple, making similarly silly faces.

These images are the product of a fun, fast-growing wedding trend: the photo booth. Photo booths blend something old with something new. They harken back to a day when kids would pile into vintage photo booths at arcades and fairs for some photographic fun. The booths also feed people’s love of snappy selfies.

click to enlarge Lyndon and Brittany Powell ham it up in a Sunny Nights photo booth - at their wedding. Guests Ashley Pearce, Carolyn Barnhart and Jenna Barnhart photobomb from behind. - SUNNY NIGHTS PHOTO BOOTH
  • Sunny Nights Photo Booth
  • Lyndon and Brittany Powell ham it up in a Sunny Nights photo booth at their wedding. Guests Ashley Pearce, Carolyn Barnhart and Jenna Barnhart photobomb from behind.

Humboldt County is home to several photo booth companies. The Powells used Sunny Nights Photobooth, run by local pastors Jason and Bethany Cseh. Their handcrafted booths have a bench inside for folks to sit on and several windows behind the seating area through which guests can stick their heads to make cameo appearances. Once inside the booth, all a person has to do is press a button on the automated camera and strike a pose. Within seconds, the photo machine shoots out strips of small pictures — instant wedding memories.

To add to the fun, Sunny Nights offers a bunch of props that people can use to enhance their photos — from wild hats, bow ties and glasses to fake moustaches, Mardi Gras masks and more.

“One of things that happens inside a photo booth is people lose themselves,” Jason Cseh said. “No one else can see them. They forget who they are for a little while and they totally let loose and have fun.”

Kacy Curtis and Sean Knife started their photo booth business, Forget-Me-Not Photo, in January 2009. A massage therapist by trade, Curtis was inspired to start the new business after going to her best friend’s wedding and seeing all the fun guests had at the photo booth there.

“I started researching it and decided that was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen,” Curtis said. Several months later, she and Knife launched Forget-Me-Not Photo. Today, they have three booths and participate in weddings and other special celebrations from San Francisco to Portland.

“My most favorite part of the photo booth is when I’m standing outside of it and it’s closed and you can hear them laughing inside,” she said. “It just warms my heart. I feel really blessed to be able to be the facilitator of holding that space for people to just have a great time.”

In Humboldt County, photo booth rental prices range between $500 and $700 for a few hours at an event. The price includes delivery and set up, an on-site photo booth attendant, photo printing and props to kick things up. Extra charges apply for things like additional hours, a flash drive with high-resolution images or a video keepsake of the event.

The Powells had a ball with the photo booth at their wedding and recommend it to everyone.

“It was the hit of the wedding,” Brittany said. “The best thing is seeing the pictures after the fact and seeing what a good time everyone had. And, everyone gets to take these pictures home.”
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