Today we’d like to introduce you to Adam Kleifield.
Adam, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My immersion into photography started when I took a Santa Monica City College photo class. From there I eventually transferred to Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. All the while I worked odd photography-related jobs, shooting everything from graduations to weddings to bands. After Brooks, I came back to LA and got involved in the commercial photo industry, assisting many established photographers on advertising and editorial shoots of all shapes and sizes.
In 2009, I bumped into my old Brooks friend Jeremie, who is also from Los Angeles, at a friend’s birthday party. Jeremie had set up a sort of crude “photo booth” by connecting a camera with a remote trigger to the TV in the living room. It was a primitive setup, but everyone went nuts over it. At some point during the party I pulled Jeremie aside and told him, “we should turn this into a business.”
A couple months later, Snap Yourself! was born. Between Jeremie and myself, we already had most of the necessary equipment, as well as the skills, to create an event photography experience the way that we envisioned it. The very first event we worked was a dance marathon at UCLA.
Our first year, we would do any gig that came our way in order to get the word out. We found ourselves working in freight elevators, back yards, and in the middle of the street downtown running off of a car battery during the first CicLAvia. We did roughly 18 gigs that year. The next year, we did over 150. Now, over one thousand events later, we’ve expanded to operate in five different cities across four states.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Learning everything that goes into running a real business has been a huge and never ending challenge. As a business owner, at this point photography is only a tiny fraction of what I actually do. I had to learn everything about how to run a business, from bookkeeping to sales to hiring practices to taxes and licenses.
Building a great team of employees has been especially challenging. It took me a long time to learn how to find the right people for the job, but now we have a great team of photographers, assistants, and many others.
Being a small business owner also means you’re constantly putting out fires. I’ve lost count of how many disasters we just barely averted. Thankfully they seem to happen less and less as we gain more experience and learn from our many mistakes.
Snap Yourself! – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
There are more photo booths out there than ever before, so it’s important for us to continue to set ourselves apart. We bring a discerning eye and professional techniques from our respective backgrounds to the concept of the photo booth. Our technical and artistic proficiency is the most immediate thing that sets us apart – it allows us to pull off shots that no prefab photo booth could ever achieve.
But a Snap Yourself! booth is more than just a place to take a picture. It’s an experience. Our booths inevitably become the center of the party. We’ve noticed that being in the booth really brings out creativity and joy in many people. We love how every Snap Yourself! booth creates a space where people feel free to express themselves and have a really great time.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Running Snap Yourself! has given me more incredible opportunities than I would have ever expected. Just recently we got to be involved with several exclusive events for the rebooted Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV series. I’ve loved the show since I was a teenager, so it was pretty special to be a part of.
However, nothing beats looking back through our archives of images and being amazed at all the evidence of fun and creativity. I’m proud that we get to constantly spread joy in our own little way.
- Prices range from $895 to $1995 for most private events.
- Website: http://www.snapyourself.com
- Phone: 323.596.1456
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @snapyourself
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/snapyourself
- Yelp: http://yelp.com/biz/snap-yourself-los-angeles
Snap Yourself, Inc.