Halifax photographer opens first 'pro photo booth'

Local photographer Sue Siri sits inside her new Iris Photo Booth on Wednesday.

Sue Siri’s Iris Booth offers a professional camera, lighting and resolution – without the studio costs.


Looking for a snazzy new headshot for your LinkedIn page, but you don’t have the cash for a professional studio session?

A new business in Halifax may have the solution.

Iris Booth is the world’s first “pro photo booth” – like the old school kind, but with a professional camera, professional lighting, and high-resolution results.

“We’ve condensed professional photography into a booth,” said Iris creator and owner Sue Siri, just minutes after opening her first booth Wednesday at Sophie’s Place on Spring Garden Road.

Siri has been a professional photographer for nearly 30 years, and a little over a year ago, she started getting tired of lugging around all her heavy photo gear, and came up with the idea.

She started working on a prototype with the help of Dalhousie University’s Innovation in Design lab (iDLab) or the Nova Scotia Product Design and Development Centre (NSPPDC), and got a beta version up and running.

She’s since refined the booths, finding a way to use locally-sourced materials, and now, the Iris Booth is ready for its close-up.

It looks nothing like the old, dark, curtained photo booths of years past; it’s bigger, brighter, and a lot more high-tech.

To get in the booth, you go to a website, create an account and pay $20. The site generates a QR code, and a web camera on the outside of the booth scans it, and opens the door.

Inside, a screen below the lens shows you how you look.

After fixing your hair, you take six photos using a pedal at your feet to click the shutter.

You can edit the photos – whiten your teeth, remove a pimple or add a filter – and then they’re sent directly to your smartphone.

The photos look like they were shot and edited by a professional photographer, but the process is like taking a selfie on an iPhone.

“I think that’s a huge incentive: just the fact that you’re in control of your image,” Siri said.

Siri’s hoping to install two more of the booths in Halifax early in the New Year, and she’s already looking at Toronto and New York for potential expansion.

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