Planning a wedding can often be a stressful experience. One husband-and-wife team has an easy solution to relieve the stress with their business, Bay Area Fotowagen.
The Brentwood entrepreneurs, Eric and Janel Behne, converted a 1971 Volkswagen Microbus into a photo booth that is portable and can be set up outside any wedding event, such as the ceremony itself or a wedding reception. Inside the van, wedding guests can have photographs taken by a professional camera. The photos are four-photo photo strips. Each guest who has their pictures taken will receive a copy and the wedding couple will also receive each copy in the form of a photobook saved on a flash drive at the end of the event.
“Ninety five percent of our business comes from weddings,” said Eric Behne. “Business has really picked up since COVID started and this year we are booked well into 2022.”
Behne got the idea to start this business after he and his wife restored a 1961 Volkswagen Beetle.
“We thought a microbus would make a perfect, mobile photo studio,” he said.
The couple looked online to find a classic Microbus. They found the 1971 van in New Hampshire.
“The Microbus was less expensive there than in California because they’re not as popular,” he said.
Eric Behne said he shipped the stock, original Microbus to California and went to work on restoring the interior. He said the couple built a custom interior complete with hardwood flooring and a bench for people to sit on while having they’re pictures taken. He said he also installed a big video screen inside the bus so people could view their pictures.
The Behnes started the business with very little advertising and business rapidly picked up through word of mouth. The Behnes have photographed weddings all over the Greater Bay Area, including the North, South and East Bay Area. They have also provided their service to events in the Napa wine country. He said the first year, in 2015, Bay Area Fotowagen reserved about eight weddings and they expect to book at least 30 events in the coming year.
The cost to hire Bay Area Fotowagen varies between $1,200-$1,800 depending on the size of the event and how far they have to travel.
“Bay Area Fotowagen was born from equal parts passion and desire, according to the company website. “While making plans for our own wedding day, we knew we wanted to have a great photo booth to capture memories with our friends and family. After all, it’s a great way to provide our guests with a photo keepsake and memorable images for us as well. We quickly concluded that the typical booths leave something to be desired.”
Those interested in hiring Bay Area Fotowagen for their wedding events can contact Janel Behne at 925-354-6382 or through the company’s website at bayareafotowagen.com