Tell us a little about yourself your upbringing
“I am an only child. I grew up in Bakersfield, CA and my dad’s background is an agriculture. Extremely mechanically inclined. He could fix anything. Build anything and that’s where I learned all of the skills and knowledge working with tools, so on and so forth. It was definitely from my dad.
My mom, on the other hand, had a love for photography. So, it’s kind of funny that I have combined both of their strengths. She essentially always had a camera in her hand throughout life and obviously film. Extremely outgoing, personable, life of the party, and extremely genuine in her desire to bring joy to others.
Being an only child, I was, and still am, very close with my parents. So, we have a good relationship and I think pulling from each of them, from one way or another, led me to what I’m doing now.”
Did you get a degree in photography or agriculture to follow in your parents’ footsteps?
“As far as my education, I went to UCLA for undergrad and grad school. Undergrad I studied Civil Engineering. I did remain at UCLA for my Masters in GeoTechnical Engineering, which is foundation or earthquake engineering. So, in California obviously it was very applicable.
It was at UCLA and really my senior year of high school, where my love of music and love of events grew into a mobile DJ business. Essentially, by the time I got to UCLA my freshman year, it was then that I bought my first professional sound system to be used at events. We did campus life parties in the dorms for students and throughout college progressed to doing a vast majority of the fraternity and sorority parties at UCLA.
I attended UCLA undergrad from ’98 to ’02 and then I was there and finished up in June of ’03 for my Masters.
In college, focusing on DJing as my job was great. I was at the parties. I was in control and obviously had a lot of fun and I’d wake up with a check. So, you know it was great getting paid to do that and to experience that.”
Sounds like a blast. After you graduated, how did this carry over to Open Air Photobooth today?
“After college, I traveled a little bit and decided Santa Barbra was the place for me. I reached out to a couple of engineering companies and had my first job in a GeoTechnical engineering firm. I actually at this time decided that with my music and love of events, honed my skills and became a wedding DJ and also provide live entertainment for wedding, and corporate events, as well, but mostly weddings. Continued down the path of living in Santa Barbra, engineering by day and DJing by nights and weekends. Predominately stayed a single-op DJ because a lot of people wanted me specifically (Nick said with a sense of humility and gratitude). When it comes to DJing, a lot of it is personality, professionalism, dependability, etc.
It was in 2007-2008 where I worked at a couple of venues specifically in the LA and Malibu area where I’d see mall-style photobooths being rolled into the venues. These massive boxes, three or four guys moving it out of a box truck or trailer, and I wanted to learn about what they were doing. I talked to the guys and learned they were renting them out for at least $1,500 a night, so in my mind I could essentially double my income by the same number of gigs. The things I didn’t like about it was very big, very heavy. The image quality wasn’t that great and for a lot of venues I knew it wouldn’t work.
I researched online and there wasn’t really anything out there, so I put my engineering cap on, came up with the design and went to my dad and said, “okay, we’ve got something to build.” This was about mid-2008 and at that time, the Open Air Photobooth was born. Toward the end of 2008, I was taking it to events and people were blown away by it. The image quality, the versatility and the portability.
It’s funny because even the flagship Open Air Photobooth that you’ll see on our website is actually smaller than the original set of cases that my dad and I built.”
Open Air Photobooth is coming up to a decade from the inception of the company to today and is taking over the entertainment industry. Be sure to check out the various photobooth options for parties, events and much more on the Products section of our website.
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