Thursday, March 06, 2008

In case you live in DC and are hoping for an Amelie experience

I don’t know if you have ever tried to find a photo booth – you know, the kind that make those good old fashioned four photos in a strip things – in the District of Columbia?

I assure you, it’s no easy task.

As for the why of the photo booth hunt, let me explain. We saw these cute “save the date” cards with a couple in a photo booth holding up “save the date” signs. We thought that would be fun. And then Nick realized we could have fridge magnets made – and how much more fun would that be?

So Sunday we printed words on several pieces of paper to hold up in the photos.

With “save the date” paper in hand and dollar bills in pocket, we headed over to Union Station. We figured a train station would have a photo booth, no?


We walked into a cute clothing store, and while I looked around, Nick told the woman at the counter what we were up to. She was all congratulatory, but I felt kind of foolish.

So I made him promise he wouldn’t keep telling people at places we went to.

After scouring the entire place and asking a variety of people, all of whom said they had no idea, I called a friend of mine who said that Bar Pilar has one. Which is true – I’d forgotten that.

So we headed over to Bar Pilar, and figured that we should have a beer and then try to take the photos. So we each ordered a Magic Hat # 9 – yum – and then decided to try.

We sat down in the booth, and then realized we’d forgotten the “save” piece of paper. So we sat back down at our table, drank our beer, and decided to just use the date, and Washington, DC, and the one where we drew a heart with our initials.

With our new plan, we headed back into the booth. Only to find that it wouldn’t take our money. We asked the guy at the bar, who said it was full.

We ordered another beer. And started calling the most likely places we could think of. Like National Airport. He called Lost and Found, as he couldn’t figure out where else to call for info. They were very nice. But no photo booth anywhere in the airport.

And then he called the Chinatown bus station. And Greyhound. And malls. Just FYI – Chinatown bus has great phone service; Greyhound never answered. Neither have a photo booth. Turns out Greyhound has apparel for sale on their website.

Nick has this beautiful, deep, Southern-accented voice, and he is unfailingly polite. And it was so funny to listen to him calling places, so politely, with this totally random question and no explanation.

But anyway. We finally admitted what we were up to, and the bartender turned to one of the guys at the bar, who said he knew of a photo booth in Baltimore. And then the bartender remembered on place that might have one off Bladensburg Road. He called. They don’t open till 10.

Then another bartender said, “Hey, Asylum has one!”

So we called Asylum to ask if their photo booth was working. Both people said it was a good question, and then the woman he spoke to said she thought it was. He said we’d be over shortly to use it.

Her response was, “Sweet!”

We got there, sat down at the bar, and ordered a beer. Then pulled out our papers and headed to the photo booth.

Which didn’t take any money.

At this point, we had to ask the bartender. She looked at it, then turned it off, turned it back on, and we tried again. To no avail.

We told her what we were up to, and she texted a friend at another place to see if they had a photo booth. No luck.

Three beers was our limit, and someone at the bar suggested the theatre at Potomac Yards, so we stopped there on the way home. We asked the ticket guy if we could just go in and use the photo booth, and he let us. It turned out to be one of those sticker machines, and I was all, “Goddammit, we are getting stickers.”

If you’ve never gotten your faces on those little stickers, let me tell you something. You have to choose a theme. It includes a saying and art.

And so we? Now have a page of stickers with our faces. Surrounded by bikes and skateboards. With “Drop it like it’s hot!” written above us.

As for the save the dates – might be next weekend’s project.


  1. Great idea! Hope the save the date cards turn out well, you'll definitely have a great memory from the project.

    I love Amelie. LOVE.

    Come to Austin! Chuy's is a popular restaraunt here and each location has a photo booth. Do yall have Chuck E. Cheese?

    You could also try software, I haven't used either but have heard of both:
    Mac - Photo Booth
    PCs - Seenly,239035345,339281207,00.htm

  2. I've seen 'em at diners. In Texas.

    Try a diner. Or, as HKW says, come to Texas.

  3. HKW - I love Amelie as well! And hey - I've been to Chuy's - on my one visit to Austin! We DO have Chuck E. Cheese. Should try there. Or the software, I suppose, would be easier.

    Mark - Diners or Texas. Texas sure seems like a lot of effort for this little project.

  4. Wheaton Mall has one.

  5. This could easily, and quickly be faked using the Photo Booth software included with all recent Macs...

    There's also a piece of software called Comic Life from a company called plasq. It lets you add the comment bubbles and do silly comic layouts really easily. It also used to come with Macs, but I don't know if it does any more.


  7. The software is the way to go!

  8. What a super-cool idea! I think Bar Pilar on 14th St. has one. Good luck.


  9. oops, sorry! I just got so excited 'cause I thought I knew where one was that I didn't read the entire post...won't happen again! Still good luck finding one.


  10. Such a freaking awesome idea!! You totally have to post it here when you get it done!

    Of course, I'd love to see the stickers as well, too funny...!

  11. And then Nick realized we could have fridge magnets made – and how much more fun would that be?

    of course, by "realized" you mean "surreptitiously read in a wedding magazine" or "heard from his cousin's sister who just got married", right? because no one comes up with that idea on the fly! not even cute genius southern-accented guys! :)

    (btw, my sister had the magnets. cute enough, but i'd say don't pay any kind of premium for it - they've got a bit of shelf life, you know?)

  12. I don't know why I find the ending of this post hilarious, but I do.

    You guys are seriously cute. It's true.

  13. I've got the Photobooth software on my MAC, so I have idea. You guys can come visit next week! I know it's a bit of a trek for pictures, but it probably took you longer locally to no avail, right?

    And if you are not satisifed with them, I also know for sure where a photo booth is...within walking distance of our house!

  14. you can't send out drop it like it's hot on our wedding day save the date magnets?


    Too gauche?


  15. Kerrie - Thank you for all! If I need anything researched, can I turn to you first? You completely rock.

    VVK - Yah, one of my colleagues said she could do this on her Mac at home. As for the comics, hilarious! I wonder what else we could do with that?

    Alexandra - That seems to be consensus...

    Jen - That's OK - thanks for reading and thanks for commenting! :)

    BB - I will, I certainly will! As for the stickers, I wish I'd put up a pic when I posted this. Maybe I can use them on something else.

    kate.d. - By "realized" I meant that he actually read the text on a link of pics I sent him and said, "Hey, they make these things into magnets!" Thanks for the input - I think you are right in not spending too much on those.

    Rick - Ahh, thank you! :)

    Janie - That would be such a fun trip! But we both have busy busy weekends this weekend. But otherwise, yes, that would've been less time than our beer and booth tour of DC.

    SD - I would LOVE to, truly I would!

  16. I know this is a long shot, but the Smithsonian American History museum used to have one... perhaps give them a call?

  17. Personally, I think that even though I am not getting a STD from you, that I want one with the drop it like it's hot picture.

    Just because I would look at it everyday on my fridge and crack up.

  18. Hilarious, Lisa.. seriously..

  19. That is way more dedication to finding a photo booth than I think I've EVER HEARD! (I see your other commenters mentioned using software, and that's exactly what I was thinking when I read the post. The quality of the photos would probably be better, too!)


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