Jenoa Lineberger was a sophomore in high school when she attended a wedding that sparked an idea for a future company.
She’s 20 now, and that glimmer of an idea has become Phobooth, a company that is doubling in business each year and has bookings reaching into 2013.
Phobooth looks just like the standard photo booth at the mall, but it produces portrait-quality photos taken with a professional-grade camera.
The company was born in 2007 after Lineberger and her older brother, Taylor McKnight, attended an October wedding at which a photo booth was provided for entertainment.
“The photo quality was bad. I knew I wanted to give a better photo for a decent price,” Lineberger says.
For Lineberger, it was important to make the booth small enough to fit in a compact vehicle, since she drives a Honda Civic.
“In the beginning, the booth was horrible. It was just a black box,” she said. “We wanted our booth to match the quality of our photos.”
Lineberger’s father, Myles Lineberger, built all six of the booths that Phobooth now owns.
“We take pride in being a family business,” Jenoa Lineberger says. All seven employees are either friends or family members.
In addition to the photo booth, Phobooth also provides a variety of props. Visitors can throw up peace signs, don a monkey hat or wear a gladiator helmet. A special package even allows people to request certain props for the event.
After entering the booth, your photos are automatically taken at four-second intervals. You get four poses per Phobooth print. The basic package is $699 and includes unlimited photos for three hours, a photo disc and props.
Since the photo booth runs automatically, the company has a permanent installation at Do Art at 3429 W. University Ave. Photos are included in Do Art’s admission price of $9 for adults and $6 for children under 12.
What you won’t find at Phobooth are the traditional strip-style pictures. Phobooth pictures are printed on 4×6 photo paper.
“With the strip, the photos lose quality,” Jenoa Lineberger says. “It’s all about the pictures and being able to see yourself in them.”
The company has recently expanded across Florida and into Georgia. When they started, the Linebergers promoted the company mainly by attending wedding expos, meeting with event planners and building relationships with University of Florida organizations.
She says she prefers to book weddings at least two months in advance. However, it’s never too late to check for an opening in the Phobooth schedule, she says.
In the beginning, the Linebergers worried about how the economy might impact sales. Despite the downturned economy, bookings are up. “People don’t stop getting married,” Lineberger says.