Founded in early 2016, PicTokyo started as a side hustle for its two co-founders: Shoji Yamada, a financial product controller for Bank of America, and his childhood friend Daniel Tang, an English teacher with a passion for photography. Reuniting in Tokyo at an izakaya, the two California-raised childhood friends commiserated over their lives as salarymen in Japan. Later reminiscing about his days in the United States, Shoji realized that there was a gap in the Japanese market. Unlike back home, events in Japan didn’t often feature the photo booths that everyone seems to love in the States.
Seeing an opportunity, Shoji and his co-founder began PicTokyo as a passion project, initially starting as a wedding photo booth rental company targeting foreigners. After PicTokyo’s first wedding event, they received overwhelmingly positive feedback and new clients. Soon, they expanded their service to all events: corporate, school and social.
From Side Hustle to Success
After years of providing high-quality photo booth experiences to all kinds of events, PicTokyo’s popularity has only continued to grow. Shoji—who has gone on to be the sole proprietor of the business since Daniel returned to Los Angeles during the pandemic—credits this success to his customers' continued happiness and satisfaction with his services and all that’s offered. One of PicTokyo’s most distinguished features is the print-on-the-spot photos provided with the SHOT - DSLR Photo Booth, which allows customers to not only physically receive their pictures in mere seconds, but also fully customize the design, layout, and overall look. Beyond just the ability to fully customize the photo, users may also choose what type of shot they’d like, be it still, boomerang, gif, or even video, which can be shot for up to 120 seconds.
PicTokyo Offers Two Types of Photo Booths, the SNAP and the SHOT:
- The SNAP booth is tailored more towards casual events with lower budgets, as it uses a tablet rather than a professional camera and just offers digital photos. However, with over 330 LEDs, different shooting options, and a compact design, the SNAP is a favorite for smaller parties.
- The SHOT booth, built to impress, is equipped with a professional DSLR camera and studio-quality lighting, providing perfect photos every time. The SHOT booth is perfect for events you want to remember forever, as it offers on-sight customizable printouts of photos.
No matter the event, PicTokyo can offer the perfect photo booth to fit your needs, and despite being founded in Tokyo, they’ve traveled throughout Japan for a variety of unique events.
The one constant, no matter the size of the event, is Shoji’s attentive service, which starts with a consultation with his clients before planning how the photo booths will be used. This lets customers explain all of the details of the event, and explain exactly what they’re looking for. This attention to detail from the beginning has helped PicTokyo generate buzz and plenty of customers thanks to word of mouth.
PicTokyo’s Past & Future
Seven years later, PicTokyo’s photobooths have been used for a variety of events, from weddings of just 50 guests to a 10,000-guest, two-day event. They’ve been employed at graduations, corporate parties, and of course, weddings. One of their favorite events was an international wedding where a traditional Japanese wedding at the shrine was followed by a French, lavender flower-themed wedding in the evening, and the photos turned out amazing.
Throughout our conversation with Shoji, we were able to see first-hand his genuine passion for PicTokyo. “I look forward to these events because it’s just nice to see everybody being so happy. And being able to join a really nice corporate event or wedding … It’s just a really nice feeling to see people smile,” he says. We believe that it is this passion that has driven Shoji’s success so far, and it is what will continue the growth and success of PicTokyo.
Today, PicTokyo is a company on the rise, providing its services to events ranging from intimate gatherings to large-scale corporate events. With its fully customizable options, attentive service, and top-notch technology, PicTokyo makes it easy to add a special touch and a spark of joy to any event.
To find out more about PicTokyo, visit https://www.pictokyo.jp/.