Where will the photos be posted? Never ask again with Phototwine

January 8, 2013

9:00 am

Don’t forget to tag me in that later! Can you text that to me? Where will the photos be posted?… are some commonly heard lines at parties, weddings, and many other events. More often than not, the person you said it to, forgets to tag or send you a link later regardless of how many times you reminded them. So, you never get to see those awesome unforgettable moments, unless you track them down (too bad they didn’t teach bounty hunting skills in school). Now I bet you wish there was a solution to that problem, right? Well now there is for iOS: Phototwine.

Tech Cocktail: What is Phototwine?

Phototwine: Phototwine, a startup from Perrysburg, Ohio, is a collaborative event photography app for iOS. Phototwine is a photo sharing app for anyone who wants to see all of the photos at any event in one place. Weddings, family reunions, large fundraisers – and any event in between – are perfect for Phototwine. The host creates an event, gets a unique code to share, and everyone downloads the app and joins for free. Then you see all of the photos live as they are taken. In addition, the photos are uploaded to an online gallery to like, share, tweet, or print your photos. These galleries are integrated with SmugMug for those looking to get tangible prints after the event, as well. Think of it as a modernized rendition of the disposable camera placed at each table during a wedding.

Tech Cocktail: What problem does your product try and solve?

Phototwine: The problem Phototwine solves is it allows anyone at an event to view all of the photos taken at the event live as they are taken. Too many times I witnessed everyone taking photos with their phone at weddings that the bride and groom never see. The host of events sees the event from others’ perspectives.

Tech Cocktail: Who are the founders?

Phototwine (Aaron Harwell, Founder): I am a Firefighter/Paramedic for the city I live in. I am also a former wedding photographer who moved into the photo booth space after our two children were born.

Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind your startup?

Phototwine: It all started from a wedding…. no not our kids – well, ok them too. We used to run a photo booth and attended events of all kinds, but it was the weddings that sparked the idea for Phototwine. Everyone would leave the photo booth and immediately start taking photos with their smartphones. I quickly realized that everyone was using their phones to take lots of photos that the bride never gets to see. For our wedding, we knew we wanted to see all of the photos everyone was taking at our wedding, so we put out disposable cameras on all of the tables to see our guests’ perspectives. Well, that didn’t work out so well. I actually think we still have four disposable cameras left over that still had about 8 photos left to take. They were expensive to buy, expensive to develop, and they never had the quality you expected. Phototwine brings the disposable camera to the 21st century and makes it social. In addition to the fact that your iPhone is way sexier than any disposable camera, you can also leave a comment on your photo or any other photo and watch as others do the same.

Watching this idea I had almost two years ago become reality has been the most enjoyable part of working on this project.

Tech Cocktail: Who is your greatest competitor, and how do you differentiate yourself?

Phototwine: The “800-pound gorilla” used to be Hipstamatic Disposable, but for some reason they just pulled the app from the website. So, in walks another gorilla from Bump called Flock – great concept, never used it, and that is because I created Phototwine, Duh! However, the advantage Phototwine has is that anyone can join your event. Not just your Facebook friends. I am pretty sure you may not be Facebook friends with everyone at the weddings you attend.

Another niche product in the space is Wedding Snap. Again, never used it, but I get it. One of the biggest areas where Phototwine  is different is because you do not stop using our app after the wedding. The biggest plus is price. It costs upwards of $249.00 to create a gallery in Wedding Snap. Phototwine is like $247.01 cheaper. Our galleries range between free and $1.99.

Tech Cocktail: What is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of starting up in your city?

Phototwine: One of the biggest challenges of starting up in the Toledo area is well, it’s not California or New York. Another problem may be the stigma of “The Rust Belt” because we grew from the automobile and steel industries. However, I have seen a real renaissance in the area. I have recently met a lot of forward thinkers, and I love what the Rust Belt stands for. We have a history of hard working people, and that is helping to move the Midwest forward. I see Tech growing exponentially around here in the near future. Also, companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook have leveled the playing field and given everyone the opportunity to sell their wares to everyone. In addition, Tech Cocktail is giving entrepreneurs from Perrysburg Ohio a platform and media coverage that is much needed to small companies outside the big cities.

Tech Cocktail: Describe a challenging moment or a crucial decision for your startup. How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?

Phototwine: I have to say the deciding moment had to be when we received a letter from an attorney telling us to cease and desist the use of our old name iParty Booth. That was the name of the one photo booth I ran in Perrysburg. It was also going to be the name of the app which originally had a more photo booth feel to it. We quickly had to come up with another name and Phototwine was born. The name change also made us pivot and within a week we had a new design, user interface, and functionality. There are always bumps in the road; you may even fall down from them. Falling down is not a problem if you get back up, dust yourself off, and get moving again.

Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about you, your team, or your office culture?

Phototwine: I do not know how quirky it is, but I have zero computer skills! It took me about three days to hunt and peck on a keyboard to answer these interview questions. However, I have ran into burning buildings and have done plenty of CPR though. I humbly work as a Firefighter/Paramedic for the city I live in, and now somehow I am now the proud owner of an iOS app.


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Jeff Tong is a social media strategist in Washington DC and has been a long-time contributor at Tech Cocktail. You'll find Jeff at tech events, foodie hangouts, and possibly snorkeling somewhere tropical. Contact Jeff online at @gundamwing4132 or jefftong@tech.co.

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