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Photo Bus KC

For John Deprisco, there’s something incredibly special about a photograph.

“Everyone cherishes a good photo,” John says. 

He is the owner of The Photo Bus, which offers a variety of different photo booth experiences. You can find his red and blue Volkswagen buses turned photo booths around big and small events in the Kansas City metro. 

No matter the event, he has some type of photo booth experience that will be a perfect fit. 

“We definitely have two sides—the fun, short-term parties like weddings and then we also do activations for bigger corporate clients,” John says.

His booths range from his original Volkswagen bus to a life-size kaleidoscope booth for guests to stand in. His Gif booth is one that doesn’t print out a hard copy of the photo but will share the images to social media where guests can apply filters or other features such as boomerangs.

“People love them, but there’s also something to be said about actually having a physical copy from a photo booth,” he says.

John discovered his love of photography at a young age and said his father and great uncle always had a camera in hand. Taking and talking about photographs became second nature in his family. After the terror attacks on 9/11, he aspired to be a photojournalist. He moved from Cincinnati to study photojournalism at the University of Missouri—Columbia.

He began working as a wedding photographer and wanted to find a way to set himself apart from others in the industry. That’s when he came up with the idea for The Photo Bus.

He faced his fair share of doubters about his vision.

“I have people who told me, ‘Oh, it will never work, how do you make money?’”

John says he chose the Volkswagen bus to house his mobile photo booth because of its mark on history. 

“I thought, well what’s the most iconic vehicle out there, it’s the Volkswagen bus,” he says. “It’s roomy, you can get four people in there, and everybody has a story about a bus. I can’t tell you how many people come up to us at an event and say, ‘I grew up in one of these, or my parents had one of these.’”

He prides himself on being the original photo bus company. 

“There are hundreds of Volkswagen buses that are photo booths now around the world, and it all started here in Kansas City,” John says.

One of his larger clients is the Kansas City Chiefs where he uses a 1966 Airstream Globetrotter trailer that he converted into a photo booth. It’s even vinyl wrapped and branded for the Chiefs. There are also four of his other photo booths inside the stadium for fans to use.

“We have fans and season ticket-holders at the Chiefs that have been coming to me for five years, and our printed photo is their souvenir from each game,” he says. 

John says that in 2021, the company did about 100 photo booths in an 8-month period with the Chiefs. That, combined with the rest of the events that year, made it the best year yet for him and his team.

He says he enjoys working with clients to bring their vision to life for their events and loves that the job allows him to bring joy and happiness wherever his booths travel. 

When asked his favorite part about the job, he says, “Making people smile honestly. Everyone loves a photo booth, everyone is going to have fun.”

John has since opened several other branch locations in St. Louis, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Atlanta, Portland, Oregon and Nashville.