Photographer and photo booth operator Geoff Toledo owns Hidden Gem Visuals in Linden, N.J.

Q: Please state your name, location and occupation?

A: My name is Jeff Toledo from Linden, N.J. I’m a photographer and photo booth operator who owns Hidden Gem Visuals.

Q: How did you get into photography, photo booths and get connected to the DJ world?

A: Photography started as a hobby, then became a part time job, then a full time profession. I got connected to the DJ world by linking up with a local DJ in New Jersey who I enjoyed working with. We had exchanged business cards, and have been referring each other to other clients ever since. His name is DJ Maxx Saint.

Q: What was your first camera and how did you begin being a photographer?

A: My first camera was a Canon T2i. I began learning about photography by taking pictures of family and friends for free.

Q: How did having a photo booth enter the picture?

A: My friend who also had a photo booth introduced me to it. He literally showed me how to get started and all of the equipment I should buy. I was always very appreciative of him opening the world of photo booths to me.

Q: What kind of photo booth and camera do you recommend to people just starting out?

A: According to forums, the easiest and user friendly way to enter the photo booth industry is through an iPad booth. It is much easier to set up.

Q: What would you tell someone just getting into the industry?

A: Don’t quit your day job. With photography, it will take a few years before you can have a stable client base. With photo booths, don’t even bother because the market is way too saturated right now with competition that is charging close to nothing. Purchasing a photo booth is expensive, and it will take a year or more until you pay off your investment. Many people just opt out and take the loss.

Q: How has Covid affected your business and how did you pivot?

A: Photo booths have basically become non-existent this year because you can’t be socially distant while doing the photo booth. Fortunately, I also offer photography so I was able to do that instead for a few months when smaller gatherings were permitted.

Q: What do you see happening for the future of photography and photo booths?

A: There will always be a future for photography because it is one of the top priorities for every wedding and event. Photo booths are more of a luxury and only if the client has some extra money in their budget for it. Unfortunately, I think it will eventually die down and become a “fad”.

Q: If you could travel back in time and tell yourself some advice, what would it be?

A: Start the photo booth business sooner. Five to seven years ago, there was not much competition in the photo booth industry, so you’ll be able to book a lot more gigs while also being able to charge relatively high.

Q: Why should someone hire you?

A: I am experienced and take my job very seriously. I love what I do and I love capturing people having a great time. I also have a ton of great reviews on the internet that I am very proud of.

Q: How did you hear about NAME Entertainers and why are you a member?

A: My friend who introduced me to the photo booth industry and was a NAME Entertainers member, he referred me to you guys. I’ve never had a problem and the pricing seems to be fair so I’ve stayed with you guys ever since.

Q: How can possible clients reach you?

A: Preferably through my online form on my website or through email, but I also enjoy a quick phone call if a client wanted to chat. Call or text 908-487-6858, visit the website www.hiddengemvisuals.com  See the photography portfolio at www.hiddengemvisuals.smugmug.com Like us! www.facebook.com/hiddengemvisuals
Follow us! www.instagram.com/hiddengemvisuals

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