Nope, robot photographers are not shooting pro-quality photos yet but a new startup is promising professional-quality portraits without the actual photographer. Iris is a photo booth designed to take headshots worthy of a Linkedin profile picture for $20 a session.
Instead of working as a photo booth designed to take fun poses of friends, the Iris photo booth uses on-screen posing instructions and in-booth lighting to create what is essentially a better selfie than what any selfie stick could muster. Sample photos shared by the company show headshots on a white background with soft lighting and rectangular catchlights. The size of the booth and the sample photos suggests the system uses a wide-angle lens to snap the shots, though Iris doesn’t provide any data on what type of camera and lens is used inside the booth.
Once inside the booth, users enter their email and pay for their session (or pay ahead of time online). According to the company, on-screen posing instructions help guide the subject into a flattering pose. A video of the Iris in action shows an example of the types of on-screen posing tips: “Try crossing your arms low in front of you. It exudes confidence!”
Iris takes six photos in the booth. Users can then select their favorite photo and edit the shot right from inside the booth, using tools for teeth whitening, softening skin and removing blemishes. One photo is included with the $20 booth fee, downloaded online, but users can edit and download more of the shots online for $5 each.
Iris currently has nine booths spread from the U.S. to Canada, including booths in Florida, Minnesota, Toronto, and Nova Scotia. Several booths are located in airports, malls, and college campuses. Linkedin’s Toronto office has its own booth exclusively for the staff, according to Iris’ website.
While Iris is a unique concept, the startup is not alone in its goal to make good selfies easier to snap. Apple was recently awarded a patent that automatically detects whether the selfie is for a group or an individual, switching to a wide-angle lens for the group but a more flattering telephoto for the individual, since telephoto lenses tend to create less distortion and also encourage better posing with the phone farther from the face.
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