By Michelle Garrett — July 24, 2015
Oh Snap! This month’s innovator Spotlight is all about the man behind the camera. Rafael Cruz (ACCD Class of ’03) is the Founder and Creative Director of Oh Snap! Studios, a photo booth service with… well, without the booth. Cruz launched Oh Snap! Studios in the middle of the recession while working a full time gig at a photography studio where he built sets and environments for product photography. After the client work was done he and others would have some fun taking photos within the set. The extra-curricular fun of the work day helped spark an idea for a new business.
As photo-production work dropped off along with the rest of the economy, Cruz started thinking more seriously about his back-up plan. The founder of Unique LA approached Cruz about designing a custom photo booth for a Get Out the Vote Campaign, a gig which led another gig, which led to a blog post on the multi-city shopping newsletter and website Daily Candy. Cruz recalls how that blog post helped launch his business. “Following that, I opened up my email one day at work and it was flooded with requests to book my services at other events, corporate parties, and more. I eventually got laid off from my day job and used my severance as start-up capital for Oh Snap!”Talk about a silver lining. Oh Snap Studios’ launched and took off with an amazing client list which has included Cirque Bizurque, Unique USA, Embassy Suites, Google, Fox CBS and HBO, to name a few. Rafael Cruz’ biggest challenge in starting up was financing his company and finding the time to do it. Whilst paying off student loans and everyday living expenses he needed the security of a day job to initially fund his idea. Working both jobs definitely took its toll but with so much electricity in the air and a mild touch of despair the timing was just right. Had the recession not happened, Oh Snap! wouldn’t have happened says Cruz. As an Art Center Alum, Cruz waxes about the quality of the education he received and how important it is to his approach and work ethic. “ Art Center College of Design instilled in me the philosophy of making things happen and making the most of crazy assignments, short deadlines, and whatever comes your way. I learned from Art Center the importance of concept and designing an experience around the concept first.” For more information about Oh Snap! Studios or to book them for your next company event, visit www.ohsnapstudios.com.