When Fairfield twins Jacob and Daniel Madwed decided to purchase a Sony SnapLab for their special events photography business, they simply wanted a portable printing system that would allow them to print clear, beautiful photos quickly and efficiently. The two 17-year olds certainly never expected Capitol Photo and Sons to become part of the Sony Corporation's advertising campaign for its northeast region.
However, this spring Sony showcased the two young entrepreneurs and their thriving business, Capitol Photo and Sons, in promotional materials found on the company's website and at industry trade shows.
Three years ago, the brothers started taking photos at Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and using these candid shots to create photo cards and refrigerator magnets on site that guests could take home as party favors. Their business was an instantaneous hit, and they began to get calls to be part of corporate events and benefits.
"Everyone loves getting their picture taken," Daniel said. "And, they love being able to take home a special memory of the event."
Unfortunately, the inexpensive photo printer Daniel and Jacob initially purchased could not produce photos fast enough to keep up with the rapidly increasing demand.
Daniel explained that they printed about 200 photos at their first couple of parties. Lately, however, it's not uncommon for their staff of four to print 800 photos during a four-hour event.
Jacob said, "As we got more jobs, the demand for photos was huge. We had to find a way to get photos produced quicker."
The Madwed brothers were familiar with the Sony SnapLab and, as soon as they paid off the start-up loan supplied by their mother, Regina, owner of Capitol Interactive, Jacob and Daniel started to save for the portable photo-finishing system. And, although Sony SnapLab cost $1,500, which was considerably more than their first printer, the enterprising teens soon realized its value.
"The Sony SnapLab prints photos in 18 seconds, which means that we could do three photos in the time it took us to print one with our old printer," Jacob said.
They were also excited about the Sony SnapLab's editing capabilities, such as being able to correct color, zoom, crop, rotate and reduce "red eye."
To manage their workload, Capitol Photo and Sons now has seven Sony SnapLab systems.
"Our business is doing great," Daniel exclaimed. "Its mind boggling but people love getting their picture taken."
And, both he and his brother understand the importance of using high-quality, professional equipment.
"The SnapLab digital printing system is perfect for professional event photographers. They can easily bring it on site, and no PC or other equipment is needed to provide fast, high-quality photos instantly. It's also loaded with easy-to-use features, including editing and adding customized borders," said Lynda Falby, marketing manager for digital photofinishing at Sony Electronics. "Jacob and Daniel have told us that these printers have helped them grow their business because they are easy to transport and allow them to offer value-added services like customized event cards, right on location."
Although the fall and winter months are booked with religious celebrations and birthday parties for young people, in the summer the Madwed brothers spend a lot of time photographing the "older" generation. Capitol Photo and Sons has been responsible for providing photo keepsakes for the Jewish Home for the Elderly's annual Family Day celebration. They also won rave reviews for recently photographing Bridgeport Hospital Auxiliary's 50th Anniversary Gala and a fundraiser held at Fairfield's Penfield Pavilion last week.
A family snapshot
A close knit family, Jacob and Daniel lost their father Steven Madwed to cancer when they were only nine. As their mother took the helm of the family business, Capitol Photo, now called Capitol Interactive, the brothers helped out and eventually founded the special events photography company. They both credit their mother with instilling in them her "business ethics" and acumen.
"She always taught us that if you have good customer satisfaction and you make a good product, you'll always be busy," Daniel said.
Always looking to improve their work, Jacob has been beta testing green screen technology for a California software developer.
Weldon said that his company has already implemented some of Jacob's suggestions.
"Receiving input from someone who's right in the mix of event photography, and who has a real interest, is truly helpful. As developers we get caught up in the coding and design process, so it's imperative to get real-world user perspective to build a great product."
Capitol Photo and Sons has several special events photography packages available.
"You tell us what your needs are and we will discuss it with our mother and come up with a customized plan and rate for our services," Daniel said.
Jacob added that they already have jobs lined up in 2012.
This fall, as seniors at Westchester Hebrew High School in Mamaroneck, N.Y., Daniel and Jacob will continue to work even though they will also be devoting time to college applications. Jacob hopes to be accepted as a business major at Northeastern University in Boston. Once there, he would ideally like to launch a satellite office of the special events photography business as part of the school's cooperative learning program. Daniel's goal is to attend an Ivy League university and to become a chief executive officer of a corporation one day.
"I have the drive to manage and the desire to succeed," he said. "We both do so I think we will probably be successful at whatever we end up doing."
For more information about Capitol and Sons, located at 1139 Post Road, Fairfield, call 203-255-4002 or log onto www.capitolphotoandsons.com