British Columbia

Selfies with a twist available at Richmond, B.C. photo studio

Photo-happy customers can now pay to take professional selfies at an innovative new studio in Richmond. Great business idea - or pure narcissism?

New business is likely the first of its kind in the Lower Mainland.

The CBC crew tries out The Selfie Room in Richmond, B.C.

Photo-happy customers can now pay to take selfies in a professionally-lit room with a variety of backdrops and props at an innovative Richmond, B.C. photo studio. 

The Selfie Room allows you to dress up and hold your own 50-minute do-it-yourself self-portrait photo shoot for between $15 and $23, depending on the number of people.

The business has only been open for a week, but 22-year-old owner Carbo Ngai of Vancouver says it is already attracting teenagers and families.

"The Selfie Room is basically a self-controlled professional studio for you to take photos with your friends or family," said Ngai. 

The studio has a professional camera set up and people simply press a remote button to take a photo.

"After you snap the photo, you can take a look at the TV screen to review your photo and see if you like it or not. If you don't, you can take 500 more or 200 more, as many as you want, until you get that perfect picture," said Ngai.

It's somewhat like a photobooth but instead of prints, customers get a USB stick of photos.

Social media is very much about a façade...and branding yourself- Rochelle Grayson, social media expert

Social media expert Rochelle Grayson said the ability to get that perfect picture is what may attract today's selfie generation.   

"Social media is very much about a façade and making sure you're presenting and branding yourself in the way you want to be seen," said Grayson.

"So having lighting and props and a backdrop, that makes perfect sense and gives you the vibe you want. That makes perfect sense, especially for the younger crowd." 

Ngai, meanwhile, admits not everyone is receptive to the idea. 

"This is not a selfie, This is so lame, You're taking narcissism to the next level," said Ngai, listing some of the comments from her critics.

Selfie photo studios are already popular in Asia. Ngai estimates there are up to 30 such studios in Hong Kong - and, others in Beijing, Singapore and Thailand. 

The CBC camera crew with The Selfie Room owner Carbo Ngai (right).

With files from Bal Brach