The difference between French & Indian photobooths?
Answer: the French photobooth does not tell you you look ugly!
Let me explain... In reality, there are no photobooths in India, or only at the Visa Office of embassies. Therefore, you go to the photographer. Or at least to the shop which prints pictures in which you will find a man and a DSLR camera. The photographer, who can only be called so because of his camera. Because the cover actually makes the book. Some times.
A few months ago, in Mumbai, I went to a tiny photo lab in a slum-y area. Very professional, the "photographer" was quite annoyed because I was wearing a white t-shirt. It would not work. Even if the sheet used as a background he had chosen was not white but gray (thus contrasting) – I really don’t understand why they do this every time, put a colored background and then photoshop the picture so that the background appears white? That day, as often, I wasn't in the mood to put up with non-senses and above all I didn't have time to go change. Checking out the small room I was in, I spotted a dark blue piece of cloth and grabbed it. And that’s how, under the flabbergasted eyes of the photographer, I wrapped myself in his dusty 'blue-starry-night’ background which really had small stars (Indians are fans of cheesy stuff) and posed!
Last week I again needed photos. The photographer took 2-3 shots and when he proudly showed me his selection for my approval, I had a reality-check!! Double chin, acne-like red cheeks, messy hair! To be honest, I don’t really care about how I look on identity photos since they are intended for others. I therefore gave my go-ahead for the printing when his colleague came to the rescue. Seeing the selected portrait he sent his buddy away, handed me a handkerchief with a nice compliment “wipe your face, you have oily skin” (Oh hey it’s more than 48 degrees outside and I’m just sweating a bit), made some adjustments and gave me some cute pics. With hardly any photoshopping! Because be aware that in India, they won’t let go with photos where you have a wild strand of hair or a fat pimple. And usually I have both, when not worse! To tell you, once they even insisted to make my favorite Indian look fairer!
Photoboothing in India is definitely an experience! (Especially since 20 photos will cost you less than 1.5€ :-) ).