There are a multitude of reasons for a student to take an extra job on the side, the most obvious being a way to earn supplemental income.

In addition to earning money, some students seek out side jobs that allow them to work for themselves.

Many students struggle to balance a job with a demanding schedule on top of a time-consuming workload from classes. Having a job that allows students the freedom to make their own hours can be highly beneficial, depending on how busy students are.

Aydan Sparks, a senior pre-pharmacy major, said that freedom is part of what inspired him to start ABQ Booth, a local photo booth rental business.

“It’s pretty easy, and it’s mostly weekend work,” Sparks said.

He said this is because he mainly works at events like graduations, weddings and parties, at which he sets up an open-concept studio in place of a literal booth to take pictures of guests at the events.

Though there is competition among photo booth rental companies for these types of venues, Sparks said he saw an opportunity to give him an edge over competing businesses.

“I saw photo booths around (when I was) going to different things, and I saw them being really expensive. A lot of them are pre-made, so they’re really expensive to buy initially — they’re like a first investment,” he said. “A lot of places will charge about $200 an hour.”

Instead of a booth, Sparks chose to invest his money in high-quality equipment, including a printer, DSLR camera and the necessary software. He also purchases his own props, lights, backgrounds and other equipment for the photos.

This more affordable set-up allows him to charge significantly lower rates than other photo booth rentals in Albuquerque, he said. Depending on what services a client wants, ABQ Booth charges $50 to $100 an hour for events.

When asked how the quality of his studio compared to that of photo booths, he said his printer and camera produce great pictures. The open concept is just a bit different from the traditional photo booth process.

“I basically have a lot of the stuff (booths) use, it’s just not very well engineered to be like a box set. But it still works, people still have (a) fun time,” he said. “I like it because people in line can see what’s going on instead of just waiting and then getting in some small, cramped box – which is a little weird if you think about it.”

Sparks said the best part about owning his business is the “entrepreneurial spirit.” In other words, the freedom to accept or reject jobs and set his own hours is the best part, he said.

Sparks struggled to come up with any negatives about running the studio. If he had to complain about some aspect, it would be about long it takes him to set up and take down his studio at each event, roughly 40 minutes in all, he said.

Though it’s not a steady income, Sparks said it makes for great side money for daily expenses, for fun, and even for savings. For a total of three to four hours of work, he estimated he makes about $200 in a month.

He said he also enjoys knowing that putting in more time and effort can result in more income, as opposed to a typical hourly job where a person is stuck with a certain number of hours, earning a predetermined wage for those hours.

For questions about ABQ Booth, visit for more information.

Skylar Griego is a culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @TDLBooks.