Joel Marion first cultivated his creativity while enlisted in the Air Force and working as a photojournalist. He taught himself the complexities of shutter speed and f-stops through trial and error. Through his company—Joel Marion Photography—the autodidact has become one of the fortunate few whose avocation becomes their vocation, unlike Michael Jordan, who longed to dunk donuts instead of basketballs. Throughout his career, he has worked in fashion and advertising in St. Louis. By working with area clients for more than 30 years, Joel brings an experienced and creative approach to family, baby, high-school senior, and head-shot portraits. His wife Carol manages the studio while Joel's design and Photoshop specialist, Kelly Tucker, helps their clientele create aesthetically pleasing compositions.
Cars line up at the drive-thru window, where instead of bags of burgers and fries, staffers hand over bundles of glossy personal photos. Inside Creative Photo & Digital Imaging, digital techs convert media such as VHS tapes, records, and reels to DVD and CD, while across the store, photo experts transfer snaps onto album prints, museum-grade canvas wraps, and gifts such as coffee mugs and puzzles. Heirloom family portraits, ravaged by rips and sun damage, doff their imperfections in the photo-restoration lab, and an onsite portrait studio captures clans as they update their sweater sets through the years. Creative Photo & Digital Imaging also hosts photography classes on subjects from how to take better pictures on camera phones to the intricacies of digital SLR cameras.
Drawing on a shared passion of photographing their own children, friends Meagan Dalton and Laura Harmon joined forces in 2007 and founded True Life Images. What began as a home-photography business quickly expanded, and in 2008 they moved into their full-service studio, where they cull palpable evidence of smiling families, love-struck couples, and cuddly babies in vivid light and with flattering poise. The photogs also haul their equipment and talent to homes, parks, and wedding-invitation font samplings to document subjects posing in the comfort of their own environments or the beauty of a natural setting. With a secure online viewing gallery, subjects can peruse their portraits without fear of paper cuts.