Since he was a boy, Charles King has traveled through life with paper and pen, ready to sketch the world around him. In school, his teachers asked him to make drawings for various projects and made him the official artist of the bulletin board in the first grade. And though he went to college to study accounting, he found himself continually drawn back to the arts. While at a party one day, he sat in a corner and began sketching the guests. Soon a crowd had formed to watch, and people requested sketches of their friends. Once Charles had been invited to a few parties and paid for his services, he realized his drawings inspired fascination in those around him and gave him more joy than accounting, so he immediately switched to graphic design.
Charles’s art career has grown in bursts in the 35 years since those early days. His wife persuaded him to sell his early business and go into cartooning full time, and today he receives invitations to draw at large-scale events such as corporate conventions and trade shows. He draws cartoons from photographs for prices ranging from $100 to $1,000 for a color likeness. When performing for a crowd, Charles can draw about 30–60 sketches an hour, simultaneously producing miniature tornadoes with the rapid flicking of his pen. At an event at an Atlanta children’s hospital, he sketched portraits of 700 children in six hours. When Charles draws, his arm takes over and runs on autopilot; he can even look away while drawing and maintain a sharp image and a true likeness.
His skills have even attracted the attention and business of famous fans including President Ronald Reagan and Colonel Sanders. Charles says that he draws because he enjoys getting a reaction from people and “loves to hear his customers, especially the kids, laugh.”
Though their photography and videography has appeared in Sports Illustrated and on CNN, husband-and-wife duo Preston and Holly didn’t develop their skills overnight. Before the advent of digital photography, Preston labored in an old-fashioned darkroom, mastering the ins and outs of his craft, while Holly filmed sporting events at Cypress Ridge High School. As time clicked by one frame at a time, the duo built their skills and their vision, eventually laying the foundation of Injoy Media Productions.
Today, Preston and Holly lead four trained shutterbugs who capture the personalities of families, children, and seniors in their natural habitats—whether that be in a backyard or an aluminum-foil castle. The photographers' specialty, however, remains weddings, and to capture couples' vows and ceremonies they travel across the state and oceans. Snapping their shutters for upward of four hours, camera-wielders preserve memories with prints as large as 16”x20” and commemorative items such as press-printed albums. Meanwhile, two videographers film the proceedings for up to 10 hours before splicing footage into a highlight reel and an edited movie set to music or a choir of sobbing in-laws. To further enliven receptions or other events, Injoy Media Productions rents out photo booths accompanied by trunks of props, unlimited 4”x6” prints, and scrapbooks made onsite.
Whether she’s snapping shots of Lil Wayne’s sparkling grin, the urban landscape of Detroit, or the Arab American National Museum, photographer Asia Hamilton inspires people to view the world from a new perspective. Her photography raises awareness on issues of waste and consumption, and strives to unmask the beauty hidden in a cityscape.
When she’s not on a globetrotting, eye-opening adventure, she’s teaching aspiring photographers at her studio, Nozomi Live Photography & Design. She demystifies photography concepts such as lighting and composition before taking shutterbugs out on urban excursions, where they can practice techniques in the bustling city. She helps her protégés feel more comfortable using their cameras’ manual settings, making the picture-snapping devices feel like an extension of their bodies without duct tape or cybernetic surgery.
Josh and Sesh, the friends who founded Photo Booth Dallas, know that customers want advanced technology. That's why they outfitted their photo booths with customizable LCD screens and instant Internet uploading capabilities. But they also know the value of good customer service—they schedule just one event per day, ensuring that each client gets their full attention.
Large groups of people can fit into each curtained booth, something utterly unacceptable at the opera. Once inside, guests press digital buttons to choose color or black-and-white prints, and then pose with a slew of provided props. Hosts can also opt for a video-enabled booth or request tuxedo-clad DJs to set the mood with 1,000-watt speakers, CD turntables, and intelligent light shows.
With hard-paneled walls, a ceiling, and a 4’x6’ footprint, Smile 4 Me’s photo booths are professionally designed to fit in at all special events, be they birthdays or corporate functions. The booths can also be arranged with an open-air setup to allow guests to slide in front of the camera for photos of group hugs with every single imaginary friend in the world. After subjects strike classic poses wearing oversize glasses and other props, images print out on 2”x6” strips that feature the client’s logo or message of choice. To ensure smooth sailing, a professional attendant remains on hand to answer any and all questions, and every rental comes with a 10”x10” guest book and a CD of all images.