Oversized sunglasses, flowery leis, bright beaded necklaces—partygoers can try all of these on for size while getting their pictures taken in a Drama Llama Productions photo booth. An expert attendant accompanies the booth to the event to set it up and assist guests in photo-taking. Prints emerge in 7.5 seconds, so that revelers can get back to the party in no time. You can even upload pics immediately to Facebook, so that everyone you know can see how much fun you’re having at the party they weren’t invited to.
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.
"Photo booths are definitely in and very popular," according to Aaron, the owner of Majestic Photo-Booth Rentals. At his wife's annual Christmas party, the line for the photo booth often runs 10 people deep. But thanks to his unusually spacious booths—which accommodate exactly 10 people—the line moves quickly, and the brief layover supplies a chance to peruse the prop kit.
After putting on feather boas or oversized sunglasses, guests assemble around a 23-inch touch screen, choose color or black-and-white, and pose for three frames. No more than 10 seconds later, two photo strips emerge from the printer. Guests also may record a 30-second video, which makes the booths "very popular for weddings." Much like a voting booth, the mini photo studio is supervised by one or two attendants who hum “This Land is Your Land” to keep the mood light.
Lone Star State Photo memorializes special events with photo-booth rentals that include assistance from a professional operator. Guests may take an unlimited number of photos, each customized with graphics or personal text printed on the strip. Afterward, hosts receive a DVD with all of their event’s images, plus online access to the full album.
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.”