Super Vectorizer is a $29 piece of software ($19 on sale) that converts your photos or artwork to vectors quickly and cleanly. Vectors basically turn photos into math based drawings that allow you to scale them infinitely.
There are other tools we use in Studio environments regularly to do this, including the excellent (but very expensive) Vector Magic.
And sure, you can open up Illustrator, Flash etc... to get these results, but that will add 10 - 15 minutes or more to your workflow.
For the vast majority of what you are trying to get done, this will deliver the same results in less than 2 minutes.