Family Photo Drama

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I like to get a lot of family photos. After having the third child, most of our family photos get taken in the basement with a cheap light setup and a decent camera. My photoshop skills have become adequate, so I can fix small lighting errors.

I can’t go to the actual professional photo place very often because of the impossibility of getting everyone ready and not in a crabby mood at the same time.  Actually…I haven’t taken the kids in since Sirenita was 6 months old. That means the last time I went was over a year ago. This is some kind of record for me.

This is why I haven’t been back.

Since Sirenita was 6 months old and we hadn’t been to the portrait studio since just after she was born, I figured I’d better get in there. (I took TheBarbarian almost monthly during his first year. Don’t get me started on having no baby photos of the third child). Portrait Innovations is pretty close to us and can usually schedule us in the same day, and I usually spend around $100-$150 there, for a boatload of pictures. This time, somehow they must have thought that I have $$$money$$$ because Portrait Innovations tried to get me to spend $600 on photos that were

#1, not that great, and

#2, for no special occasion.

$600!

I can understand this amount of money for actual skilled professional photographers. These people are not on that level. Can I admit that I didn’t pay $600 on my own wedding photos? And my wedding photos were done by a fantastic professional photographer, and they’re really well done.

Portrait innovations was already on my “naughty list” because of how they treated my kids last time we went. I’ve been there lots of times before and it was always good, so I was willing to give them another shot. After Sirenita was born, ALL I WANTED was a family photo. Sure, I’d buy pics of baby Sirenita by herself, and more of the other kids, but the family photo was most important. I told the photographers that what was really important to me was to get a picture of all five of us because Sirenita was a week old. The photographers wasted a bunch of precious non-crabby-children-time with solo photos of SpitfirePrincess and TheBarbarian. The solo photos were horrible because the photogs did not know how to work with children (seriously, who tries to spend several minutes posing a one year old?).  I tried to tell them that my kids were not going to pose, but they assured me that they “do this all the time.” I knew then that the pictures would be horrible.

We did one family pose that last time, and it was a horrible mess of a photo. I looked at the photos on the giant tv and wanted to cry (at least I have the excuse that I was a week postpartum). I could not bring myself to buy even one family photo. There wasn’t one that I wouldn’t have felt humiliated by having someone see it. They were that bad. We looked like stray toys randomly strewn over a bench. There were some pictures of the kids that turned out ok, ONLY because I had finally intervened and told the photographers what to do. I didn’t want to be a bossy lawyer, but it’s not like I could just go back a week later to take Sirenita’s “one week old” baby pictures! I think by then Spitfire and TheBarbarian had exhausted them, and they were willing to do it my way and finally take at least a few decent photos.

So the next time for the six month photos, I was worried, but figured if the pictures sucked, I would just not buy any. That would be a first for me, but I told myself I would be firm. I would not pay for photos that sucked. Anyway, at the end of it all, instead of the usual routine where they try to hit me up for $200 and I go down to $100-$150, this time they started at a photo package with a grand total of $600(!!!!). The photos were not bad, not like last time, but they were not $600. They were not even $100 photos. My children are (of course) breathtakingly beautiful in every photo ever taken, but a trainee was taking the pictures, and we’re talking about trying to capture the mania of PrincessSpitfire coupled with the sensitivity of Sirenita. You see, PrincessSpitfire and Sirenita really do not have similar personalities. This means that the photographer starts doing the thing where they’re really loud and I guess what is supposed to be “upbeat” in order to hype the kids up and get them to smile. The problem is that all this does is add to PrincessSpitfire’s frenzy at being the center of attention, causing her to break the sound barrier in her movements around the portrait studio. Sirenita, on the other hand, smiles nervously at all the loud noise, which only encourages the worker to be louder because obviously she cannot tell the difference between a baby’s nervous “don’t eat me” smile, and a baby’s happy smile…so the loud noises quite understandably scared Sirenita into crying. And, because Sirenita would never take a pacifier and LOVES to nurse, I actually had to let her nurse several times to reassure her and calm her down. This was why I went on a Wednesday morning (taking time out of my work routine), so we would not be quite so crunched for time in the studio and it would not be so crowded and hectic. And instead there was a trainee scaring my baby and a saleperson who believes I will spend $$$600$$$ on trainee photos.

So, this was going to be, $600 for pictures where Spitfire is constantly captured mid-motion, and Sirenita is constantly just on the edge of crying? Nope. I managed to pick out the pictures I wanted and still ended up with a total close to $300 after taxes. Just stick a giant “sucker” stamp on me. I cannot turn down pictures of my kids. The pictures that I got feature my incredible children so of course I could not pass them up, but I could have taken the same photos at home. The good pictures we got are all ones where I, once again, took over and posed the kids. I can do that at home. I still spend at least $100 at home, by the way, on printing out the pictures at CVS or Wal Mart, but at least I get the full high resolution .jpg.

We have taken pictures at home over the last year, and I finally had them printed out. They look great. They looks really, really good. Even the ones where Jefe set the timer and jumped into the picture to get a family photo of all five of us. It just took me an entire year to get them printed out, instead of getting them the same day.

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