mitchell's first portraits

I did call back Wal*Mart later on this morning, hoping to find someone who knew enough about the computer to book me an appointment. Turns out that at least some people aren't Amish! They had a space at 2 o'clock for me. Being that I'm a bad 3rd time mommy who hasn't developed any pictures of the baby, or even bought an album, I jumped on the opening.

When I got to the studio, I had to give them the spelling of my name and the baby's name for the file. Did I mention that I did this on the phone already? Then I waited a minute, because the guy was going to let the more experienced woman take Mitchell's pictures. He assured me that she was awesome so I figured that yes, I'd wait a minute for her.

She actually was pretty good. She took 8 different poses of him, each different in more ways than simply exchanging a teddy bear for a bucket and shovel. There was a pose of him in a basket, one of him in all-black surroundings, one of him with his head cradled in my hand, one of me kissing him and holding him in my hands, etc. All is well and good.

All the while, I'm thinking all I want is one or two poses so I can pass out a few pictures to my family. Keep in mind I have two other kids and Christmas card season is coming and there will be more money spent on pictures. I'm not cheap, just not rich. I had actually asked when I got there if they had any specials or promotions on at the time and the girl had told me that we'd get the pictures taken first and then we could figure out my package and what I needed after. Uh huh. That's never a good sign. It's called "high pressure sales" people, and they know that all they have to do is push the idea that "just think, it's your third child and you'll want all these poses, because people never take as many pictures of the third child."

Then there's "The Method":
  1. Don't ask the mother how many pictures she needs, or what kind of package/poses she wants. Just plan on taking a number of very cute, very diverse pictures so that mommy won't be able to let any of them go.
  2. Go ahead and take a large number of very cute, very diverse pictures. It's easy for the mother to just pick one if they're all relatively the same. Make sure and mention to her a couple of times that it's her child's first portraits ever, so you want to do a few special ones.
  3. Lead poor, helpless mother over to the computer and show her the pictures. When she asks what kind of packages you have, showcase the most expensive one first. After all, what's $200 to someone who loves their child? When she looks like a deer in the headlights at the thought of paying $200 for a set of pictures with only one of her children in it, offer her the slightly less expensive $150 set. She'll be embarrassed to suggest making up a $50 package at this point. If she pushes, reluctantly admit that there is an $80 package that would probably more than suit her needs. Don't actually tell her it would more than suit her needs. She'll never figure this out on her own.
  4. Quickly doctor up the pictures by putting the child's name on it in fancy script, changing a few to black and white or sepia or bronze, or putting the fuzzy border things around it. If the mother mentions that she would rather just have them plain, ignore her and continue trying to make things fancy.
  5. At this time push the package that is the next step up. For an extra $20, she can have another four sheets and all the enhancements she wants! Again, don't listen if she says she doesn't want enhancements. She does, she just doesn't know it. If you add them on and show her how much better her kid looks with a fuzzy white border she'll be sure to take the bait. Especially if you tell her that if she doesn't get the $20 more package she'll have to pay $6 each for the enhancements. Again, she wants them, she just doesn't realise it. Continue enhancing the pictures. It doesn't look stupid, really. And it's a bargain!! Because she really needs 8 million pictures. With white fuzz.
  6. If the mother out and out refuses all this special stuff, make sure and look just a little annoyed/disappointed so that she knows she's turning down some really great stuff.
  7. Begrudgingly give her what she wants, after all, it's still a sale.
Okay, and what's the deal with the enhancements anyway? As if it has to cost extra to put something around the edges. It's all digital, all they have to do is print them out! It doesn't cost them any more or less I'm sure to have the edges fuzzy. It's not like they do it by hand. Shameful.

Anyway, you'll be happy to know (or you'll just think I'm cheap) that I stuck to my guns and got the portrait package I wanted. Actually, I wouldn't even have needed as many as I ordered, but they'd have me think it was the smallest one. It's 10 sheets. That's a lot. I also didn't let the overzealous photographer put Mitchell's name all over the pictures and turn them all black and white with a fuzzy white border. I could actually tell she was a little unimpressed when I made her turn them all back. You'd have thought that when I said at the beginning that I kind of liked them plain better that she'd have stopped making adjustments.

I also had to give them my name, Mitchell's name and the spelling of our names two more times during the course of the visit. You'd think they'd just write it down the first time so they didn't look so silly.

To their credit though, they were some lovely pictures and I am excited to get them. Hopefully they'll be here by the end of next week! And yes, I'll post them right away.


Hes said…
Hardly wait to see them. Don't worry. With this new photoshop course i'm taking, i can give you all the white fuzz you want.
Sonya said…
If you've got six extra sheets, be sure and send me a pic or two!
Sonya said…
Oh and it sounds a lot like an experience I had there: Some things never change.

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