Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Expose: Portrait Studios Ripping Off Parents

Look at this hip, cool father with his baby girl.
You could pay only $3.99 for it at Target
or go to another portrait studio
and pay seven times that amount.

A friend of mine took her baby to get her portraits done every month for her baby's first year of life. She displayed them in her living room and I always loved to see how her baby changed each month. It was such a cool memory to have of her child. A baby changes so much the first year of life and it is amazing to see it in professional portraits. I did the same thing, but I had to learn the hard way. Don't make the same mistake I did.

First, I went to Kiddie Kandids, which is slang for "I am gonna rip off parents for mediocre Anne Geddes like pictures." Who do they think they are fooling? I spent over $200 on a few pictures. I handed over my credit card and they handed back some crappy portraits they printed on their machine right in the store. They were all dark and I even had to take some of them back because the ink smudged off in the bag. Come on. We know it cost them a total of $10 bucks or less to print up the pictures. We know because it is only a few cents for us to print up our pictures at the local Costco. Why would it cost them anymore? It is ridiculous to mark up a product that much.

Month 2 I went to Target Portrait Studios. A little better. I spent a little over $100. I knew I couldn't spend that much on pictures every month or I was gonna go broke, so I went to my friend and asked her how she afforded such amazing pictures every month. She e-mailed me the coupons she uses at Target Portrait Studios. This deal is amazing. First, no sitting fee. Second, additional sheets are only $3.99 a sheet including the 10x14. And you get a free 8x10. The rest of Audrey's first year portraits cost me $30-$60 bucks a month. I understand they need to mark up the pictures a little bit, but this was a lot more reasonable. When I went to Target to get Audrey's 18 month pictures (she gets her professional portrait every 6 months now), they gave me free online access to my prints. I was able to upload them to my facebook and share them through e-mail. It is genius on their part because friends and family can buy prints directly from them if they want. They probably make even more money doing that. Target will try to sale you something they call portrait enhancements. Don't fall for it. They take a picture of your baby holding a fake rose and put in a cheesy border with a saying like, "Stop and smell the roses." Totally nerdy! Then try to sale it to you for $30. Just get the basic print for $3.99.

So I moved a couple hours away since Luke was born. There is no Target portrait studio near where we live now (not all Target's have them), so I made an appointment at my local Walmart for Luke and Audrey's portraits. I thought they would be similarly priced and I found a coupon for 20 percent off my entire purchase. Ugh. I got ripped off again. I got 15 sheets for like $140 bucks (with my stupid coupon). I think it will be worth driving a couple hours to Target because I don't feel like being ripped off again. My mother in-law said when we were kids and we went to the portrait studio, they would develop all the film from your shoot and whatever you didn't buy they would shred right in front of you. Painful, right? This was a different time. It was understandable that portraits cost a little more. They were working with film. Now anyone can buy a fancy camera and get amazing pictures. If these studios want to survive they better start to figure out that people are just gonna take their own professional portraits and blow them up and graphically design them with fancy borders. We don't need to pay hundreds of dollars for fancy pictures anymore. Here is the link to the Target coupon. If you are going to go to a studio to get your Christmas pictures, go to the Target Portrait Studios. It is worth it.


Today's Mom

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