Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shutter Shock!

Last weekend, we had a rather interesting...and upsetting experience. While Christmas shopping in a local, upscale mall, last December, my husband passed by the Venture Portraits photo kiosk featuring fun, cool photos of families. Lured in, he decided it would be great to get some family shots done, and paid $50.00 for their promotion...a one hour photo shoot which came w/ a "free" 8 x 10 framed photo. Great! Right?

We had our photoshoot last weekend. The photographer was great, Jake was adorable, and loved it. They shoot against a white, seamless background, and they play music, and generally have fun. We switched Jake's outfits, brought his guitar, and books and he was beyond a terrific sport about it all.

After an hour, Jake was done..."my go home". So, we packed up, I took him to the car and my husband stayed inside to schedule our "viewing". Then they handed him the PRICE LIST!!! WHAT!!!???

Keep in mind, I am an ART DIRECTOR and have HIRED photographers for shoots! I've gotten MARRIED and hired a WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!!! I've reviewed countless portfolios in my day, so I can speak from some experience that I have never encountered such ridiculous prices in my entire life.

First of can only buy their framed prints. No chance of making your own album, or wallpapering your guest room with photos (not that I was going to, but I should be able to do whatever I want w/ the photos, right?).

If you wanted one large photo of their "JAZZ" series...a 30"x40" photo is $3,800.00. OR, perhaps a more modest 10"x10" print? A mere $800.00. Or, maybe you'd like to do a little series, a larger 20" x 30" framed photo flanked by 4, 8"x10" photos? $4,800.00. And, if you can't quite decide which photos you like best, for $1500, they'll make you an album with 10 photos. Can you believe this?

Now, if I WAS going to spend $4,800.00 for FIVE photos (no matter how well framed they are), I think I might not be looking for the photographer in a matter how high end the mall was. I think I'd do my research and find someone who offered a number of tailored packages to work with me to decide what would be best for us. Afterall, I am the customer. Or not. Since, there was no way that I would show up at that viewing and see all the adorable photos of my family. I'm weak. I'd buy something, but I wouldn't feel good about it. And, that's the thing, if you don't show up for your "viewing" you forfeit the "free" 8"x10" photo (just read the fine print!)

So, no thanks for all that. And please, if you happen to come near one of these stupid Venture Portrait  kiosks in the mall, make sure you ask exactly what the prices are first, and what you get. They're evasive at best.


Minnie said...

Uggh. I hate those mall photo places. I've been to my share and hate the pressure cooker atmosphere. Those prices at Venture sound totally ridiculous. You should look into whether your experience warrants a complaint with the better business bureau for bait and switch tactic.

Cristin said...

No way! That is misleading to say the least. You may want to share your story w the better business bureau.
PS - wow, just read Minnie's comment after I wrote this and see she recommend the same thing.

LG said...

Oh that is just infuriating! I would have caused a scene! Thanks for the heads up!

becoming-mom said...

Oh good, that IS ridiculous! I thought you were going to say that $80 for an 8x10 was insane (my prices :) and then I was going to bemoan the fact that no one realizes the value of custom photography and why it costs what it does LOL! But that really is totally out of the ballpark nutso.. Infact I've never heard of anything like it!

You should come to me, I'll give you a becoming-mom reader discount :)

paula said...

Oh my, that costs more than our wedding packages!

Beki - TheRustedChain said...


My jaw hit the floor.

Kerren said...

YIKES! Heather, my friend Cyndi does the entire shoot for $125.00 and you keep the CD!
if you want a re-do in the cape, you should talk to her, I know she's interested in doing shoots down there this summer.