Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Family Christmas Portraits, Not From The Mall

When it’s time to have the family Christmas Portrait taken, there are several things to keep in mind. The first is where to have the portrait taken. There are several options such as hiring a professional photographer or finding a chain studio that is located in a crowded mall. 

A Professional Photographer does this for a living and has a sincere passion for photography. They are guaranteed to work with your budget, help with things like wardrobe, sizing, poses, expressions and promise you’ll avoid the hassle of loading up the kids to head to an over-packed mall where even if you do have an appointment, you get to wait, wait, wait and then wait some more. Professional Photographers provide their own professional equipment and the family is guaranteed to get a professional quality family portrait. The professional photographer will shoot the portrait in any manner desired by the family and has far more flexibility when it comes to different types of shots, timing and locations to ensure that all involved are happy.

In addition to the pros of having an independent professional take the family portrait there are several negative parts of having a mall photography chain provide a few snap shots. The first is the fact that it requires a trip to a very busy location full of people frantically trying to find the best deals on holiday gifts or frantically trying to find a gift for the one person they forgot to add to their list. Most retailers do the majority of their sales during the busy holiday season. Being part of this crowd will add unneeded stress to the photo shoot and give you a blistering headache. Another negative side is the fact that these mall studios often do not have the best in equipment or the equipment may simply be very outdated. This will result in a poor quality portrait since it is one camera setting for every customer no matter how many people in the shot. Mall photography studios fail to provide any kind of decent re-touching or Photoshop enhancements of the picture.  No one should have to remember a Christmas because of a blurry, stiff-posed Christmas Portrait. A grainy pixilated picture is not something that should be sent out in a Christmas card.

Another downside is the mall photographers themselves. They are usually High School kids who have no formal photography training. They are told to greet the customer, have the customer stand on the X and push this button on the camera (literally nothing else).  Anyone will lose the friendly smile and personable charm when having to deal with rushed holiday shoppers, crying babies, belligerent customers and frustrated parents all day. They are often subjected to long hours with low pay and often resulting in substandard performance and crappy pictures. For most mall photographers it's a part-time job so they can get a new iPhone or Android and will often treat it as such where as a professional photographer does this for a living and is very passionate about their work. 

The worst part about a family portrait at the mall studio is the up sale. Since the photographers often work on commission as well as minimum wage, they will try to get the family to purchase the largest package possible. They will relentlessly hound you to get the biggest package that has literally hundreds of photos, out dated picture frames and a jacked-up price for a CD, when all that is desired is a few quality photographs. The family is often conned into buying a larger package then desired because it is the only way to get the desired photographs of the right size due to the fact buying individual photos has an exorbitant cost attached to it. With all these things against it, the mall studio is simple not a good option. It is well worth it to spend a little time searching and a few extra dollars to pay for a beautiful family portrait, photographed with professionalism, care and a genuine concern to meet your families needs. 

Find a local, reputable, professional photographer. Start with asking friends and family. If you have no luck, try Google, AngiesList or ASMP. These are filled with reputable family and portrait photographers who specialize in making your family look their best.