Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Worst Case Scenario

Getting pseudo-professional
pictures made of your children is one of the most stressful activities imaginable.  I am pretty faithful to the Picture People
because I like the simplicity of their backdrops and the non-cheesiness of
their props. I’ve gotten my son’s
picture taken at JCPenney a few times but  I have not been happy with their props and backdrops.  Why is it that every department store photo
studio provides ugly, cheap carpeted blocks for your kids to sit on?  It is one of the great mysteries of the universe.  Do they think that carpeted blocks are really elegant and attractive?  Or maybe they think carpeted blocks convey an element of realism that a simple chair could never do.  Perhaps the most realistic picture ever taken of my son was of
him sitting on a block of carpet in front of a wooden playground backdrop. I’ve been to many playgrounds and I’ve never
seen one with a randomly placed block of carpeted plywood.

My least favorite part of getting my children’s pictures
taken is the sweating. I sweat
profusely during the entire process. I
turn into a blubbering, red-faced, sweaty mess. It’s really a sight to see. My kids are both in the worse case scenario phase for picture taking. My son, who is four,
simply does not like to have his picture taken. He gets distracted and frustrated and asks constantly, “when are
we going to be done?” My daughter, on
the other hand, is far too young to follow instructions and does not trust
strangers. She wants me to hold her at
all times and she refuses to sit still. Getting them to smile simultaneously long enough to snap a photo is a
small miracle.

I am perfectly content with one good shot of the kids. The Picture People staff, unfortunately, are
not. They are trained to be salesman
and probably work off of some type of commission plan. As a result, they try to work in as many
different props, poses and backdrops as possible. By the time they are ready to call it quits, I am in desperate
need of a drink and my kids are keyed up from being stuck so long in a photo
shoot.  They end up running around the store like wild animals. I’ve gotten some priceless looks from
new Moms taking their new babies in for their first pictures. I always chuckle to myself because I was
once in their shoes, taking my precious sleeping baby to the studio and watching the other Moms, horrified by the behavior of their children. Karma is a bitch.

The least stressful part of picture taking is choosing your pictures.  The Picture People have an ingenious sales pitch. At most portrait studios you look at the
digital images on a computer screen and place your order based on those
images. The Picture People actually
print the pictures so that you walk out of there with your photos in
hand. While this is incredibly convenient, it is unbelievably difficult to
decide against purchasing a picture of your child when you know that it will
get thrown in the trash if you don’t fork out the $18 it costs to bring it home. I usually end up spending no less than $50
when I go there.  Less than 10 percent
of the pictures that I have purchased over the years are hanging on my
walls. Most of them are stored safely
in a drawer for future enjoyment. At least
they are not in a landfill.

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