Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Review of the Sears Portrait Studio

I just love Sears Portrait Studios. They’re far cheaper when compared to Target and a lot better when compared to JCPenney.

A small thing that actually makes all the difference is that at Sears they take the eight or ten photos that you get in your sitting, and in case you get the promotional 26 photos for only $7.99 package from them, then you get to choose your favorite single pose for the package and there is no session fee! However, JCPenney definitely screws you over. They sit there and try to take a quite uncreative snap for the first image – believe it or not, some of their photographers will even tell you that you need to use the standard backdrop for your first shot - and after that go on to take all these other, more creative shots on best backdrops. The thing is that if you want to get their inexpensive ad deal (30 percent off your online order or whatever it is for the season – you must use the first pose they choose, you cannot use any of the more beautiful ones. In case you plan to get some of the other poses, it is actually something like $15.99 per single sheet.

What’s more, I find that the photo quality – along with the poses - is far superior at Sears. I cannot say precisely what it is - since the difference is quite subtle. On the other hand, as I look around my living room and see many portrait photographs of my daughter that we took - some at JCPenney, some at Sears - I can right away recognize the difference. Those from JCPenney simply are not as clear, or perhaps it is that they depth perception is just not that great. I am not quite sure precisely what it is. However they look as not finished.

But Sears is as pro as any expensive photo studio I have ever checked out; except the studios where you pay like a $200 sitting fee, and each photo is like $125 - you know, the kind you use for wedding photographs. They have exquisite backdrops, and all except one of the photographers I have had there has been a real pro at what he did. My daughter is a quite cute kid. However it’s not that easy to get her to look at the cam. I have virtually zero photos where she isn’t looking sideways or making silly faces at the cam since she is simply camera-shy. The experts at Sears, however, are surprisingly experienced at catching the moment she is looking at them. What’s more, they have a lot of quite beautiful props.

In case you do decide to go to Sears, definitely check out their site and get the printable coupon code. Generally they have a 20% off Military Discount or $7.99 package deal of some sort. That’s just a single pose. However, you get plenty of highest-quality prints. In case you don’t use the special deal, you can often use the coupon code to get sheets of basically any pose you desire – the deal changes based on the month. In case you sign up for their Super Saver Membership, in that case you get everyday savings (Free 8x10 – No Session Fees, weekday savings – buy one get one free, and member only exclusive sales and special events). The Super Saver Membership is definitely quite inexpensive - I believe it is around ten dollars for a couple of years. In case you want to do a lot of photos – for example, in your kid's first year – in that case it is actually worth it since you get the discount, along with plenty of other special deals. Nonetheless, I have always had fun with the membership. Besides, they have some other specials which are a bit more costly. But, there was just this one time I ever came out of Sears Portrait Studio spending over seventy dollars - and that is when I took my daughter and her best friend both, and had photographs for many friends and family members. What’s more, in case you plan to spend extra, they have many amazing effects they can add to your photos, and most of preset arrangements which are also great.

That's not to imply I never go and do the special deal at JCPenney. Every now and then, JCPenney Portrait Studio will run their special deal with a nice backdrop. But you have to be quite careful with them and double-check what you are actually getting when you go there. If you don’t double-check they may rip you off. When I go there, I’m on alert at all times, and let them take just the first shot. In case I do not like the one the photographer snaps, I make him delete it – keep in mind that this is of vital importance - and then take it over. In case they insist that they have to take enough shots for the full sitting, in that case I say "Okay, take them of the backdrop.” I remove my daughter from the chair, move to the viewing lap-top and wait in an obviously nervous way for them to come and help me. It’s often effective within about 30 sec since they do not want you scaring off their clients. In case you let the photographer take the rest of the shots - when you know you do not want to get them at $19.99 per sheet – in that case you have to go through a minimum of 15 min of their staff trying to guilt you into them saying "That is so beautiful." It is much simpler to not let them take poses you do not want to get. Besides, keep in mind that the prints will not be as great. In case you do not hold them up to a print from some other portrait studio, they look really great. However, they aren’t actually highest-quality.

Just make sure you get the shots you need, regardless of where you decide to go. In case you have a kid, Sears Portrait Studio does the most adorable kids’ shots!

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