Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Day Late and Hundreds of Dollars Short


This picture includes an outfit that is designed for the baby’s first birthday.

It’s cute, really. There’s a cake on it, and obviously the girl inside the outfit is adorable.

I suppose there are other, more organized parents who might have gotten this picture taken on the baby’s first birthday. Or maybe in the same week, give or take.

We took ‘em the week she turned 14 months old.

I’d like to say there’s a story there, but it had more to do with being busy, and trying to research the topic.

One could argue that the best way to deal with getting baby pictures taken is to figure out whatever is cheapest, and head there, and take the picture and be done with it.

But as it happens, we know professional photographers. Which is neat, but there’s a whole extra expense issue there, at most pro photogs charge a sitting fee. Meaning you show up, and just by being there for an hour, you owe ‘em $50.

One place was up front about this – it’ll cost this much to be here for this time.

The other place we looked at, we checked everywhere on their web site, and there was no information on prices.

So we sent them an email, asking about prices, and got no answers. So clearly they weren’t that interested in new business.

And then there’s The Picture People. Who we finally called because Mihret was getting bigger and was going to age out of the outfit her Nona bought for her, and we were NOT going to let that happen, we just WERE NOT.

Nice enough folks, The Picture People. They give you their prices up-front. There’s no sitting fee, and you just pay per sheet – meaning, say, the cost of an 8 by 10, or 10 wallets, is the same, because they’re both one sheet.

I knew there had to be a scam of sorts, but I couldn’t suss out what it was.

We called them up, and they had an opening at the time we needed one. Which struck me as a miracle. So we moseyed on over, with the baby freshly napped and fed and ready to rock out.

We took pictures. Dozens of them, in different poses, with different objects, and even in a couple of different outfits.

Then we were told it would take about 20 minutes to “edit” the photos, and we wandered the mall, and when we came back… they tried to spring the trap.

The trap is easy enough – they stick a bunch of the cutest pictures into frames and then tell you that they are “only” XYZ dollars. Always north of $100.

Now, I can see this working. My kid is adorable, and I’m sure everyone else thinks much the same way about their own child. So you’re sitting there, with these really nice photos, really nicely presented, and all you can think is “my daughter will never be this age again.”

And then I turned to Kara and said, “Before you think about buying anything, ask yourself this – where are you going to HANG the photos?”

We have a kinda small house, and wall space is at a premium there. Most of the walls are crammed with stuff, and we have things that very much need framing so they can fill up the remaining spaces.

What we really don’t need are a bunch of oddly-sized frames that really have no place to belong in our household. So we managed to hold off there.

Then came the “Well, how many of these OTHER photos do you want?” questions, with, of course, the caveat that we can buy them in a package, and this will magically save us money. By spending $150.

I have to say, the logic just plain escaped me at that point. It’s brilliant, because each and every picture is of your favorite thing in the world, and even though you have no homes for the pictures, you buy and you buy and you buy and you think, “Won’t these look cute together?”

One of the magical things about having a child so young is that they change from day to day. You encourage them to grow, and at the same time you hope from moment to moment that you’ll never forget each mystical slice of time as it passes by. The first time your kid says the word “Puppy.” The first time the baby gives you a sloppy kiss on the cheek when you ask for one.

Just how tiny and amazing they are – that they can open books and flip pages and look like they’re reading, and studying, and are otherwise fascinated at the magic contained between the pages.

As I type this, the majority of the pictures still sit in our house, frameless. They’re wonderful, adorable, perfect photos that we have no time to hang because Mihret is getting bigger and doing exciting stuff and otherwise putting us under her spell just because we love her so much.

Hopefully, we’ll be smart and buy fewer photos next time.

And maybe we’ll get the photos we already have up on the walls before she becomes a teenager. That’d be nice, too.
-Josh

1 comment:

jessica said...

Kara, Josh - As much as I hate to say it... WalMart. $7 (or whatever deal they have on for the week). The only caveat is that you have to get your kid to sit for six poses. You only have to buy the first. :D