The great Benjini whips up a spell.
(click any thumbnail image to enlarge)
We made it through another portrait session with Benjamin.
Although I was tempted, we didn’t order any prints of the top picture. The little guy was being so silly that it was tough for the photographer to get many keepers. I think if they would have started with some mild efforts to get him to smile, it would have gone a little better.
I just hope Ben doesn’t repeat one of the phrases the photographer used to get him to smile.
At one point, she told him, “Say, ‘Daddy has stinky feet.'” That made him put his mouth in the proper shape. Fine. It didn’t bother me because I know that my brother’s the one cursed with that malady.
Then, in what I can only interpret as an effort to mask her flirtation in front of my wife, she said, “Say, ‘Daddy is a pretty princess.'” Ben laughed and said exactly that.
And then said it at least 10 more times while I helped him change out of his suit.
But back to what I was saying about going too far too soon.
By age 4, a lot of kids will smile for a picture if you just tell them, “Say cheese,” and Ben’s getting better about it. But, the photographer started right off shoving a stuffed dog at him and pulling it away to make him smile, putting it on her head and having him blow it off, et cetera. (In a moment that made me proud, Ben proved too quick for her by snatching the dog out of her hand.)
That’s a small gripe considering what we paid for what we got. I still think Portrait Innovations has the best deal going on family portraits, as I explained here last year. (We avoided injury this time.)
My only actual gripe is that they shoot the pictures fairly wide and then crop them to make the final sales pitch and the prints. The example below (Fig. 1) illustrates that. This makes for prints that aren’t as sharp as they should be. I don’t know how many megapixels they were shooting, but judging from the file sizes, I’d say about six. You can’t crop that very much and still get a sharp 8×10.
Okay, one more complaint. The lighting was too bright for many of the first few poses, and the photographer had to keep walking out to the sales area to ask a more experienced staffer whether they were salvageable. Turns out some of them weren’t, so she tried to shoot them again.
A few of our prints still ended up too bright, but we can live with them.
What do you expect for $125?
It’s a bit frustrating when I see that this shop has only two things I don’t — lights and backgrounds. They shoot the same camera I do, except with the Fujifilm name on it. Nikon licenses its camera bodies out to Fujifilm (and maybe another company), but then that company puts its own sensor and other electronics in it.
For now, I handle the outdoor portrait work, and we pay someone for indoors. I do not doubt that Portrait Innovations will get our money again next year.
The best news is that Ben hasn’t said, “Daddy is a pretty princess” since then.