Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Portrait of a Saturday (The Sequel)

(NOTE: Readers of “Off Planet” may proceed to Part 7 now. To start at the beginning, click here.)

Ben the Great
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.

Best Suited PicAt 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.

Face of JoyBy 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.)

TrioMy 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.

Figure 1

Seated Wide

Seated Final Crop

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.

Criss Cross ApplesauceYeah, right. I’m going to just double over with laughter in the corner while you see how that works out for you. Tap my shoulder when you’re done.

A few of our prints still ended up too bright, but we can live with them.

What do you expect for $125?

Upstanding Young BoyIt’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.

8 Responses to Portrait of a Saturday (The Sequel)

  1. Typo:
    “That made put his mouth in the proper shape”

    The first picture, looks like he’s conducting an orchestra… right at the high part ready to come to a crescendo! *LOL*

    Great pics anyways…. but yeah, they shouldn’t crop like that. They lost some resolution doing that.

  2. Dave – Fixed it. Thanks!

    Ah yes. Conducting an orchestra. I like that. He did sleep his baby nights away with Mozart softly playing in the background.

    Well, not Mozart himself, but folks playing his music. You understand.

  3. “Criss Cross Applesauce”?? Sounds like a really bad boy band that gets most of their lyrical ideas from their grandmothers.

    Handsome lad you and Shannon have there. I remember the portrait pics from last year and, in spite of the relatively amateurish photographer you were burdened with, he looks even better now than then.

    That top caption should be, “Mommy’s got Daddy by the… what? I didn’t catch that. Could you repeat it please?”

  4. Despite everything, the picutres look great. Ben’s cuteness has been properly bottled for future enjoyment.

    I wish I had taken the time to dig through your archives and refresh my memory on your Phonto Innovations recommendation. Moonshto ran Norah over to JC Penny’s last week and was completely dissappointed. It seemed so simple…and we had a coupon…ah well, we got some cute pictures and now we know for next year.

  5. Simon – Yeah, that was the phrase the photog used to try to get Ben to sit with his legs crossed in front of him. He looked at her like he’d never heard that before… because he hadn’t.

    When we looked at the pictures later to choose our package (most men wish they could choose their package), Ben kept saying, “I want the criss cross applesauce.” So, this woman had quite an influence over Ben’s budding lexicon.

    Very funny caption, butthead.

    MG – I like you mangling of the word “pictures” to “picutres.” It’s the Canadian variation of “picuters,” which conveys “cute pictures.”

    Sorry you didn’t see this in time to save Moonshot from JC Penney’s photographic clutches. I don’t know that we’ve used JC Penney for portraits in the past, but we’ve used Sears, and PI definitely beats them.

  6. Hi Mark,
    I just saw your blog profile at Mike’s blog and I like the picture of you with your son. Reason for me to ‘go-and-look’ at you blog, I liked what I saw , because I am always hasseling and therefore interested in Photograpy also of others.( and the world behind that such as on the PC) I followed the Academy of Potograpy, but thats not enough for technics…. I was photographing my (together with my dad) at first with ‘trowaway’ camera’s, now with better camera’s .. :) I like your way of blogging..

    So thats all for now, You are welcome to visit my (Dutch-English) blog, and of course “say what you want to make my photograpy better”
    Tips are always welcome,

    Bye perhaps I see you on my blog I hope?

    :) JoAnn ‘s ” Digital eyes”

  7. I love the sitting pose of Ben in his suit. And omg, those cute little loafers! At first I thought I was seeing things, but someone definitely did “style” his hair. Very cute.
    Ben is an amazingly handsome boy. I used to think he mostly resembled you, Mark, but I’m seeing Shannon in his features here and there.

  8. JoAnn – I just dropped by your blog. It’s a good place to visit. Thanks.

    Linda – I styled his hair. In fact, I had to re-do it about three times once we started (changing clothes didn’t help it much).

    I must admit he is cute. It’s good to know it’s not just parental pride clouding my judgment. At the same time, however, I don’t want him to ever let it go to his head. Looks are just icing on the cake (as we’ve all witnessed with both you and your daughter, if I may say so).


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