“Lady, You’re Scarin’ Us.”
Brad and I quote Billy Madison probably more than your average couple, but the quote above is just so damn fitting in so many situations, especially the one we found ourselves in this weekend.
(Go get Sadie’s picture taken, that is.)
(We never take photos of our family leotard sessions.)
Yes, we finally caved and gave Sadie the full Sears Portrait Studio experience so that my parents would clam up about it already have the “professional” photos they’ve been asking for all these months. We had gotten a coupon for a free sitting fee and complimentary small print package (more on the ass-fucking of their prices and fees later), and going to the mall was on our rainy day agenda anyway, so…how difficult could it be, right? It’ll take, what, an hour, tops? Oh, and she doesn’t really have an outfit that’s picture-worthy (and still fits), so…we’ll just pick one up in the baby department before we head down to the studio. And we’ll just throw a bottle in the diaper bag, because surely we’ll be done and back home before it’s time for her to eat dinner. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG WITH THIS MOST EXPERTLY LAID PLAN?
Actually, the first part of the plan worked remarkably well: we got to the mall, cruised right into the baby department and found a cute-but-not-too-cute dress and some matching tights. PERFECT. Buy it, let’s go.
Off to the portrait studio, where there was only one other family getting their pictures taken. AWESOME. I’ll just slap the dress on the baby, squeeze her into these tights, and…oh. Her shoes are too big. Like, WAY big. Well, I’ll just run back and buy a pair of those cute little white patent numbers I saw in the baby department. NO BIG DEAL. We are totally mastering the baby photo experience (just please, pleasepleaseplease don’t poop, kid).
Unless, of course, pooping is required in order to properly work it for the camera.
While we waited for the studio to free up, we were told to pick two extra backgrounds in addition to the plain, white, standard background that would begin the session. Here’s where I started to remember why I have a distaste for the photo studio experience in the first place, because I struggled to find two backgrounds that DID NOT include one or more of the following: intrusive flowers, fake landscapes, words like “PRECIOUS GIFT” in puffy fonts, fences, and very season-specific patterns completely inappropriate for the current time of year.
I selected a yellow (“Buttercup”), and a retina-searing green (“Clover”), mostly because they were two of the only solid backgrounds available, even though I really just wanted them all taken in front of the white background. And you’d think they’d be able to do that for me, right? But OH HO HO HO NO, because the fine folks at Sears are CONVINCED that the colored backgrounds will somehow multiply your child’s adorableness by a factor of 5,000, therefore making your purchase of multiple (EXPENSIVE-ASS) prints an inevitability. Stupid Sears!
After the backgrounds were selected, we waited. And waited. And made fun of the sample portraits on the wall. And waited.
Finally, it was Sadie’s turn. And things started out great! She was smiling, she was happy, and her dress looked really cute against the white background. But with each change of background, she seemed to get progressively more freaked out. I chalk this up mostly to the photographer, who kept SHRIEKING at my baby in a voice somewhere between “harpy” and “banshee,” and who also kept leaning forward to give Sadie’s cheeks a quick squeeze with her terrifyingly long nails.
Which was meant to yield a smile (and sometimes actually did), but mostly just made me nervous that she’d spear my baby’s eyeball like a cocktail onion.
The yellow background was second, followed by the (horrific) green background. Sadie was really starting to come unhinged thanks to the fucking Foley artist of a photographer, and then? The photographer insisted we lay Sadie flat on her back while she scattered fake flowers around her head. In order to…take pictures that looked as if I dropped Sadie on the floor of a JoAnn Fabrics? I don’t know. All’s I know is it looked ridiculous, and my baby was perilously close to losing her shit. When it became clear that we weren’t going to get any more smiles out of Sadie (whose poor little eyes were rimmed with tears of horror thanks to the CONSTANT SCREAMING of Ansel fucking Adams), I figured that – being a reasonable adult – the photographer would stop.
Oh, nooooo no no no no.
Because these photo places? INSIST on taking a minimum amount of shots. And not because they are nice like that, but because they want to make sure they give you ample opportunities to throw cash at them for prints, EVEN WHEN those prints are of your poor child’s traumatized, tear-stained face.
Don’t they know I already take plenty of those myself?!
So even when Sadie was giving me a look that convinced me we were going to have to skip ice cream at the food court and head straight for therapy, that damn lady just KEPT ON SNAPPING PHOTOS. I was about three seconds from telling her where she could shove her hideous green backdrop when she finally stopped, and we rescued Sadie from her artificial flowerbed of SAD.
Roughly ten light years later, we were able to view the prints and place our order. This is where you really get fucked in the whole studio photo process, because NOT ONLY do the prices of the photos go up if you don’t order any right there on the spot, but the prints are EXPENSIVE, yo! And we didn’t even pay a sitting fee (or should I say, a “have-your-baby-traumatized fee”), which is another significant expense. Look, I don’t mean to give the impression that I think the photos or the service should be free, but…if you’re going to price gouge me, at least give me the option to choose a background that doesn’t look like a goddamn Trapper Keeper.
Here is where I admit that – even though the whole photo studio thing is not really my scene – OF COURSE the photos of Sadie were adorable. I just wish the whole process was more up front. When we walked in the place, this is how the conversation should have gone:
Me: “Hi, I need to get some pictures taken of my baby.”
Sears: “Of course. We’ll be forcing you to choose from ugly backgrounds and strange poses because we known you’re a sucker for your kid and will throw any amount of cash at us in an attempt to preserve your baby in time forever.”
Me: “Naturally. And I fully expect to feel taken advantage of.”
Sears: “Perfect. Glad we had this talk.”
(AND LOOK WHO CAN STAND!)
Entry filed under: Gobble-gobble.