Our Disappointing Picture Company Session

As a mom, I love taking pictures of my sons. In J's first year alone, I amassed more than 2000 photos of him. These photos help preserve memories of special days and the everyday moments that make up a childhood. Same story with Little C, although most of the photos are now taken with my phone camera instead of our trusty digital camera.

Despite having a ton of photos, I still wanted to get professional family and child portraits taken. So when I found vouchers for discounted membership for The Picture Company (TPC), I jumped at the chance. My nephews and nieces had portraits taken at their studios and I always liked those pictures.

Our first photo shoot as members of TPC was scheduled at their Rockwell branch. Since they were a studio that catered to taking kids' portraits, I was expecting a very professionally conducted photo shoot, despite the fact that I was with a rambunctious 2-year-old and a 6-month-old. I was highly disappointed because of our photographer.

First, I felt that our photographer was very exasperated and irritated by the fact that J was running all over the place. Of course, it's a new place, with tons of toys and new things to see, he won't sit in one spot and smile for you. I thought it was just me, but apparently every one who was with us that day got the same vibe: my husband, my two yayas, even my parents and sister who came to see my sons in their first pictorial together. I acknowledge that taking photos of my son that day was a challenge, but these photographers are supposed to be used to taking pictures of kids. I doubt that my son was the only kid who couldn't stay still during a pictorial.

Second, sensing the photographer's mounting irritation, I was asking her to suggest different poses or set-ups that my son would be more likely to cooperate with. At that time, the two boys were just sitting down or lying on the rug. I asked her, several times, "Do you have any other ideas of poses or set-ups we can try?" She didn't respond, and I don't know if it's because she didn't hear me, or she just really didn't want to answer. In the end, I suggested some possible poses based on previous photos I saw. I guess I expected more input from her because she's supposed to be the professional, not me.

Third, the photographer seemed unwilling to go with the flow. Little C wouldn't look at the camera, so the yayas were trying to coax him into looking forward so we could get good shots of his face. One of my yayas happened to notice the sintras boards for other clients lying on the shelf and picked one up to get my son's attention. It worked, Little C looked up and at the camera and smiled at the picture of the other baby. Instead of taking the opportunity to snap photos, the photographer said, "Ate, wag po yan. May nag-order po niyan." (Don't use that, that's someone else's order.) I understand that the photo board belonged to other people, but it's not like the yaya gave it to the baby to play with. She was just waving it around so that Little C would look at the camera. Also, there was one point that the boys wanted to play with the balls. The photographer took several pieces from the crate and gave it to them, but of course, that's not enough for kids, they want all the balls. When we took some more from the crate and gave it to them, she said, "Tama na, makalat na e." I'm hoping she was referring to the pictures, and not to the mess. The thing is, if it keeps the kids happy and willing to take pictures, I don't see what the problem is. If it looks too cluttered in the photo, she could always edit some out right?

Lastly, she seemed to be conserving her shots. By this, I mean she wasn't taking as many photos as she could. See, in my amateur experience taking photos of my boys, I learned that the general rule is to take as many as possible, to keep shooting, in the hopes that there are one or two good photos that we can use. But during the shoot, it felt like the photographer was waiting for both the kids to be in a good pose before she'd snap a shot. There were several points where I would tell her, "There, he's smiling na!" She wasn't even looking at the boys, just fiddling with her camera. As my husband said, "Parang film camera gamit niya a. Kelangan tipirin yung shot." (It's like she's using a film camera where you have to conserve your shots.) It ended up that every time I would ask her if she got any good shots, she'd say, "These are all I have."

When the session was finished, I didn't have so many nice photos to choose from. We've tried having a TPC pictorial before with just J (at the Podium branch), when they also issued vouchers for single photo sessions, and that time, I had the problem of too many photos to choose from. There were so many nice photos, I couldn't narrow down the choices. This time, the choice was easy. There were only four family photos to choose from, and two were not good. In one picture, the two kids and I looked nice, but Big C's eyes were half closed. In the other, the four of us were looking in separate directions. Thankfully, the other two were passable. I was also really disappointed that in the series of pictures where the two boys were together, Little C wasn't smiling in any of the photos. In Little C's solo shots though, there were several nice ones and that mollified me a little.

In their website, TPC says that they "take great care to make sure that every portrait session is an enjoyable experience for you and your family". It certainly didn't feel that way last Sunday and I can't express how disappointed I was by what happened. I know it wasn't easy to take pictures of my sons, but I would have appreciated a little more patience, effort and enthusiasm from the photographer.

I want to maximize the membership with lots of shoots, but based on our Rockwell experience, it's safe to say that I'll be trying out the other branches next time. I'm just hoping that our next photo shoot will be a vast improvement over this one. Any recommendations for which branches and photographers to try will be much appreciated.

Till the next post!


sarah capiral said...

just had our photo session last Saturday at their SM North Edsa Annex branch...I was telling a friend of mine about our experience and what I kept saying was, "Yung photographer ay overly overly perky and accomodating." Im sorry to hear about your experience though. That photog could have been having a bad day at that time...If you're not far from the North then I suggest you try the North Edsa branch :)

quakermommy said...

Hey Sarah! Thanks for the tip! We actually live closer to the North Edsa branch, but we usually go to Rockwell on Sundays because it's less crowded. But I think I will check out the North Edsa branch. Have a great day! :)

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Mavel Lanuza said...

I want to share our experience,

My baby had her session sa podium, we had the shoot in preparation of our baby's dedication. The shoot was good. Julia, our photog was nice. We availed the membership that day too, sobrang tuwa ko, and sa tingin ko makaktipid din. Well known pricey nga naman mga package, but we are after the quality.

Biruin mo naman hires digi copy lang 800+++ na and etc and fond of photographs talga.

But disappointed sa delivered output nila, (to think, during the selection of photos to print, tinanong ko kung possible fixing and retouch in some areas, and sabi naman maayos pa.) pero yung dineliver AS IS, may pingas sa tenga at tapyas sa ulo. 6k+ Ginastos namin for that then ganun diba. Pati mister ko nainis. Late pa dineliver. Hindi nakakatuwa.

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