I just found out today that walmart is going to be offering wedding and event coverage in certain cities. No this doesnt effect me just yet.Doesnt really effect me anyway.But its the odacity of it all truthfully.I know alot of people use the chain portrait studios because they dont think they can afford anything else. But I can prove to you that 90% of the customers who use chain stores (walmart,sears,olen mills) spend as much there as an independant.
I use to be the asst mgr for the sears studio here in Lawton.I saw on a regular occassion people come in only wanting to spend lets say 100 bucks, but leave spending 4 to 5 hundreded dollars for a session.Especially for that new baby or the 25 family member portrait session.
You get shit quality..yes I said shit quality.For example those studios are NOT ment to photograph more than 10 people.When you get more than that they shoot of the backgraounds.There is no amount of photoshop to fix that there.So you get a photo with the floor & walls exposed just to fit 25 people in a shot.Complete with background railing at the top.It use to drive me INSANE when we had to shoot that because I wanted to fix it.Make it nice for the family because those are heirloom shots.
On top of that for these chain stores there is NO experiance required.Thats right joe blow off the road can come in and get a job even if they've NEVER held a camera in their life.So there is no amount of talent that goes on.Its rare to find someone who's had years of photography experiance when you book with them.On top of that your getting raw untouched files.They say their "enhancing" but its a smoke screen.All they do is click black and white here.Do a sepia tone here.OOOO lets add a frosty vingnette.
Yes I do like some of their effects they produce. but I can do the same thing here with more detail.At chain stores your a # on a convayer belt. You get no time taken...They dont care if you want 3hrs of time.You get 1 and maybe 1. Im just so tired of the "just anyone can do photography" attitude.NO not just anyone can. Here's the differance. Walmart,Sears,Olen Mills is NOT going to spend hours and hours mulling over your photos to make sure every detail is perfect.Walmart,Sears,& Olen Mills is NOT going to spend hours with you to make sure that you are doing well,that every detail is fussed over.That every moment is documented...
I think not.
They will have a time limit..they will have a book they have to go by to shoot your wedding..and lets not even think about the quality.Do you realize that you do not have to have ANY experiance to become a photographer at these places.Thats right..
NO EXPERIANCE AT ALL!!!
So here it is your wedding day.You've hired picture me studios (walmart) to shoot it.A half hung over college student shows up with camera to shoot your big day.Never shot a wedding in his/her life much less anything else of importance.Are you telling me that for 500 bucks your willing to let your images be messed up!?Are you comfortable with your wedding day images being nothing like you imagined.Remember in the photography world you get what you pay for!
I do understand there are people who cant afford more than that.But by the time you are done getting the extra's you just fell in love with I bet you have spent over a grand! So why not pay for the experiance & the quality of an independant photographer?
There is a reason photographers charge what they do.Real professional photographers DO look at details, DO mull over your photos for hours in the editing process. DO try to make it as painless as possible.That way when you get your wedding photos your blown away. Real professionals will do things the big chains stores will not.
We go the mile while they take the shortcut and bank!
The photography buisness is not easy.Not easy at all.Its one of the most up and down buisnesses around.Sometimes your booked solid.Sometimes you cant get a booking even if you were showin leg on the corner.But if your a true professional you love what you do.We put up with it because all that matters is that you our precious clients are happy!
We will work 16 to 18 hours a day editing to make sure everythings perfect.Yes I said 16 to 18hours a day.I along with many other photographers dont sleep much because there is always so much to do.We might get between 4 to 6 hrs of sleep a night because there's always editing,orders to be filled,marketing to be sent out,emails to be checked etc etc.Not to mention just being there when our clients need to ask questions.
So before you decide that you want a chain store to take some of the most precious images of your life.Think to yourself...
"Do they really care about me and my day? or is it just another dollar in the bank?"
I can give you the answer.But I wont. Same goes for regular portraiture.You will not get special lighting,or artistic graphics that you oo and aww over at chain stores.Everything looks the same...
Also another thing to remember.At chain stores the book for numbers.For example at the Sears studio they are allowed to book each shooting room every 15mins.So lets just look at this for a moment.
There are 4 15min blocks in an hour.Lets say you have 3 shooting rooms.That means 12 appointments in 1 hour for that studio.Now lets look at christmas.They are normally open from 8am to 10pm.
So if you have 3 shooting rooms your looking at over 100 appointments for 1 day!
Thats WAY WAY WAY too much for one establishment.You also cant keep up good high quality images like this.Now lets toss in that most children just simply dont want to and that doesnt matter the age.So here you are trying to get good shots of a family in 15mins.Not gonna happen.Your normally backed up by hour 2!
With independants that doesnt happen.They book to serve you and your family.Most of the time sessions last a few hours,depending on the session type.
Ok I am going to step off my soap box now.Thank you for reading.. Before you book your wedding.Shop around...Look at photographers work.Book a meeting to met the photographer.Ask to see work in person.Ask the questions and get your info straight.Knowledge is the key my dears..knowledge is the key! Remember you get what you pay for...and by the time you think you wont spend more at chain stores your down 300 bucks for cookie cutter everybody looks the same photography.Go with a good independant photographer and be truely satisfied!