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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    NJ, USA.
    Posts
    230

    Default Portrait studios: Sears vs. JCPenney vs. Target vs. Picture People...etc.

    I was wondering if anyone would care to comment on their experiences at various portrait studios. What do you like? Dislike?

    I know that quality sometimes varies from one national chain to the other based on the quality of the photographers they hire, but in general, I'd like to know the pros and cons of each.

    So far, I've only been to Target, and I haven't even picked up the pics yet so I can't comment on their quality. Here's my view on Target so far:

    Pros: With club membership, I get 4.99 sheets; I can choose from any pose; they have decent props

    Cons:
    -They don't offer two 5x7's on a sheet (just one 5x7 and some useless (IMHO) wallets
    -If I choose to use one of their 8.99 per package coupons, any sheets of other poses jump in price to 14.99
    -(Big con)The digital preview pictures that you select from are of SUCH poor quality that it's hard to view details that may influence whether or not you buy the picture
    -Once the order is placed, even if you come back the same day, they charge you 12.99 a sheet with a minimum of two sheets (Hence the pressure to order more pictures as you try to view them on the crappy monitor)

    Perhaps some of the "cons" are standard at most studios; I haven't yet been elswhere so I wouldn't know. BTW, even though I refer to the studio as "Target" they don't actually run it; the studio is operated by Life Touch.

    I'm picking up my pics on 10/5, and if they aren't good (hard to tell with the poor quality digital preview) I'll have to go elsewhere.

    Sorry for the long post, and thanks for your opinions.

    -Ivona

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,756

    Default RE: Portrait studios: Sears vs. JCPenney vs. Target vs. Picture People...etc.

    I used to be a Sears fan, but I've switched my loyalty to Penneys.

    -At Penneys, they have more than one employee. (Sears did not).

    -I've never waited more than 20 minutes at Penneys.

    -I have had three of the same photographers for 2 years. (I never had the same photographer in 4 years at Sears).

    -At Penneys they take a bunch of pics and you choose your package from 5 to 10 poses (I've hears Sears is now doing this too, but they sure didn't used to!!)

    -Penneys doesn't seem to have the high pressure sales for you to buy more pics when you originally place your order. (Sears always wanted to sell me their crappy resolution 'proof sheet').

    -Penneys sends back 3 sheets of your second choice pose with your package. So when you go to pick up your pictures, there will be one B&W picture and then two other sheets of pics that you can buy, all for $15. This is a DEAL over their normal $12.99 (I think!) per sheet price.

    -Penneys packages are around $8. They always have coupons for 'buy by the sheet' for $4 to $5.
    ~~AngelaS~~
    Mommy to 3 girls: A, G and M. (15, 11 and 8.5)

    The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother's care, shall be in state institutions at state expense.
    Karl Marx, "The Communist Manifesto"

  3. #3
    KrisM is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    MI, USA.
    Posts
    21,596

    Default RE: Portrait studios: Sears vs. JCPenney vs. Target vs. Picture People...etc.

    I've only done Sears and only did it once so far. But, I'm going to try Penney's next time. What I didn't like about Sears was the only one person working and that it took 20 minutes for me to pay for my photos. I had done the picking out part and was at the register for 20 more minutes! When I picked them up, there was 1 person in front of me and it took them 20 minutes to pay and leave. Why?

    Also, I didn't like that they printed more sheets than I ordered and tried to sell them to me when I picked up my photos. I didn't want any more, or I would have ordered them in the first place. The price wasn't any better or anything. So, it seems that they are just building in the cost of throw-away sheets in the hopes that some will buy them. I find it annoying.

    One thing I might try is making an appointment at both Sears and Penneys and just buying the cheap package at each place. That way, you get a lot of pictures and 2 poses for not a lot of money. The per sheet cost is so much more!

    Kris

    Mom to:
    DS1 4/2004
    DD 6/2006
    DS2 7/2008

  4. #4
    amp Guest

    Default RE: Portrait studios: Sears vs. JCPenney vs. Target vs. Picture People...etc.

    Do a search on portraits and you'll find lots of threads on this.

    We have only used Target. With the membership you can get 4.99 sheets, among other things, but you don't have to have any membership to get your portraits done there. There is no sitting fee, and no requirement to buy prints. You will get one free 8x10 with your sitting (your choice of pose). If you order at the time of the sitting, you get to order portrait sheets for 5.99.

    It is true that the qality of the digital preview is very sucky. But only on one occasion would I have not purchased a particular pose if I had seen it more clearly. And I don't really regret having it anyway, but would have saved the money if I knew it looked like he was going to cry, not smile. I still am glad to have the pic. All the pics we've had have been excellent quality and the photographers have done their best to get the best shots based in my wants as far as lack of props, type of background, etc. We've been very pleased and have had pics taken there 4x now.

    Also, when you pic up your portraits, bring a little extra cash. They generally send along 3 promotional portrait sheets that you can purchase. They have a separate cost for each sheet or you can buy all three for like $15. We usually get them. Sometimes they are just copies of your fav shots, and one is usually a "Distinctions" portrait in B&W or something. You have a few days to buy them and they become unavailable.

    ETA: Oh, and it's true that 2 5x7's on a page would be more useful, but the smaller pics are nice to send to relatives that you wouldn't buy a 5x7 for, as well as for wallets and small frames.

  5. #5
    kthomp Guest

    Default RE: Portrait studios: Sears vs. JCPenney vs. Target vs. Picture People...etc.

    Well, I have experience with three out of the four studios mentioned. I am kind of a picture-aholic. :-)

    SEARS
    I have been there most often- 5 times. I have had a good experience there every time except one when I happened to be lucky enough to get a brand new photographer. x(
    Pros: They run great coupons, usually $3.99 or $4.99 a sheet. Some coupons also have no sitting fees.
    The preview screens are pretty good, not excellent, but the best I've seen so far.
    They do the 2 5x7's per sheet, perfect for gift giving!
    They have a lot of cute backgrounds and some nice props too.
    Cons: You could get a new or a bad photographer, there is a lot of turnover there. Once you find someone you like, you should request them.
    They always try to sell you the enhanced sheets. I find the newer the employee, the more they try to push you into buying them.

    JC PENNEY
    I've only been there once, but I did really like them.
    Pros: The photographer was really nice and very helpful, but she was the only one there.
    Same as Sears, the run good coupons for cheap sheets or packages.
    They also have nice backgrounds and I loved their Easter props (bunnies that looked real). I also love their rose blanket backdrop.
    The prints came in really fast- I had them in a week and a half (in time for Easter).
    Cons: They do not do 2 5x7's per sheet.
    The corners of the pictures themselves are rounded, which can make them look funny in some frames.

    PICTURE PEOPLE
    I "discovered" them when Ally was 10 months old and I have been several times since, but I usually only buy one or two sheets because of the price.
    Pros: The biggest pro has to be that you get your pictures an hour after they are taken. You don't have to look at a preview screen and guess which one you will like. You can actually see it in every size and choose which ones you like best.
    They usually have a coupon for a free 10x13 or 8x10 and free sitting fee.
    They have a lot of really neat props.
    They have very simple, single color backdrops.
    Cons: The have very simple, single color backdrops. This can get boring!
    PRICE!!!!! They used to be $15 a sheet, and now they just went up to $18!
    ETA: Forgot to add that you see the pictures they choose, you do not see every single shot they take. They have five "categories" and the usually show you one of each. I always wonder why the didn't show me one over another, and if I would have liked the one they didn't show me better.

    Overall, I like Picture People if I just want one or two shots and Sears if I want a lot for gift-giving. I used Sears for my Christmas gift pictures last year and was very happy with the quantity I was able to get for the price.

    HTH! I'd be happy to answer any more questions you may have!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ.
    Posts
    3,403

    Default RE: Portrait studios: Sears vs. JCPenney vs. Target vs. Picture People...etc.

    The Picture People do not let you see what the pics look like until they are printed THEN you choose. So you only see one set of each pose. They are very expensive even with the coupons. I really like the look and style of their pictures, but I am not going to go back until I can get my dd to pose on command. I spent over $50.00 on pictures that made my dd look like a klingon baby (lol). Sears was only 5.99 for the package and she looked so much cuter. Even if it was a plainer background.

    Sears does take forever on checking you out etc. DH and I make the first appt. of the morning. When we are done, he takes her out in the mall and I finish up.

    Karin and Katie 10/24/02

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA.
    Posts
    7,559

    Default RE: Portrait studios: Sears vs. JCPenney vs. Target vs. Picture People...etc.

    I have only gone to picture people.

    pros:
    - quality of pics
    - nice props
    - get pics in 1 hour

    cons:
    - expensive!
    - only take 5 poses
    - felt rushed

    I felt that picture people was overpriced for what you were getting. I think I would have rather taken the money I had spent there and go to a "private" photographer. Sure, he would probably cost more than picture people but at least the service would be better. I was disappointed that the picture people only take 5 poses. Luckily my DS was pretty cooperative during the shoot, but I can totally see a situation where all the poses turn out bad.

    Next time I will try sears with one of their coupons.

    I've heard good things about jcpenneys but unfortunately, the closest one to our house is 45 minutes away. (I can't believe that the 3 closest malls to our house don't have a jcpenneys.)
    Mommy to 2 DS's (2003 and 2007)

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