Family Photos for Christmas

This year (and the two years previous) I have purchased a Groupon for a portrait package with JC Penney Portrait Studios.  The purpose of the purchase was to have Christmas photos taken for our family Christmas card.

This year was by far the best experience we have had with the studio.  Each time we have used the same studio, and both this year and last year we had the same photographer.  I think a large part of the better experience this year was because Genevieve was older and better able to follow instructions.  She was also easier to bribe.

The most frustrating part of the experience is the time it takes to go through the ordering process after the pictures are taken.  The photographers are required to create specialty photos and packages for every option, prior to you being able to checkout.  This is a very time consuming process and quite annoying.  This is especially true since they try to rush through the process (because they know you want it to be done) and throw together things that dont even look good.

Our Groupon this year cost $13 and included 3 digital images (with rights), 1 free photo sheet, and 40% off any additional purchases.

Overall I have been very impressed with my Groupon photo packages and their values.  However, I must say, that next year I will be much more particular about paying attentions to sales and what I order.

I wanted to purchase Christmas cards, but there is currently a sale going  on that was cheaper than my Groupon 40% discount.  I asked about getting that price instead and was told that  I could not combine coupons.  I asked how long until my online album was created (they now load all your photos into an online album for future orders) and was told that it would be 48 hours until it would be available. I asked about ordering a ceramic ornament and was told those had to be ordered online. I went ahead and placed my order (and spent more than I intended … as always).

My frustration grew some when I got home and found out that my digital prints were ready to download and my full online album was ready to view.  I also discovered that I could already order from my online album and the prices were significantly less than I had paid when I was in the studio earlier.

Lesson learned.  Next year I will only take what is offered in my Groupon package and then go online and order from my album.  We always have these pictures taken at about the same time of year – so there is always a sale going on.

I will say that the staff were nice and the pictures ( for the most part) were really good.

Note: Michael refused to have a solo picture taken of himself.


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