Thursday, September 20, 2012

Babies in Sepia (and other adventures in mall photography)

As a parent, you aren't proud of every single thing you do, and I think that's normal. For example, I'm not proud that I got totally conned into paying for a photo shoot at the mall where they dress your baby up in old-fashioned clothes.

But since the event was a couple weeks ago, I've picked my chin up and I won't be held back from shame. Yes, I am now in possession of sepia-toned images of June looking like a flapper doll.

Sometimes I go to the mall to wander with June even before the mall itself opens. In this case, the mall was opening and the kiosk workers were on the prowl. Now, I've been meaning to take some more professional pictures of June. So after I said "no" to the photographers twice, but kept staring at the examples they have on display, they knew they had me. Two minutes later, I'm dressing my toddler up in a pale pink frock and fake pearls in a not-exactly-closed-in dressing room in the middle of the mall hallway.

June was - to be concise - not thrilled.

She did not want to sit in the vintage suitcase. She did not want to hold the fake flowers. She did not want to play with the old-timer telephone or some kind of contraption that I can only assume makes daguerrotypes. The only thing that made her stop looking like she was being tortured was a fake apple, of all things. With the reassuring, "Uh, I think we" from the photographer, June was back into her normal clothes and we were on our way. 

I came back a week later to pick up the results. See, included in the $20 fee was a 11"x14" print. 

I approached the booth and asked the first guy I saw. He immediately passed me off to The Closer. What I hadn't even considered - because I am surely that naive - was that they would try to up-sell me a package of pictures. 

This guy was such a slime! 

"This package, eh, normally $180. All the pictures $180. For you, I do $150. One fifty. For you!"

I think not preparing for the onslaught was actually a positive. I didn't care the slightest about being polite...I just wanted to pick up my 11x14 and go. He was laying out several different pictures in several different sizes.

"I don't like any of the 11x14's you have printed. Can I get that one in an 11x14? It's the only one where she's sort of smiling."

"No, the printer only make these. But you can have all these...and these...I give you for, eh, $100."

"I don't want those, she looks upset in them."

"How 'bout this one! She so beautiful!"

"You're pointing to the one where she looks the most terrified."

"She so beautiful!"

I was just killing time deciding between the three 11x14's, a little sad I couldn't have the semi-smile one. The thing to realize is that you are completely in control here. They have already eaten the cost of the pictures. If you don't buy any, they just have to throw them away. They will be happy with any money they get from you at this point. 

"How much for that 8x10 of her smiling?"

"I give you all of these, all of these for $50."

"I'm not buying those. How much for the one 8x10?"

I told myself I'd spend $20 and I did. I spent $20 and got the 8x10 and a handful of smaller versions of the semi-smile. They can take the ones of June wincing at the camera and go pound sand for all I care.

Anyway, it was a hoot. I didn't tell Michael about any of it so I could surprise him with the pictures (and the reenactment of my negotiating). I'm glad I did it, even if I'm happiest with the 8x10 and now wondering what to do with the 11x14 below. 

So I present the results. The hard-fought 8x10:

And the gigantic freebee, the one that was the best of the three, if you'll believe it:

I know what you think: "She so beautiful!" (I do.)


  1. ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    DYING at her face here.

    I love her.

  2. this was SO. FUNNY.

    juls i love you.


  3. She's beautiful, smiling or not! Still, this post is funny!