Monday, 17 June 2013

Photo Competition conundrum


                How being a runner up in a family portrait competition leaves us out of pocket


I got all excited! I had been drawn a runner up in a competition and had won the chance to have a family portrait done with a free framed 7 x 5 photograph. This is with a high profile photo company. I was phoned at home, when I was rushing around trying to organise my daughter and couldn't hear all of the phonecall, but I booked my time for the photo shoot.

This is where the first "out of pocket" moment could occur. It costs extra if you want a weekend shoot, so my husband had to take the afternoon off of work in order to get a "free" shoot instead. The shoot itself was fantastic, I must say! It was an experience we will never forget. Our daughter was totally at ease and was smiling away at the camera, and we were asked what we wanted from the shoot, so they could concentrate on that aspect for the photo shoot.

The we were shown the catalogue so we could go home and discuss what we would like to do. This is the next bad money moment.....the prices were from £300!!! Yes, we had our free one, but we knew there were going to be some great shots and we would have to choose from so many!! My husband and I began to do some research online about peoples competition wins with this particular company and we were shocked to hear that so many people felt tricked out of their money.

Turns out that being a runner up happens to everyone that enters who doesn't get the big prize. We began to read how our pictures would be put to music and we would be made to cry, playing on our emotions and that we would be given alcohol too to make us feel at ease and easily led!! We started to worry.....the whole reason for entering such competitions is that people cannot afford the costs of a studio photo shoot and so winning the chance to get one is a bonus!! We discussed what we could afford and decided not to spend more than that.

However, we were lucky. We were offered a drink, but not alcoholic ones. We turned them down and told them we did not have lots of time as my husband had to get back to work. The photos were put to music, but of an upbeat tempo, which did not play s much on the emotions. We were careful not to give too much away about the pictures we liked best, The man there did use words like " I love that you can see the strong bond between you...." and "look at how much love is in that look" etc etc. All part of the sales patter. But, we stuck to our guns and when the guy realised we were not going to re mortgage the house to buy a photograph for our wall, he stopped trying to hard sell us!!

I guess the point I am trying to get to with this post is that if you enter a photo competition to win a family photo shoot, be aware that if you get the call that you have won something, you could end up spending a lot of money. Be prepared to be strong and stick to your guns. You are entitled just to get your free one, if you can be strong enough to chose from great shots. If you can, stick to a budget and stay with it, Do not be strayed. If there is something small you do not like from the range of pictures they show you, then dismiss it. At the end of the day, you are spending a lot and you will be looking at the pictures for years to come!!

Either that, or go to a smaller private photographer who can still give you the great pictures you would love for a fraction of the price! We used Peter Hall Photography when we had our first family picture done and got so many beautiful pictures without spending high prices!

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