Today, we had our family photo taken at church.  The church is having a directory made.  I think the last one was about 5 years ago.  We haven’t been at the church that long, so this is our first experience.

We didn’t know we were doing a directory until one Sunday, a congregation member was taking appointments for photos.  I couldn’t schedule our appointment that day since I didn’t have my calendar with me.  A couple of days later, I emailed the contact person and scheduled us for 10:40AM.  That was the earliest time still available on Saturday.  I thought it would be ok since it was still a bit before lunch time.  The appointments were 10 minutes apart, so I figured that even if they were running a little behind, it was be ok with the kids.

It looks like the company makes a deal with the church that we’ll give you a free directory, $25 credit for each family toward photos and 20% off each order.  In exchange, you let us come into the church for 2-4 days to take photos and then sell them.

We arrived at 10:29AM today.  I was happy that we were a bit early.  I didn’t catch the photographer’s name, but he was very friendly.  The actual photo taking went fairly well.  Nick and Sally got a little bored toward the end.  The guy was having Nick lay in a weird position at the end and he didn’t like it and was a bit grumpy.  But, all in all, it was a good shoot.  There were a few of the whole family and a couple of Stephen and me, along with a couple of Nick and Sally.

After the photos were done, we waited in the lobby for a few of minutes and then Eric called us into another room.  Sally went to the play room and Nick wanted to come with us.

Eric started by showing us a few photos and having us pick out which photo we wanted in the directory.  It’s hard with the kids.  We loved Nick in one photo, Sally in another, Stephen in yet another.  You get the idea.  We picked our photo and then Eric started showing us some grouping and montages of photos.  Then, he asked us what kind of package we wanted.  It felt odd that he didn’t have a list of packages with prices.  We didn’t even know where to begin.  He wrote a few things down.  Then, he had a piece of paper with montage, 8×10, 2 5×7, etc.  He asked us what we thought.  I told him that I didn’t know if we were talking about $50 or $500 and that I didn’t have any concept of photo prices.  The package he had scribbled on the tablet was $880.  Ouch!  That’s more than we spent on our wedding package and I thought we splurged.

I was very uncomfortable with the pricing on the fly.  Why wasn’t there a price list, even if the price list was just for our church?  It was very odd to me.

We asked few questions and about a couple of idea packages like a 8×10, 5×7 and a page of wallets.  He told us that they didn’t do pages of anything.  Wallets had to be ordered in sets of 6 with 12 as the minimum.  If we got 12, we could order 2 different poses.  That sure sounded like pages to me.

The more we talked, the lower our prices became.  At one point, Stephen leaned over and whispered something in my ear.  Eric looked at Nick and said, “It’s not nice to whisper. You should remember that.”

I asked how long we had to decide on the photos and he said now.  In the next couple of minutes he  finish our order and then send them off.  The company keeps the images for 2 years, but we wouldn’t get any discount if we waited to order later.

In the end, we walked away.  We weren’t prepared for any high pressure sales tactics.  We were uncomfortable with the pricing and hadn’t discussed a budget for family photos.  The photos were good, but they weren’t great.

I hope the directory turns out well, and we’ll definitely be more prepared for our photo shoot next time around.  For now, we have a couple of friends that have offered to photograph us and that works just fine for us.  As soon as the weather gets a bit nicer out, we will go to a park and have photos taken so we can fill our walls with photos we love at a reasonable price.