Can you humor me and channel your inner 90s child for a moment? You can do it, I know you can. When it was family portrait day and mom forced the matching plaid or maybe it was all white and khaki…. either way, this stiff and heavily posed, dark indoor-studio, image is hanging over the piano for all to see. And if you’re like me, it makes you die a little inside every time you walk past it.
Today’s photography is all about light, bright, airy while outside with a mix of neutrals and the most romantic ray of sunshine dancing in the background. How very different!
So you can imagine my surprise to learn that JCPenney Portraits is now doing outdoor sessions. This discovery defies all that is dark and stiff and meets all of my hearts desires to capture my children as they truly are.
I was recently given the opportunity to hop on the JCPenney Portraits bandwagon and like any mother, was thrilled to capture any ounce of my children that was possible.
For starters, the booking process was a piece of pie. Working with the Tech Ridge location, I was able to get a sitting within a few days of when I first called. They went over a few starter details and then told me I would hear from the photographer with additional information. When Toni called, I pulled the only millennial card I have and didn’t answer the phone. I’m happier with an email of everything I need to know where I can just shoot back a quick question if I have one. Though, his voicemail was so thorough that I actually didn’t have any questions so I felt good about it.
Toni must have arrived pretty early because he called 15 minutes prior to our scheduled session to direct me a few blocks down from our original location due to construction. Once we arrived, he greeted us and my kids warmed up to him right away. He provided a wagon to tote his equipment along with our quilt and diaper bag. He had suggested we bring a quilt and any props we would like to incorporate.
Staging was simple and efficient. A titch slower than a free-style natural-light photographer as he used additional equipment. They offer a variety of groupings and poses. I found it to be far less posed than studio photography but it wasn’t as free flowing as family photojournalism. However, Toni was very open to my own wishlist and accommodated with a smile.
Of course, both of the kids were in a mood but Toni remained patient. He did everything he could to be silly and engaging so they would participate. I’m impressed he got even one good photo with their moods so I can only imagine how many he would have captured had they actually complied.
I was promised a gallery within 6 days and was delighted for a peak when they came early around 4 days after the session. Downloading and purchasing is straightforward and all online. You can skip the big studio sales pitch and shop in the comfort of your pajamas before bed.
I love photojournalistic family photography, but my budget can’t justify commissioning it as much as I would like. In order to capture milestones between my splurges, I will use JCPenney Portraits. Prior to knowing about this option, I was just letting some of those precious stages slip through the documentation cracks.
JCPenney Portraits takes place at a park of their choice near the studio, and a digital album is $99.99 and the session fee is $24.99. A family can expect to spend around $125. Albums and prints are available as well and those reasonable rates can be found here.