Friday, October 22, 2010

Saving Money On School Pictures

Maybe your school offers really great deals on portrait packages. Maybe they take multiple shots to ensure a great pic. Maybe you feel confident that your child's hair is still going to look great by the time they get to her. If those things hold true for you... awesome. But they do not for me.

Around here, a small package of prints (1 8x10, 1 5x7, 2 3x5, 4 wallets, and 8 of those useless teeny little "wallets") runs you $34.00. Per child. Ouch. You don't get to choose a pose- they just send them home and you either take it or try again at retake day. One more shot. If you're lucky, your child's picture is taken early in the day before gym and lunch and recess can wreak havoc on her 'do but, well, you never know.

This year, I put my foot down. I sent polite notes in with my two children indicating that we were opting not to purchase school pictures this time around.

Some people would just take pictures of their kids at home and call it good. And I think that's great. But I am not one of those people. I LIKE professional photos. I LIKE sending them out to the out of town relatives. And, well, I STINK at ever printing out the photos that I take so doing my own just never works out for me.

We went to JCPenney. JCPenney? Really? Really.

For $7.99, we received a package including 2 8x10, 2 5x7, 4 3x5, and 16 wallets. We did that three times (we have three kids, you know) and still came in under the cost of ONE (smaller) school package. And we were able to choose from multiple poses. And we could straighten hair and clothing as necessary. Our photographer was fantastic and he took the time to make our children genuinely smile...

A few tips if you decide to go the same route:

  • Be sure to be clear with the school that you are choosing to not order portraits. You don't want them to think that your child simply forgot their form.
  • Print or collect any coupons you will need for the photo place you've chosen to use.
  • Be prepared-- there will be multiple cute shots of your child. It is the photographer's JOB to try to sell you bigger packages and multiple extras. It is YOUR job to commit to one pose and stick with your inexpensive package deal.
  • I choose to be upfront with the photographer. Quite frankly, I don't want him spending oodles of time creating darling collages that I know I won't be buying anyway. I let them know I am looking for one good shot.
  • Be polite. Just a good rule of thumb- always.
  • Don't feel guilty. The store offers these deals because they figure they'll be able to convince people to buy more. Often they can. They do realize that some people will just take the $7.99 package and roll. That is a choice they have made.

So there you go! That's how we saved a bundle on photos this year... and walked away with higher quality shots.

This post is linked to Frugal Friday.

**I am not affiliated with JCPenney in any way, shape, or form. I have not been compensated to say good things- or even asked to say anything, for that matter. I would gladly, however, be willing to... we were THAT pleased!

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