16 November 2015

Family Portraits

We have always had our family photos taken at the JC Penny studio -- their photographers may not be the best, but we usually get a few good shots, which is good enough for us.  And we don't usually order very many prints, so with the studio membership card and coupons we usually don't pay over $20 or $30 for a sitting, so you can't beat that price.

But they recently changed their backdrops at that studio, and I don't love them.  So I was looking into other options, but I'm way too cheap to pay hundreds of dollars for a professional photographer just to get 2 or 3 photos of our family.  So I was about to go back to JC Penny and just deal with their backdrops, but first I did one more quick google search for photographers in our area, and a website called Togally.com popped up.  I read a little about it, and it's a pretty cool concept:

You log onto the website and select a portrait package depending on how much time you want to spend with the photographer, how many photos you want, and the cost.  Since we usually only purchase a few photos, we chose the least expensive package of 30 minutes and 3 photos (and you have the option of purchasing additional photos if you want).  That package costs $50, plus I found a promo code for first time Togally.com users, so I got an extra $10 off.  Then I wrote a little description: our family of 2 adults and 5 kids (ages 6 to 12) and our dog, I requested that we only wanted black and white photos this time (that way I didn't have to color coordinate all the clothes), and I wanted to meet at the Ranch House down the street from our house Saturday morning at 7:30am (because I heard that the best time to take pictures is within 2 hours or sunrise or sunset).

So then any local photographers can let you know that they are interested in working with you, or you also have the option to look through the online portfolios of all the photographers who use this site and invite any to take your job if you want.  I wasn't sure if I would have very many respond because the date I chose was only a few days away, but within a day I had 7 photographers offer to do it.  I chose a photographer named Ese Esan because she had the highest number of positive reviews on the website and I really liked her family portraits in her portfolio.

I had a couple questions, and she answered everything by email, and then she was already there before we arrived at the location that morning.  She used professional photography equipment, and listened to what I wanted for our pictures.  She did a great job, handled our active pack of boys well, and even had little prizes for the boys at the end.  And she sent us the photos the next day.  There were several good ones to choose from (which is saying a lot, to get that many kids looking at the camera at the same time, let alone all smiling).  We got digital images and we have the rights to have prints made (which you don't get when you go to a studio).  We were very pleased, and will definitely use Togally.com and Ese again in the future.  I was so pleased, I thought I'd post about our experience here online for others to see -- I love this new option for nice, professional family portraits at a good price. 

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