Tuesday, August 23, 2011

JCPenney Photo Studios Should Have Bars In Them

Today I embarked on my annual pilgrimage to the JCPenney photo studio.  Every summer, I torture myself and my mother and bring the three boys to have their picture taken.  Together.

You've probably heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting a different result.

My yearly visit to this photo studio is the above definition of insanity personified.  This year was no different.

Before I get into the horrific details, I must first sing the praises of Nela, photographer extraordinaire, who got so many *good* shots of the boys that I actually had a hard time choosing which ones *not* to buy.  A good problem to have, indeed.

Okay, so we get there a few minutes early.  The one photographer working was just finishing a session with another family, and a second photographer, Nela, arrived shortly after we did.  Unlike sessions past, we were taken almost immediately (on more than one occasion we had to wait at least thirty minutes).  Nela asks me some questions about the pictures I would like (all three? solo shots? which background?) and then ushers us into a studio.

Chaos ensues.

If you don't have kids, accompanying me will be the ultimate test to see if you really want them.  If you're a teen or a twentysomething who isn't ready for a family, it's the ultimate birth control.  If you don't have two or more sons, it's probably the funniest thing you've ever seen, and you'll thank your lucky stars that it's me and not you.

Here is a brief recap of how posing the boys for one shot went:

  • Position J and get him to stand relatively still
  • Position T near J, getting T to mirror J's stance, and get him to stand relatively still 
  • Remind S not to touch the lights
  • Through gritted teeth, tell T to get off the floor and stop yelling; nobody wants to hear him yelling and would he please get up and stand still or we will not go to Grandma's for lunch 
  • While J and T stand relatively still, position S between the two older boys 
  • Grit teeth again as S turns around, bites T's shirt, causing T to screech and flop onto the floor, encouraging J to do the same
  • Threaten the boys again that there will be no lunch at Grandma's; we'll just go home if nobody can stand still and listen to Nela
  • Somewhere among all this, Nela is ever-so-patiently positioning and re-positioning the boys, and actually manages to snap one photograph.  As a testament to her patience and talent, the boys are all smiling, looking at the camera, and the photo is one of my favorites.
Repeat approximately sixteen times.

In the end, I did get some amazingly cute pictures of the guys.  I can't wait to put them into frames and hang them.  And the best part?  I had a coupon from J's baseball pictures for - get this -
  1. NO sitting fees (worth $30!)
  2. TWO free photo sheets (a 10x13 and an 8x10 - worth $20!)
  3. $3.99 photo sheets (regularly $10)
I got $100 worth of services and pictures for $20 - score!

There was still wine in the fridge - winning!

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