Studio Alice advertises itself as a “children’s photography castle” and it certainly can feel that way from all of the poofy gowns children can have a chance to wear. They advertise that you can take photos in as many outfits as you’d like, but when we go you never expect it to end up being an all-day excursion kind of thing. I guess it’s because we keep choosing to go when they’re pretty busy?
The Sunday that we went was like a zoo! Everyone was trying to get their pictures in for the Japanese holiday that celebrates children as they grow up, Shichi-Go-San, which I did not realize was going on when I booked us for the day I do. So of course J was overwhelmed and not happy at all. Lots of crying, especially in the pretty pink dress I chose for her. We tried to get a family picture of us on the ground holding her hand, but she kept rolling back over. We decided to come back the next day since she was so unhappy in hopes that it would be less overwhelming for her.
The next day she was still unhappy to have strange ladies waving toys in her face, but managed to eventually warm up to them. I was hoping to get pictures of her in a Santa outfit too, but after we did the third outfit I think she had enough for the day and I couldn’t imagine going back a third time to continue the shoot. Just those two days were stressful enough!
She did so great the first time we went and got pictures of her, I was kind of surprised that she didn’t do so well this time. But she is teething so I guess that was part of it. It’s also kind of a shame too because I didn’t understand how Studio Alice worked at the time. Their model is that they’ll only save the pictures that you use to buy frames and cards and such with, and then they’ll delete all of the other photographs. No one warned us of this the first time we went there, though I was warned three times this time. We got a pretty expensive package the first time since we wanted the data CD (normally you have to wait 1 year after the photoshoot to be able to purchase the raws on CD), and we kept choosing the best pictures for all of the frames, thinking we would get all of the photos. We didn’t. So even though it was kind of strange, we lost photos like family photos we didn’t choose, like the one with me holding her in a kimono. I’m just glad that I selected one photo of her in a kimono so that we have that.
Those lost photos are something that’s really bugged me these past months, and I feel like I overcompensated for it this time. Looking back at the photos I chose, there’s probably some I could’ve done without and we could’ve saved a little money by not purchasing them. In the end though, it wound up being about $10 per photo, so it’s not so bad. I bought postcards this time with three pictures on each. It still wound up being $30 per ten postcards thanks to some hidden fees I didn’t realize we’d have to pay going in (on the website they just say that it’s like $10 for 10 postcards, they didn’t mention the design fee), and I’m going to have to wait a year to expand her photo album when we get the raws, since I plan to go to a cheaper place to get them printed out. I think when it comes time for her one year old photos though that I’ll be a bit more conservative with choosing the best photos so that I feel like we’re getting the most out of our money. Hopefully she’ll be more into the whole process too!
On the bright side, they gave us one photo as a present, so at least one of our albums will get to be expanded. Despite all of the difficulties and some regrets about the whole process, I’m looking forward to getting the postcards and sharing them with everyone!