Showing posts with label Venture Photography.
Showing posts with label Venture Photography.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Venture Photography - Worth it (if you're rich)

is a family portrait franchise that started in the UK and made its way over to the US in 2007 (CT, NJ, and MN at the moment). Photos are taken in a studio against a completely white background and floor and photo subjects are encouraged to bring along props, costumes, pets, whatever, to enhance their shoot. Once the photos are shot, the pictures can be further enhanced with editing, color effects, graphics, etc., are sent to the UK to be mounted and framed, and are ready for display in your 36棋牌--if you pay a high price, that is.

We got sold on a shoot with Venture in Ridgewood, NJ when attending a local Irish Feis (A feis! Look how Irish I am by marriage!) For $50, we got a voucher entitling us to a photo session and an 8x10 framed photo or $350 credit towards another piece of photo art. It sounded like a good deal--especially since you have the option to just take the free 8x10 and run! I really wish we weren't so clueless about the actual prices of the photos from the get-go though--but there aren't any prices on the Venture website and the folks who sold us the Venture voucher kept pretty mum about that.

(Important: We needed to book our photo session within 3 weeks of buying the voucher or the free gift was downgraded into a 5x7 instead of an 8x10). 

Our photo shoot was actually great, even though Andrew had a nap-deprived meltdown midway through. Our photographer Alex worked wonderfully with him and we got quite a few pictures in before my husband and I decided to call it a day. And the studio itself is lovely. The lobby and photo studios are fitted with comfy leather couches and filled with examples of Venture's pricier wall art products. You are offered refreshments of all types. You do really feel like a valued customer, even though you've purchased a discounted voucher.

They sent us 36棋牌 with a flyer full of their prices and I must admit I was a bit surprised. The lowest price was $150 for a framed and mounted 5x7 desk photo (photos are sent to the UK for this part) and the highest was around $6000 for a fancier and bigger piece of wall art. You can not purchase single prints--every photo you order is mounted to a foamy piece of paper on the low price end or other type of medium. They do have the option to buy prints in a photo album (starting at $1600) or as an animated digital slide show ($1500), but it is clearly stated that you may in no way reproduce the images.

We decided we'd give ourselves $300 dollars to spend--on two 5x7s and the free 8x10. And about three weeks later, we went back to the studio for our design consultation--boy do they pull all the stops out for that! You are encouraged to do the design consult without your children in attendance so that you can be fully immersed in the experience. After sinking into a luxurious leather couch, our design consultant--a Carmela Soprano lookalike in a short skirt with stunning legs--asked us if we'd like a drink. Perhaps some coffee? She came back promptly with a french coffee press and the whole nine--we were very impressed indeed.

"Carmela" then began our consultation. She dimmed the lights and an animated slideshow of our best photos flickered across a small movie screen in time to well-chosen music. We oohed and aahed over our adorable child--and I began thinking that maybe we should take out a payment plan to purchase some fancy wall art.

We went through the slideshow again, slowly so that we could pick out our favorite photos. And Carmela used a program that allowed us to build a mock piece of wall art featuring four smallish framed photos. It was so beautiful--but it cost around $2500. Boy how I wanted it though--I wanted each and every good photo actually.

We asked Carmela to leave the room so that my husband could talk me back into reality. We could not afford to spend $2500 for just four photos, no matter how lovely the photo mounting and framing process was. Venture does have a stunning array of photo mounting and framing processes--they are guaranteed not to fade and some even come on a special glassless mounting that can be wiped clean! But we are not millionaires, and we couldn't justify the expense.

So, we left the consultation ordering the free 8x10 and the two 5x7 for $300. And, at the time of picking up our photos 8 weeks later, I ordered another 5x7 for $150 because my mother offered to pitch in for another. The finished product is definitely great, even though they did put the back of my 8x10 on upside down and I had to do a bit of work to flip it (the frame is taped closed AND the photo is taped to the glass to prevent dust getting in and to prevent you from scanning the photo I reckon. I mentioned above that you are prohibited from making reproductions even after you pay all that money. But, I bet a really resourceful person would find a way to scan the photos anyway--even though I'm not sure what the foamy photo mounting material would do to the print quality).

So, yes, Venture gave us a beautiful photography experience and four nice photos for $500, but I could have gotten a ton more nice photos for less money and had some to share with my friends and family if I had just gone to a local photographer or a nearby JC Penny, even. I think I paid $3300 for my entire wedding photography with  and I got two photographers for a whole day, a photo album AND a CD with thousands of photos. I just feel like there are better deals out there, you know?

The bottom line: 
Venture Photography can give you a beautiful photo-taking experience and great photos, but I think they should expose their prices up front so that folks booking photo sessions can make a more informed decision before getting emotionally involved. Once you're in that screening room viewing gorgeous photos of your family, it is so hard not to let your guard down and lay out a bunch of money you may or may not have. I'm not saying that their prices aren't warranted when you consider the time and talent of the photographer, the cost of the photo editing, printing and mounting process, and the money it takes to upkeep the fancy studio. But, I think Venture would have a much better reputation and get more repeat customers here and in the UK if they were much more open with their prices. I also think they should come up with an inexpensive way to let photo subjects buy regular prints to reproduce and share with friends and family.

Oh! And Venture just created a smartphone application that is supposed to allow customers to see all their photos online and share them. But here's the rub--you have to be a VIP customer who has spent money on wall art. I'm not sure how much money you have to spend to be a VIP, but I definitely will be calling the studio to request VIP access and will report back about it here. (I have a sneaky suspicion, though, that my $500 will not be enough to warrant VIP access.)

Please email me if you have any questions (maybe you booked a Venture session like we did) or if you want to see our photos. I can't reproduce them per se, but I might be able to send you a photo of my media center with the photos displayed on them. Also, please let me know if you would like to see the price catalog that I have. I can definitely scan it and forward it to you. 

So sorry for the super long review, but I've noticed there aren't many Venture reviews out there--I hope this will be helpful!!