PLEASANT PRAIRIE, WISCONSIN -- On a trip to meet my new niece in Illinois, I talked my sister-in-law into taking our three children to Portrait Innovations for pictures together. I have been using Portrait Innovations for over 8 years, originally in Colorado, and most recently in Arkansas. At the studio in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, on November 10, 2012, our studio session went great! The photographer was nice, even though her camera battery died just as the infant gave us her best smile of the day - figures, right?
As we were selecting our photos for purchase, I point-blank asked the photographer which package was the smallest package with a CD. She told me the 6 pose package for $129.99 (plus $15 for the gimmick package) was the smallest with a CD. I'll admit my husband is the one with the good memory and he wasn't with me, but I thought that seemed like a little more than we'd selected a few weeks earlier at our Arkansas studio. After selecting our 6 poses, I again asked the photographer if this was the smallest package with a CD. She said yes.
That evening I called my husband to tell him what a great time we had and asked if he remembered what package we'd bought a few weeks earlier in Arkansas. He did better than that - he pulled out the receipt. We had purchased a THREE pose package with a CD for $69.99 on September 23, 2012.
I called the Wisconsin studio the next morning and asked for our photographer. I thought it right to give her an opportunity to explain herself, rather than attacking her to her manager. She said that the 3 pose package had been discontinued. I asked her when that was and she said it was about a month before, when the Christmas backgrounds began being offered. Still not completely trusting the photographer, I called our Arkansas studio and asked if (1) all the studios had the same packages (they said yes) and (2) if they were still offering the 3 pose package with a CD. They said yes again.
This time I called the manager at Pleasant Prairie. She got on the phone and I explained how upset I was that our photographer lied to us! She made no apology!!! I couldn't believe it!!! In fact, she said that her photographer was just trying to help us get a better deal, but that if we wanted to bring three of our poses back she'd refund $15. She said the 3 pose package had increased from $69.99 to $114.99 from September to November! So the price difference from the 3 pose package to the 6 pose package was $15. Furthermore, I couldn't get my refund until the calendars they ordered for us, all poses our photographer selected, arrived via mail!
I decided to eat the $15 rather than drive from Arkansas to Wisconsin to return their items. However, I've learned my lesson. I'm taking bets on how long a company that was great 8 years ago can survive with employees and policies like these. The CD quality has completely deteriorated and they've added an advertisement to the bottom of each picture on the CD. I had been telling my friends in Arkansas about this great studio we'd loved in Colorado that had finally made its way to us in Arkansas. Not anymore.
IF I darken the door of a Portrait Innovations again (solely due to the honesty of the local studio) it will be only for the $15 gimmick package - until they change that too! Be warned - Portrait Innovations lies with no apology!!!
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA -- I made an appointment with Portrait Innovations in Fort Wayne, IN and explained to them that I wanted to get holiday family photos taken as well as get my twin one year old first birthday pictures taken. On the phone they seemed very friendly and accommodating, not the case when we arrived. The studio is 20 miles from our house and located in an outdoor mall. We had a 5:20 appointment and arrived at 5:30, but finding parking and then finding the studio took time. When we arrived we were told that we were 10 minutes late and they would not take our pictures. I asked why they didn't have a bit of a leeway for traffic, parking etc.
She said we allow a ten minute window. I replied, "well we made it in 10 minutes. You just said we were ten minutes late." She replied, "You have to be here in UNDER 10 minutes." Also, why wasn't this policy mentioned when I made the appointment and why is it not on the website? To top it off the lady was very rude, the waiting area was so packed and chaotic that I could not imagine that we would have received any quality pictures anyway.
I believe that they know their customer service is a problem because there is no way to contact customer service through their website. They do not care what kind of service is offered. It is too bad for Portrait Innovations actually, because I spend a lot of money on pictures. I will never return to ANY Portrait Innovations studio again.
MIDDLETON, WISCONSIN -- Dirty tricks. I went in for a 12 dollar deal, but was charged an additional 12 dollar "handling fee". Cannot even imagine what they hope to accomplish in ticking off a customer like that. How ridiculous. So the "12 dollar deal" was really close to 25 dollars, and the sales pitch they made you sit through was obnoxious. As a customer, you were unable to "cut to the chase" so to speak, but had to sit through this monotonous, repetitive, torturous sales speech, and the attitude was not very friendly if you chose not to buy a package.
GRANGER, INDIANA -- I have been going to PI for 4 years. They overbook and the wait time is awful but we loved our photographer Heidi. I have learned they FIRED her because her productivity dropped when her mother died unexpectedly! She is by far the best photographer they had. They are all about the money and have no heart or compassion. I will never go back and will spend hundreds of dollars elsewhere. Terrible management!
RIDGELAND, MISSISSIPPI -- Portrait Innovations, Ridgeland, MS. This past Tuesday, December 6, I had a 5:10 pm appointment but on arrival at 5:00 pm we were informed they were running behind. The place was packed; there were four sittings w/ children before me. Manager (**) advised that I “go around the corner and have a seat, we'll get to you shortly.” At 6:28 they had still not gotten to us; but based on how things were going, we were next up… until of course here in Madison County, Mississippi – **, plays the “race card”; took a ** family before me.
When I stood to question “Why is that family that came in after me now going before me?” She replied, “your name was called but no one answered”. My response, "IF you called my name while still standing at the front desk, then no I did not hear you." As packed as this place is, good customer service is to walk the floor and make sure the customer is (1) not in the dressing room; (2) not in the bathroom; or (3) simply not hearing you.
I further stated, "there are 20 people here. Children running, screaming, smacking Legos and you think I can hear you above all this?” Her reply... there was not one, complete silence. No reply, no apology, nothing. Finally ** came out to say, “as soon as the current group finished in Room 1, I'll get you started”. For the record, ** happens to be **. ** (the Manager) made the mistake but she sent ** to correct her series of mistakes, the first being that she did not walk the floor to ensure my presence, the second - she offered no apology.
In anything you do or anyplace you go - "THINGS" happen, so the least she should have done was offer an apology. When ** did start working with us, it's now closing time (my original appointment was at 5:10) and **, while trying to put forward a good front, appeared rushed and impatient thereby leading a very unsatisfactory Portrait Innovation experience. Portrait Innovations is a customer service based business and if ** does not have a desire to work with African American clients – she should not be representing this company. African Americans are paying customers too.
CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA -- I am disappointed in the services provided because the photo session was of very low quality and the resultant pictures were not up to the quality we have come to expect. As suggested by the Portrait Innovations website, we arrived five minutes early for our appointment, but then waited an additional 20 until our session started. Since I have a young child, I had specifically chosen this appointment time to avoid naps and feedings and on a Friday to avoid excessive weekend crowds, so I was very frustrated to start so late for an appointment that I had so carefully chosen.
Additionally, after starting significantly late for our appointment, we were rushed through our photo session. In fact, the photographer only took four pictures in one pose for one outfit. The photographer, while very friendly, did not listen to what we wanted from the session. The purpose of this session, as told to the agent when we made the appointment, was for my daughter's 8 month pictures. We wanted pictures of her playing with different spring and Easter related props. We even brought a few toys with us to help with the session. However, we only got one pose with a prop and the backgrounds chosen by the photographer did not reflect spring very well.
In fact, one background was red with a rose lighting that made my daughter look like she had sunburn! Additionally, several pictures were unusable since the photographer either cut off part of my daughter's chin or were so off center they could not be fixed. Normally I leave the studio feeling like I could have spent several hundred more dollars and having had a very difficult time choosing between so many great pictures. This time however, it was very difficult to find even six good poses.
When we picked up our pictures, thankfully we checked our package before getting all the way home since we were given another family's pictures. We had to return to the store to correct the mistake and luckily, our photos were still there. This final mistake just made working with that company that much more disappointing.
We ended up spending over $100, but should have just walked away with the $10 special instead of wasting more time and money. We will be looking for another photography studio to do our daughter's 1 year pictures and all of our holiday and special event pictures from now on. In fact, we were so upset about our experience, we will be sure to tell everyone we know to avoid spending their money there.
NORTHVILLE MI, MICHIGAN -- I received a flier for Portrait Innovations for a one pose package for $10. with no additional fees. Needing Christmas cards I thought this would be a great idea. We have tried Sears in the past and the experience was fine, but I liked the idea that we would not have to wait days for our pictures, only a few minutes. At out appointment the photographer and support staff were great. The kids were having fun and the pictures were super cute. I was ready to be a loyal customer and sing all the praises of this company. We sat down with the photographer and narrowed our choices down to the $10.00 special and then two additional poses.
At that time the photographer showed up a "special effects" portrait that we would be getting and told us we would receive the CD as well. We paid, ran and errand and then returned and picked up our photos and cards and everything was awesome. Until we looked at our package and found that neither the "special effects" picture or the CD were in the bag. I went back in and a woman who was most likely the manager, greeted me and asked me what I was confused about. I asked her about the CD and the "special effects" picture. She informed me that they did not come with what we had purchased and that they would be an additional $30.00.
I told her that the photographer had not said that and that we should expect them with what we had received. She again said "No". She then asked me if it was my "first time" there (to which I replied yes, as it was) and "that was why I must be confused". I took my prints and left knowing this situation would not improve. My husband decided to go and speak with the staff about the missing item. At that point the people told him that he was incorrect and the "photographer had made a mistake" and they had "thrown away the CD" already and those items were not part of what we paid for.
It's customer service 101 that you do not get into a shouting match with a customer, which is what this woman did with my husband. We are not the type of people to complain about a dollar or two or standard sub-par service. Considering, however, that I work in customer service/sales management I would be fired if I treated a customer the way my husband and I were treated. Hopefully their HQ will take our concerns more seriously than the staff at this location did.
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS -- I have used PI before in the DFW area and have had nothing but good experiences. We were going to be in College Station visiting family and decided to try out the new location that was just opened. I wanted a very specific pose, which I had gotten the same picture taken of my son when he was the age of my daughter. I told them I did not want the spring background because I would not order the pictures. I am pretty sure this made them mad. So I am not sure if this is what happened to the photographer's attitude or what. Also my daughter is 7 months old, she does not like strangers and the "helper" was in her face scaring her to death.
We only got maybe 2 or 3 good pictures out of the whole session. We then moved to the other room to do an outfit change and take more pictures. My daughter can sit up very well. They put her in a rocking chair. I wanted to stay very close so that in case she moved too much I could catch her. The photographer kept telling me to move back so that she could get her shot and that is when my daughter fell out of the chair and burned her face on the material of the backdrop. She was screaming and the session was over. All I got was "poor baby" out of the photographer.
As I stated I went in to get the special and then one other pose. I was very disappointed at the pictures. They scared her from the beginnings and I could not get her in the grove after that. I did not even end up with the pose I wanted. I paid way too much for the quality of pictures. I never got a sorry or anything out of anyone there. I will be calling the main office and complaining about this store and the employees. They were not kid friendly. Also they need to know that if someone comes in for something specific do it, don't try to push all the "scheduled" poses on them. I will never return to this location.
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Where do I begin? I walked in NOT liking this place. Shadows on the pictures, dirty chairs, disinterested employees, cheesy, dirty props, open studio and NO privacy. No one welcomed me to their studio, asked me, "May I help you?" Nothing. I said, "I'm here to take senior pics for my daughter." Manager thought he was being funny by saying, "YOU can't use our studio and equipment. YOU aren't the photographer. WE take the pics, not YOU, etc. etc." I actually had to tell him to SHUT UP.
During our session, when my daughter left for three minutes to change an outfit, the photographer said, "we are going to step out for a minute." I said, "are you going out to have a smoke while my daughter changes?" "NO... ANOTHER CLIENT CAME EARLY AND WE ARE GOING TO GIVE HER YOUR ROOM WHILE YOUR DAUGHTER CHANGES." My daughter came out no more than one minute later, so we sat there for fifteen minutes while another EARLY client used OUR room with MY private possessions in it. I was SO irritated, and finally, seeing the look on my face, the photographer said, "What's wrong?" And I said "I am REALLY irritated."
He just said, "oh, I'm sorry," and walked away. I have never been so pissed off at a place in my life and will NOT recommend this place to ANYONE unless you LIKE crummy photography studios. The website also has NO customer contact email address. This is a nationwide chain, and have read complaints from all over the country.
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS -- We went to the College Station, TX location to take my photos of my 2 year old & 3 month old daughters. It was one of the worst experiences imaginable! Our 2 year old is very typical for her age; curious about her surroundings & can be difficult to pin her down for some great shots. The girls taking the photos had no idea how to get her attention & when she did cooperate, they did not have the camera ready! Things were a little better with the baby, but she can't move much!
The backgrounds and props they chose were pretty awful with their outfits. They even tried to make the 2 year old sit still on a 4 foot high backless stool. Needless to say, that did not happen! I was also disappointed with the picture selection process. They kept trying to push extra products on me that I kept saying I did not want. The coupon code we had from the Internet would not work.
Lastly, the pictures did not come out well. There were some major defects that I could not see on the computer screen when choosing the poses that showed up in print (a huge snot bubble was one of them). The lighting in the photos was also poor. Honestly, I had better success with Walmart photos, but the studio here closed recently. Guess we will be driving to Houston or pay a lot more at a better local studio next time... :(