The Annual Mall Photo Fiasco

Every year my sister-in-law and I take the kids to the mall for Christmas pictures. This is because we (or least I) am a self-hating narcissist.

In the past we’ve made critical errors like attempting an outfit change during the session, scheduling the shoot during nap time, or taking the kids while they were toddlers. And we still do all those things except now it’s on purpose because it provides me with good content for my blog.

Mia and Dylan circa 2014

This year we scheduled the shoot just before lunch time so that the kids would be especially hangry. I made sure to get there 15 minutes early after 20 minutes of yelling at my kids that we were late, so that they would be antsy and ready to leave by the time the photoshoot started.

When we got to the mall we learned that the photo studio had moved from the food court, to the inside of Sears, which was great because toddlers love when they’re surrounded by thousands of toys and power tools and eyeglasses that they aren’t allowed to touch. It’s also so much safer.

Anyway as soon as we got there the high school girls behind the counter started gushing about how cute the kids were and immediately took out their iPhones to start the photoshoot. Just kidding they used a 15-year-old DSLR – if you want iPhone quality that’s extra.

They were “booked solid” that day, but somehow managed to take us back into the studio 15 minutes before our scheduled time slot which was a bummer because the kids were still in a good mood and everyone listened and smiled and acted polite for the first photo. Fortunately for me, and all of my blog readers, it went straight downhill from there.

Here’s the picture we printed for the grandparents (the very first picture that was taken), although I desperately wanted to use one of all the kids screaming instead because it really sums up each of their personalities. Fortunately for all the grandparents, my sister-in-law Jenni is slightly more mature than I am and has better decision making skills. YOUR WELCOME GRANDPARENTS.

After this photo was taken the photographer tried to get the kids to switch their positioning on the steps which resulted in mass chaos. In the midst of it (and by “it” I mean me trying to secretly take photos on my iPhone in the studio which is very naughty according to The Picture People) we actually lost Lucy for a second but then I found her in the next studio over posing happily for someone else’s family.

I brought her back, much to her displeasure, and plopped her down on top of a cardboard chimney (in my next life I desperately want to design photo props for The Picture People) where Mia and Dylan were waiting very sweetly for her.

At first she was kind of unsure about the whole situation. To be fair, if I were pushing 30-pounds and someone told me to balance on top of a piece of cardboard I think I would feel the same way.

Things went downhill from there, literally.

The photographer (but really Jenni because the photographer REALLY wanted to make that chimney work) decided that maybe the kids should just lie on the ground. You know just because like, safety and stuff. So the photographer put some very realistic looking Christmas trees in the background and instructed the kids to give her some “natural smiles” (BAHAHAHAHAHA). The result is below: 

While the tree picture was being taken, Lucy’s kitty shoe fell off, and she was NOT OKAY ABOUT IT. In fact, she never truly recovered. Even after we retrieved it, re-fit it, fed her a cereal bar and promised her lunch, a carousel ride, french fries and a unicorn – she just couldn’t move on.

Our final pose really captures how each of the kids felt about the whole ordeal. So much Christmas spirit.

After the pictures are done you get to sit in the middle of Sears for approximately 47597650 minutes while the photographer downloads your photos. Luckily, they had ONE abacus toy in the middle of the waiting area to entertain all 57 of the kids there. The kids waited quietly and patiently. 

Then a photographer salesperson employee comes over and “edits” (hovers a computer mouse over) each photo and encourages you to buy things like the “idiots guide to parting with your money” package which includes 4 wallet size photos and one 8×10 of your child screaming for only 64.99! But wait – it’s on sale TODAY ONLY for 64.87. Don’t wait!!!!

Instead we handed over our $16 Groupon (purchased with a 20% off code for $12.80) and requested the standard package of 100 million copies of your one favorite photo. They told us the photos would be ready in 40 minutes, or as soon as the kids completely lost their shit, whichever comes later. So we head over to the food court to spend more unnecessary money and try not to throw up on the carousel. (This is before it started, I wasn’t able to take pictures during the ride because I was doing lamaze breathing to prevent puking.)

What felt like 23 hours later we finally got home and I took this picture of the girls in their room for free.

Merry Christmas blog readers!



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