This is The Second Annual Posting of the Christmas Quilt Picture Story.

The quilt was given to me at my first baby shower. Each year my children are subjected to posing with it for holiday photographs.

Last year my mom and I once again took the boys into Sears Portrait Studio. I was relieved when I noticed the studio was deserted. The one photographer on duty did not seem pleased that we had made it to our appointment.

I explained to her that I brought a quilt to use for background. I then went on to explain how previous photographers had attached it to the Sears' portrait studio equipment for the last 6 years. I need ONE portrait 5 x 7 to match the 6 I have at home from previous years.

She took the quilt and started what turned out to be a 15 minute process of quilt arrangement. I tried to be helpful, but she was a bit hostile.

Finally, she called that she was ready.

She arranged the older boys kneeling behind a chair where the baby was to sit.

The baby freaked and we spent 5 minutes bribing, cajoling and tricking the baby into the chair. It worked. We are picture ready!

1, 2, 3...POP! I pop the binky out of the baby's mouth for the picture...
No picture.
No series of flashes.
Nothing captured on film.

I turned to the photographer and said, "I am going to pull the binky out so you can get a picture."

Meanwhile, she is fussing at the older boys for moving despite the fact that they have been amazing little statues for the last 8 minutes kneeling.

1, 2, 3...POP!
I yell, "OK, we are ready!"
*one flash:*

A flurry of post-picture movement ensues.
*Get everyone settled down*

1, 2, 3...POP!
and finally as if in slow motion...
*one flash:*

By this point the older boys are legitimately complaining and needing to move.

I ask if we can switch poses.



Nope. This is the ONLY way she can get the portrait 5 x 7 I requested.

That is weird. I guess all portrait 5x7 pictures in the entire universe of 3 boys have two on their knees and a baby in a small, white wicker chair in front of them.

I calmly suggest that they all sit.

That won't work!

At this point she is saved by a phone call.

While she is out of the room answering the phone I arrange the boys on several red blocks I find in the room.

She returns.

I announce, "we are ready!"

1, 2, 3...POP!
*more silence*
*continued silence*
*yep, more silence*
*one flash:*

The boys are off in 3 different directions.

I say, "OK, we are finished".

She says, "I have to get individual pictures".

"I am not going to buy individual pictures".

She sets up for individual pictures.

Boy #1: Sitting by himself. Almost in tears.

She is yelling, "Smile! I can't take the picture until you smile!"

It was ugly.

So ugly that grandma stepped in and said, "here lets take a picture on grandma's lap" so she got positioned and flash:

Whew. One down.

Boy #2: Sitting on grandma's lap. Traumatized by recent photographic events. Fidgeting. Grandma gently rocks to calm him.

She yells, "stop moving! I can't take the picture if you move like that!"

The rocking continues because boy #2 is upset.

"Stop moving!"

"Take the picture!" I scream.


That is enough!

I say, "we are done".

Grandma takes the boys and heads to the mall play area.

The photographer starts to chase them into Sears.

I say, "what are you doing?"


We have been there for 30 minutes and she only has 5 shots.


And then she poses me.
Sideways to the camera, looking over my shoulder and with both thumbs in the back pocket of my mommy jean capris.


And that is how I ended up with a picture of myself with a pleasant "mommy about to make the 6 o'clock news with violent attack on photographer at local department store" expression on my face.

She had her 6 shots.

I bought ONE portrait 5x7 of the first shot.

Nirvana programming notes:

*Please return Wednesday for The Second Annual Posting of the Adventures of Holiday Dog by my dear friend from A Mom Two Boys.

*Please return Thursday when I am participating in the First Annual Bloggy Holiday Card Exchange also by my dear friend from A Mom Two Boys. You can find out how to participate by clicking on the fancy button below.


Ron Davison said...

What if they designed binkies that looked like cigars, so your youngest could have remained content while looking more like Winston Churchill - perfect for portraits.
And I thought you looked "soulful" in the picture. No wonder I never knew when to stop saying the wrong things to women.

Connie Weiss said...

Oh my gosh! The look on your face....

Was this her first day????

Auds at Barking Mad said...

The expressions on the faces of your older boys say it all.

I'd make copies of those pics and send it to whomever runs the Sears photo things and lead them to your blog. As a photographer -- and even one who really doesn't like taking pics of humans -- you never ever raise your voice or yell at your subjects...EVER. Especially retail photograhers whose bread and butter are kids.

The expression on your face should have been enough to leave the photographer you dealt with in tears if not cowering in a corner.

hip chick said...

Umm...what do you have against a picture with Santa at the mall?

Weaselmomma said...

That will great to use for your mugshot. Almost as good as Mel Gibsons. You should have taken the photographers picture to post with drawn mustache and stuff.

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

I cannot believe that you had all of this trouble at Sears. I say file a complaint. BTW how did you get copies of the pictures?

Rachael said...

OK, I have to read more carefully -- no more skimming. I missed the part (at first) about how this was a REposting and I was thinking, "WOW, Holly has TERRIBLE luck with photographers. How can this be happening to her AGAIN?!"

(Also, I was thinking..."she really is having a hard time with the "baby" turning three!" (ha)

Brittany said...

Wow, apparently this was the photog's first day, an why so slow on the camera clicking?! I would be irate by that point.

Holly Jahangiri said...

I love the expression on your face, and the attitude in your body language - does the photographer know just how lucky she is?

It's not really her fault. All of those places have some kind of standard x number of poses rule. They really need to empower their employees to use a brain cell and BEND (not break) the rules. If they want to waste film, nifty - but they need to be more creative and flexible. (I have a cool double exposure of my daughter dreaming of a plush pink oversized rabbit - it seemed stupid to have her looking up dreamily at HERSELF, or even at ME - and luckily our photographer agreed, so we ended up buying a copy of it. It turned out cute. I wouldn't have spent money on the "standard shot.")

Karen MEG said...

What a nightmare. I suspect that this photographer was not very experienced. I don't think I've taken the kids to Sears in ... well, 4ever. The girl has never been, but then that's me, the neglectful mother always forgetting the milestone shots for the 2nd.

At least you got one picture! And a shot of yourself, which is sorta sexy, in that "I'm going to keeeeeeel you" sort of way.

The picture with Grandma is very sweet too, BTW.

Rachel said...

Um.. you know, normally you're all sweet and sassy looking..., there you're kinda scary ;-)
So, did she cower or was she just too stupid?

What an obnoxious experience. I love the quilt but thank you for reaffirming why I don't do professional dept store pictures.
LOL ;-)

AMomTwoBoys said...

OH, this still cracks me up! Love it.

I hope the Holiday Dog lives up to your expectations...

:0) MWAH

Holly Jahangiri said...

Please drop by

You've won an award. :)

Marie said...

Lol, I think the pics are all great but you should have the gotten the one of yourself as it was good too.

I am lucky my husband is a great photographer and he take most of our pics with his camera. I have never found someone to take pics of us that I was happy with.

Anonymous said...

Oh Sister! I feel your pain. All the more reason to do photos at home...

This year I tried to do mine with two kids and a heifer...
(I wrote about it last week or so - "Christmas Card Perfection")

PS - you can yell at a heifer all day long ~ they really don't care...

Anonymous said...

Ah, the annual photography session from hell? ;D Makes for a funny blog post, but an awful afternoon at the studio. And you know what? After all that, the first photo, I think, was the best.

Trannyhead said...


Sears is a hell-hole. I took my son there for his first pictures at 3 months and we had to wait so long that we only got maybe 4 pictures out of him before there was the obvious epic meltdown. I thought about letting them take a picture of my huge, post-baby, white arse ...

Manic Mommy said...

See Holly unzip the Sears Photographer. I can't believe you didn't go all Uma Thurman on her!

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

Wow. I would have been screamin' for the store manager SO FAST...

Hope Sears either shaped up or you when to JC Penny. ;-)

Burgh Baby said...

What I want to know is are you returning to Sears this year? I need to know.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You did get her to take a picture of a non-smiling person though.

Holly Jahangiri said...

Jenn, that's because in the small print, they allow the photographer to take a picture of a non-smiling person if it appears that person is trying to do their "sultry, sex kitten look." She was confused - she couldn't tell "sultry sex kitten" from "mama tiger about to go all claws on your ass" if her life depended on it.

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

That is so crazy. The photo does look nice though, even if it was a PITA to get. Hopefully you go somewhere else this year!

Eternal Sunshine said...

THAT is why i don't do Sears anymore.

If I can curb my spending (LOL), I always had great success with JCPenney and Dillards.

But surprisingly, some of the best pictures of my kids were actually done at WAL-MART!!!


Corey~living and loving said...

reason #413 I take my own photos. Those places un-nerve me!
Great post though.
Have a good day!

Valarie Lea said...

I don't care how many times I read that it still makes me laugh!

The Glamorous Life said...

I laughed so hard I spit my ever present gum out of my mouth.

Too funny.

And look for you too! very clean. Very groovy. I like it!

Tami W. said...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell us that you spoke to the store manager or that you are going to speak to the manager! That was a very unsatisfactory visit to the store and if the management doesn't know that their photographer is yelling at kids then they can't fire her happy ass.....

Don Mills Diva said...

Ugg! I sooo need to get pictures taken but it's stories like this that have me dragging my feet.

Gorgeous boys though...and that's what counts right?

jill said...

it makes me sad when a photographer loses focus about why we take pictures.

this is why i'm so thankful that my daughter has her own photography studio. she makes is so much fun and always gets amazing shots of the kids.

Holly Jahangiri said...

I think maybe "photographer" is a generous term for the "professional picture takers / sales associates" at places like this. Some are better than others, but it's not the same as going to a high end photographer for a personal session.

Shauna said...

This HONESTLY may be one of my favorite stories ever...Even better than that time that Soliloquy left that baby monitor on...

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

I love this story the next time around, too. I want to see 2008's Christmas quilt photos soon.


Anonymous said...

How were you so strong that you didn't flip her off as she took the picture? You would have been totally justified.

Suburban Oblivion said...

For what it's worth, that pic of you totally screams "I have three boys and I could take you!" ;)

Happy Campers said...

I always love this story...and apparently you've been doing more than Christmas decorating while I was gone...I LOVE the new blog look!!!

nikkicrumpet said...

LOL Did she not see that face looking back at her through the camera lense? Because if I saw that "look" I would be dropping the camera and RUNNING...and I don't normally even contemplate running unless someone is chasing me with a knife! Stupid woman won't last a week in the real world!

Jenni Jiggety said...

Clearly this girl would have been better suited taking photos at the DMV.

Or prison mug shots.

Geri said...

I agree with Jenni. The photographer really needs to work at the DMV or at the police station where they're taking mug shots.

AMomTwoBoys said...

HOLY CRAP. Your blog looked NOTHING like this when I was here this morning! I like it, though!

Kellan said...

That's such a funny story and I love the photos - ACK!

I love the new look too - very cool!!

Have a good week - Kellan

Weaselmomma said...

Wow, what a makeover! I did so love your old theme though.

ParentingPink said...

OMG! That is too funny! I've had similar experiences with Sears. They always INSIST on those darn individual pics!

sturdygirl said...

Sears needs some restructuring in the HR Department - like maybe someone who knows how to hire people who can work with children/people?? I too have had this same problem w/Sears and my oldest is now 30. So, it's an ongoing problem, obviously...

Amy said...

You are so much nicer than I am... I would have told the photographer to take the extra shots of the blank background (you already told her you weren't buying them) and then asked for the manager. That's crazy for her yell at your children!

Teri said...

This is freakin' hilarious! I have been a pro-photographer for over 20 years (going to law school soon, though). I NEVER recommend those store places because of crap like this. I would go to people's home or other locations so that the kids would be comfy. The only times I ever really had any issues with the cranky kids was when the mom was pestering the hell out of the kids. I would "subtly" suggest that mom just stand behind me with a little toy or something.

Thanks for sharing this story.

Beck said...

You are totally going to kick her butt! Look at the look you're giving her! HAHAHAHA! Awesome.

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

Oh, WOW! Thanks for the laugh! Sorry you had such a rough time...and had to deal with a moronic photographer! ;)

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