Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pictures and a giveaway

A few weeks ago, I received a very nice e-mail from Kim. Along with her sweet comments, Kim asked if I would be interested in participating in a blog program with Picture Me Portrait Studio. This is the portrait studio located inside of many Walmart stores. Although we recently had pictures taken of the children this summer, I was very excited about this opportunity because I had been wanting to get a family portrait as well. Kim assisted in scheduling our appointment and this afternoon, all 6 of us headed off to one of our local Walmarts for our portrait session.

Pictures have always been hit or miss for us. More often than not, at least one thing goes wrong and we do not get the pictures we were hoping for. I am thrilled that today was one of the exceptions. No one managed to cut their own, nor their sibling's, hair. No one fell or otherwise marked their face. No one found a permanent marker and colored on anyone's face. All of these things have ruined pictures for us in the past. So far, so good. Kim had also sent me some tips for a successful portrait session and we implemented many of them today. Here are a few things that I attribute to our successful session.

- Schedule the session at a time when everyone is well rested and not hungry. Avoid meal times and nap times. We also brought fruit snacks along with us so that the little ones would stay happy throughout the session. We also picked up a few snacks in Walmart before our appointment so they could snack while the adults looked at the pictures.

- Once everyone is dressed, avoid messy snacks and drinks. We also found it helpful to bring the baby dressed in other clothes and then we dressed him at the studio right before our session.

- Arrive a few minutes early so everyone can "settle in", but do not arrive too early that they grow restless. The benefit of having pictures done at Picture Me, is that you have Walmart right there to take the kids for a walk if the wait time is running long.

- Bring a bag with a hair brush, make-up, and anything else that you might need for last minute touch ups.

Now that I shared the tips I found most helpful, let me tell you how our portrait session went.

Yesterday afternoon, I received an automated phone call reminding me of our appointment. That was followed by a phone call, later that evening, from Alicia, the studio manager. She confirmed our appointment and asked some basic questions about what I was expecting at our session (what types of poses, who would be in the pictures, backgrounds, etc). Upon arriving at the studio, all three associates were busy assisting other customers, but acknowledged me within a few seconds of my arrival. We were a few minutes early, so I did expect to wait a few minutes. Debbie, our photographer, led us back to the studio right about the time of our appointment. Now, with 4 little ones, aged between 1 year and 8 years, I expect portrait sessions to take a little while, especially when trying to take group pictures. This was not the case today. Debbie quickly figured out how to make the youngest two smile on cue and we managed to take 7 different pictures within thirty minutes. The kids were just as happy when we left as when we arrived. After the family portrait was taken, I made an offhand comment to Debbie about not liking my skirt that day. I so very much appreciate the effort she took for the remaining pictures, to avoid my skirt being visible. After the pictures were taken, we sat down together at the computer and chose what we were going to get. As part of the blog program, we chose a 10x10 specialty portrait. I am so excited about the 10x10 specialty portrait we chose. It is 3 pictures: the family portrait, the portrait of just the kids, and the one of my husband and I; along with our last name, the year, and a lighter colored G (for our last name) in the corner. It comes with a mat and frame as well. I wish I could share it with you, but it is not on the CD so you have to imagine that one, but I will share the other pictures below. We also chose to order the $7.99 picture package which comes with 30 pictures (we chose the family portrait). The package should be at the store December 4th and the 10x10 portrait should arrive about a week later. Picture Me also puts your pictures on a password protected website that you can access to view, share, and order your pictures. This is great for us because my in-laws live so far away. I was also given a Picture CD to bring home today and have been given permission to share the pictures with you. Enjoy!

The Family

My husband and me

My children

All the girls

My boys (my personal favorite from this session)

Dad and the kids

Mom and the kids

Maybe it was because I followed some of Kim's great tips, but this was by far, the best portrait session I have ever had. The kids were happy and cooperative, the photographer was friendly and efficient, and the pictures are wonderful. I cannot wait to receive my 10x10 portrait and the family pictures that we ordered. I am sure many of you are preparing to get Christmas pictures taken. If you have not considered Picture Me, I highly recommend that you do and for those of you in the Rochester, NY area, I highly recommend Debbie at the Henrietta location. You can even order cards with your portrait printed on them, giving you a unique Christmas card that is guaranteed to be a favorite of those who receive it.

Kim and Picture Me are also offering one of my readers a free 10x10 portrait ($99.99 value). This is a gorgeous piece that would fit in any where. I was given the choice of using 3, 4, or 9 pictures for our 10x10 portrait and you also get your choice of black, cream, or white mat and a classic black frame. Here is how to enter:

- Tell me the last time you had a family portrait (this was our first since 2/2001) taken and/or share a funny story about a portrait session you have had in the past. (1 entry)

- Tell me who you would include in your 10x10 portrait. (1 entry)

- Subscribe to The Happy Wife (2 entries)

- Blog about this giveaway with a link to this post (3 entries)

- Post about this giveaway with a link on a social networking page or e-mail 3 friends and cc me on the e-mail (2 entries)

I will choose the winner on November 28th and entries will be accepted until I announce the winner. I will announce and contact the winner (be sure to include contact info if it is not in your profile) immediately and they will have 72 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received no payment other than the free 10x10 portrait and the Picture CD. All opinions are my own and were not influenced by the products received.


  1. The last time we had our family portrait professionally taken was December 2006. It has been far too long but in the meantime have been happy with some of the non-professional photos taken since then. We definitely are due for another set of family pictures. I love seeing the pictures of the kids together. It's nice to see them all smiling and hugging each other instead of figting and pulling each other's hair. :-)

  2. I would include my husband and both of my sons (age 10 & 4) in the 10x10 portrait, if I were to win. I actually would've done it the same way you had and ordered it to include the family photo,1 of just the kids and 1 of my husband and I.

  3. Hi Danielle, just wanted to pop in and say what a beautiful family you have. Please don't put my name in for your giveaway though, as we just had a family portrait done a few weeks ago. Yours turned out lovely. All your children are darling, but that little guy of yours is just entirely too cute! What a lucky little man to have such a wonderful mom AND 3 big sisters! My own brother has 7 big sisters, and he turned out just fine!


  4. Hi Danielle! I saw your post on SimplyHomeschooling and wanted to see your photos! They do look great! :-) My family has only ever had one portrait done, and that was in 2002, when our daughter was 6 months old and our son was 4! I wish we could do a family portrait again (all of us), since the kids (especially) have changed so much!

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

    Lori B.

  5. I would get a picture of me, my hubby and our two boys

  6. I would take this opportunity to have myself, husband, son and our new baby that is due mid December as our first family portrait!

  7. Our last one was about 4 years ago...


  8. The last time we had a professional family picture done was over two years ago!

  9. I would include my hubby, myself and our two kids in this picture.

  10. We had a family portrait 2007. Would love to get another one.

  11. I don't think we've EVER had a professional family portrait! Is that terrible?


  12. I would include myself, my husband, and our twin 4-year-old boys in the portrait.


  13. I would take a family picture, my hubs, myself and our baby girl.

  14. We had a professional portrait done about six months ago.

  15. My family hasn't ever had a professional portrait done. Now would be great, as my two boys are 2 1/2 and 1 (such a precious age).

  16. Hi Danielle, Great pictures.My favorite is you and the girls.

  17. I would have myself, my husband, my 6 month old son in my 10x10 picture!

  18. The last time we had a family photo taken was Sept 2009 since I have a new baby!

    msallie at gmail dot com

  19. The last time we had a family portrait was in the fall of 2006 prior to the birth of our now 2 1/2 year old son. *I know kind of sad that we don't have a family portrait with my baby in it huh?* My oldest and my youngest are on the autism spectrum so portrait sessions are kind of a unique experience. The last time we had a family picture my oldest kept telling the photographer to turn off the bright lights.....Somehow the picture did turn out which was nice....

    *I subscribe to your blog*

    *I would have a family portrait. My husband and I and our 3 sons (ages 7, 5, and 2 1/2)*