Monday, September 15, 2008

Crystal Clear? Not really...

Ready for a rant? Brace yourselves, here I go...

As many of you know, I not only like to take lots of pictures, but I frequently have pictures of my kids professionally done (by someone with a nicer camera than me, and usually lots more talent). During my kids' first year, I get their pictures done once a month. I have splurged on the big milestones (birth, 6 months, etc), but try to find a super great deal for the off-months (sometimes free!).

One of my favorite tools to use has become ksl.com's classifieds! You scroll down to services, and then look for the photo category. Photographers of varied levels of experience advertise and list specials there. There are lots of photographers that are just getting started that offer great deals in order to build their portfolio, which is a perfect win/win, as was the case with Lincoln's 8 month pictures - they were completely free for the session and a CD of all the images!...and the photographer gets to use pictures of my cutie to promote his business! (I know that the photographer, who is a student, is doing sessions with a CD of all the pictures for $25 right now. Feel free to email me if you want his email address)

Anyhow! I've always had a really good experience doing this, so I was shocked with how things went down this month. I found a photographer who is just getting her business going, although she claims to have been "doing weddings" for some time now. Her name is Crystal (but she goes by Chrissy Mae per her My Space account, which she provides a link to on her business blog). The name of her business is Crystal Clear Photography, and from what I can see she started it up just earlier this year. Most of her pictures on her blog are of her daughter (who is adorable, I should add). I like her style of child photography, so I was excited that she was running a special for free sitting fee and only $30 for a CD of the edited images with a printing release!

So, I emailed her right away saying that I was interested. A couple of days passed & I hadn't heard back from her, so I dropped another email asking if she'd received my previous email. She emailed me back saying that she had not gotten it & that she was having "email issues", but that she had scheduled me in for the 13th. No biggie, that happens, right?

Next, I responded to her email, this time to set a time and place. 5 days pass, no response again. However, I did notice another ksl ad, this time also for a free sitting, but the CD would be $40 (instead of $30). I know that's still a good deal, but I did think it was weird that she was taking the time to continue advertising to gain new clients (and raising her prices) when she wasn't even responding to the ones that were already contacting her.

So! Giving her the benefit of the doubt I assume that I didn't hear back from her again due to her email issue, so I send her another follow-up email. Eleven days later I still haven't heard back from her, but I see another ksl ad (this time for a free sitting, but $50 for the CD). At this point I almost just said 'forget it'...but her ad mentions that she's been off of work due to a family emergency, and that she's back taking sessions again. So, I feel bad for her & decide to try one last time to get a hold of her to solidify a time for our session. I called and left her a message, and sent her an email.

The next day I finally heard back from her and she said "sorry, but things have been super crazy!" We manage to email back and forth over the next few days to decide on a location (Murray Park) and exact time (6:00 PM). In her last email (which was the night before our session) she says that she'll be at Murray Park before we get there to scout out a good spot, and to call her cell phone when we get there so she can tell us where at the park she is.

After the juggling act of picking out the perfect outfit, timing Lincoln's naps and dinner so he wouldn't be too hungry, or too full & sleepy, getting him bathed, and just getting us all to the park on time...I was pretty pleased when we arrived a couple of minutes early! So, I called her phone - no answer. Strange, I thought. Even if she was running late, she knew I'd be calling...you'd think she'd at least answer her phone. So, I left her a message. We drove around for about 15 minutes until Noah couldn't handle watching another playground go by, and we got out and let him play while I called again. No answer again...

To draw this story to a close - after calling her & leaving 3 messages, and waiting nearly 2 hours at the park (until we had no more light anyway) we finally left. She never showed, or called back, or anything. I was really frustrated, but STILL trying to give her the benefit of the doubt...maybe something horrific happened to one of her children, maybe she was in a terrible accident...

...maybe nothing! Here I am two days later. I sent a polite email saying that I hoped everything was ok with her, and if she could just email or call me back...but I've heard nothing. No response to any of my messages, or to my email. AND, I'm quite sure that whatever kept her from showing up for our appointment (or responding to me!) wasn't anything too greivous since she's updated the photo header on her blog TWICE since then, as well as her picture on her My Space page.

Aaargh. I hate feeling taken advantage of. At least I hadn't paid any money up front, but isn't my time and gas money worth anything? Besides that I could've made other arrangements to have somebody else do pictures of Lincoln.

So! If you ever run across Crystal Clear Photography (in the Salt Lake City area anyway)...the only thing that is "clear" to me, is to stay clear of that business if you need a dependable photographer!...there are plenty of talented, reliable ones out there!!!

*If I ever hear anything from this Crystal, I'll be sure to add that info to this post*

5 comments:

mama fish said...

You were way too nice-I would have left her a bit of advice on that voice mail and possibly taken out an ad on KSL just to let others know not to use her:) Am I mean? There is nothing worse than trying to get ready for pics, get there on time and have that happen. Better luck next time!:)

Becky T said...

Ay, ay, ay! That is AWFUL. Getting stood up for things is never fun, but especially for having pictures done because it's SO much work to get everyone ready. That is SO annoying, I'm so sorry! And I'm glad you wrote about it because it's always good to spread the word... I checked out her blog and website and stuff, and she certainly seems to come across as being professional on those, but from your story, it sounds like outside of her websites, she is far from professional and obviously can't juggle it all!

Aside from all of that, though...I love all of your new posts! You guys had an awesome summer, it looks like. You lived it up! I love all the pictures, how fun!

Mark, Holly and Boys said...

"Mama Fish" :) No, I don't think you're mean...I'm still thinking about taking out an ad on ksl.com to let other people know! She still hasn't called/emailed. Grrrr.

Mandi said...

Totally laughing at your last paragraph to STAY CLEAR! :) How tacky of her! Why even bother updating her blog or her ksl adds if she's not going to do the business! Some people! :)

Anne said...

It's a really good thing you did steer clear of her. She's married to a convicted pedophile. Really. Todd Pickering -- he served like two or three years and is in the Utah database. Her son is in my son's class and we are just learning about all this. The poor little guy is the guy's stepson.

She seems really shady to me -- your story adds to it.