Skipping the Big Box Studios: Pros & Cons

We wanted to address something we often hear when meeting with clients.

Frequently, one of the top concerns (and especially in this economy) is why they should book with a private photographer, rather than one of the big box corporate studios at the mall or in the department store. We’ve had a lot of conversations about this, both in client meetings and here in our office, and we wanted to share our list with you:

Box Studios v. Private Photographers


This one initially goes to those mall studios – you’re in and out fairly quickly, usually with images in hand, or at least with a pick up date in a week or two. And that’s fantastic, if time is of the essence and you really just need the photos quickly. As for convenience, sure. You might already be in the mall and everyone looks particularly good today, so why not? It’ll be fun. Again, absolutely – if the mood strikes and you want portraits NOW, box studios it is! But, keep in mind – Ivory Lane photographers are MORE than willing to work within your timeframe, many times offering same-day digital copy, something you won’t likely find at the mall. As far as convenience, we have to be honest – most days, we don’t take walk ins. But check in with us the day before, and we’ll accommodate!


Frankly, you get what you pay for. Corporate and Mall Studios simply can’t guarantee the same level of quality. There’s a fairly high turnover rate in their employees, which means there’s almost always someone fresh out of training – and they may be the most friendly, enthusiastic photographer you’ve ever seen, but on day three with a camera, they may not be the best photographer you could have. Ivory Lane definitely has the advantage here – our photographers have a combined 8 years experience in the industry, which means you have an incomparable level of imaging expertise on your side, every time. We go the extra mile and meet with you to discuss what it is you want from your session – and we listen. We use top-quality equipment, but we also know how to use it, which -trust us- makes all the difference. We have a list of styling professionals we work with regularly to enhance your natural beauty on the day of the shoot, if that’s what you want. Quite simply, we believe in providing you with quality images that YOU want, not what the company handbook suggests.


We’d almost like to call a tie here. Except we can’t. Box Studios typically have a manual or a posing guide: 6-8 different styles of pose and prop combinations to effectively move clients from the studio to the sales floor. And it works well for them, that’s the tried-and-true formula. And that’s great. If you’d rather, we can meet with you before you session, talk through what it is you’re hoping for, and work together to design a shoot that reflects your personality and individuality. It’s another detail Ivory Lane photographers feel should be part of the whole experience when choosing a photographer to capture your memories.


Corporate studios have this one – they typically are higher-volume, higher-profit studios and that alone drives down their session and print prices. But as previously mentioned – you really do get what you pay for. Sometimes you’ll luck out, and you’ll have a fabulous photographer who’s been at that studio for a few years and has some tricks up her sleeve. Sometimes, that’s just not how it works out. With Ivory Lane, you’ll have a fabulous photographer EVERY TIME, but since we go the extra mile, it’s going to cost a little extra – but we make sure that it’s not only worth it, but that you’re completely satisfied with our work. That’s why we call them ‘lifetime images’.


If we had to choose, it’s Ivory Lane. We go wherever you want us to go, for client meetings, for your session – so, we’ll meet you in the middle of the woods if that location has special significance to you. We’ll do a studio session if that’s the look you want to achieve. We strive to make you feel comfortable, relaxed, and at ease during your session so you look your best. We’re not afraid of your questions, and we welcome and encourage a conversation between client & photographer to make sure everyone is consistently on the same page (before, during and after your session). We have female photographers for boudoir sessions, and of course if you’re more comfortable with a female photographer for a regular session, we’ll be there. The one specific thing the mall studios have on us is the food court. We definitely don’t have a food court. We do, however, have an office cat. And you really can’t top an office cat.

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