Portrait Innovations – Charlotte, NC
Preferred one to two years’ experience in customer service but not required. Looking for individuals with strong computer and communication skills… Glassdoor
Portrait Innovations – Charlotte, NC
No experience necessary; however, good computer and communication skills, dependability and professionalism are a MUST. We are seeking only upbeat… Glassdoor
Portrait Innovations Photos
- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at Portrait Innovations full-time for more than a yearPros
You get to be silly almost all the time. Not many jobs have you crawling around throwing stuffed animals and making silly faces and sounds. It can be easy to turn a crummy day around with the right family/appointment. Your coworkers are generally pretty fun to be around as well.Cons
Where to start... If you are an associate (which is where you will start), no one at any level above you cares about you, or at least does not act like it. You are expected to produce numbers, and nothing else.
There is very little compensation or benefits. You make $11 an hour. That's it. No health benefits. They took away yearly Christmas bonuses for associates last year but sent the managers on a one week "party hard" trip to Atlantis Resort. And you can't even be promised 40 hours a week. During the slow summer season they will require you to work less hours, often cutting you down to 36 hours a week because they can't get customers in the door. There is nothing you can do about this, you'll be sent home early against your will.
Even though it is advertised as a perk, there is also no room for promotions. I was promoted to "MOD/Assistant Manger" after being with the company for 3 weeks, but there is no increase in pay for this, only more things to get yelled at about. They advertise being eligible for management promotions quickly, but these rarely happen.
You as an associate have very little control over your job on a daily basis. You have no choice over the photography appointments you take each day, and often your manager will cherry pick their way into taking the high sales and finagle their way out of taking the appointments that are going to cause trouble or waste your time. You also have no choice in how you shoot each appointment. There is a very strict protocol, which most customers hate and will chastise you for, and diverting even a little bit from this will have you sitting down with your manager quickly. You are also encouraged to lie to your customers. Certain portrait packages come with specialty products at a certain price, but you are encouraged to misinform the customers and lure them into paying more than they need to, so kiss any morals you have goodbye. Really awkward when you run into a customer who actually knows the true price of a product and catches you in the lie. This falls back on you, by the way, not the managers who encouraged you to lie.
Let's not even get started on the holidays and weekends. Corporate does not care about making the customers wait, or working you to the bone, plain and simple. You are expected to spend 20 minutes in the camera room with each customer. However, they book every 10 minutes and double book at the top and bottom of the hour. So you will start the day with a 9:00, 9:00, 9:10, 9:20, 9:20, 9:30, 9:40, 9:50, 10:00, and 10:00 appointment. It is mathematically impossible to service each appointment without either doing a terrible job and spending literally 2 minutes in the camera room (taking the required 60 photos) OR just being 3 hours behind the entire day. Don't worry, the emails from your regional manager, written like a 15 year old in bright bold colors typo ridden asking you to PUSH PUSH PUSH and let you know that YOU CAN DO IT YAY will fix your day. During the weekends and holidays (4 months of the year) you WILL be there minimum 12 hours per day, often close to 15. Open the studio at 7:00 and immediately begin taking appts and you probably won't leave until 9:30 or 10 PM. You will be several hours behind the entire day, being told to hurry up by your manager, and being yelled at by the customers (and rightfully so, they've been waiting with their crying toddlers for 2 hours in your crammed lobby). This is EVERY DAY, four months out of the year. You are not allowed to request any time off for any reason during the months of March, April, May, November, December. You are more than welcome to try and have a family the other 7 months of the year, though, with your one vacation day per month! There is no sick time either. If you choose to call off, you simply lose the 8 hours off of your paycheck.
It is a sales job, obviously you are expected to run a certain average. You may work your butt off day in and day out, but the second you let that average dip you will be placed on notice and you have 30 days to fix it. This is the first and ONLY time you will hear from upper management, however. Sell $500 packages and you won't hear a peep, not a single thank you or pat on your back. It's the $20 sale an hour later that you will hear about. Meanwhile the ONLY portrait package the company EVER advertises is that $20 one portrait package, so good luck upselling most of the lower middle class residents this brings in. It is no offense to them either... why wouldn't you buy it... it's a ridiculous steal of a deal. But if you only advertise a $20 collection, don't be surprised when this is what the customer expects to pay.
The managers mostly hate their lives and take it out on you. They may be enthusiastic at first, but corporate will kill their spirits. They'll find any way they can to get out of their jobs and put the work on you. They'll have to "go to the bank" when the first customer walks in the door to avoid taking the appt or helping you with it... even though they sat on their cell phones for the first 3 hours of the morning. They will take the high sales and avoid the low ones even though there is supposed to be a set rotation. They cut corners in more ways than one, but if you try doing the same or reporting them, it will come back on you for being dishonest or tattling.
Don't take this job because you "like photography". It will kill the hobby for you. You will spend your time working for PI not having a real world life, being rushed, talked to poorly by customers and management, and always looking over your shoulder wondering when your job will be put on notice for a low sale that you could not prevent.
The way the company is cutting corners these days makes me think the company itself is in serious jeopardy. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the smaller studios closing their doors in a year or two.Advice to ManagementAdvice
Appreciate the photographers who are making your money. Actually step into a studio once or twice. The founders of this company all came from various photography companies across the country, but they are clearly out of touch at this point. If you want the photographers to care about keeping their sales averages up, give them some appreciation for working their tails off for you 14 hours a day giving up the idea of having a real life, and a little more incentive to shoot for the high sales than "not getting fired".Doesn't RecommendNegative OutlookDisapproves of CEO