Portrait Innovations

  www.portraitinnovations.com
  www.portraitinnovations.com

Portrait Innovations Reviews

Updated November 21, 2014
Updated November 21, 2014
182 Reviews
1.9
182 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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John Grosso
107 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Working with kids can be fun, some creativity, social people will enjoy the actual work (in 6 reviews)

  • I love working with children and I have over 20 years experience in photography (in 6 reviews)


Cons
  • there is zero work/life balance mostly around the holiday season (in 18 reviews)

  • Even though I did not enjoy the job, I still worked hard to keep my sales average high (in 15 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Decent compensation, horrible upper management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Studio Manager
    Former Employee - Studio Manager

    I worked at Portrait Innovations full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I started as PT photographer, then became FT associate and one year later got my own studio. You can get promoted very fast because not many people can handle the pressure and terrible management in the corporate office. When I started in 2011 as PT salary was $10/hr, FT - $12/hr for new employees. But two years later FT pay dropped to $10... and we all had to hide our paychecks from new associates so they would not get angry.

    Cons

    In general company is run by people who have no idea about what is going on in the studio. They want you to give excellent customer service, create great pics and products, sell packages for at least $120 (otherwise you fail) and do one session in 50 minutes... doesn`t matter if its three 2year olds or 30 people. Oh, yes... forget about bonuses, they will tell you about it all year long, but come April nobody gets anything!!! If you do not meet the criteria they will get rid of you. I was lucky to quit and never look back.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop talking, start doing... try to be a regular photographer for one day during Christmas time and tell me if you can handle it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Portrait Innovations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Muncie, IN
    Current Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Muncie, IN

    I have been working at Portrait Innovations full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good experience working with varied clients

    Cons

    No communication from HR as to better improve performance

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would suggest better nurturing your employees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Well..

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Pembroke Pines, FL
    Current Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Pembroke Pines, FL

    I have been working at Portrait Innovations full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The pay was really good.

    Cons

    You're dealing with rude customers and crying children 5 days out of the week.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Okay place, no help

    Former Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Highland Vill, TX
    Former Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Highland Vill, TX

    I worked at Portrait Innovations part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The other employees were pretty awesome. They gave advice on how things should go. Clean environment.

    Cons

    Manager was terrible. She would berate the other employees in front of everyone. If you weren't doing something exactly the way she wanted within 10 seconds she just pushed you out of the way and said she would do it herself.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Easy up. Be nice.

  6.  

    Good short term holiday job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Sterling Heights, MI
    Former Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Sterling Heights, MI

    I worked at Portrait Innovations full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great money especially for a job that requires no experience. Good resume builder. Great staff and a fun environment. A good job to have if you like kids. I actually liked this job a lot and would go back... If they rehired employees.

    Cons

    Long hours (typical 12 hour day - which personally I didn't mind the 60 to 70 hour weeks) no actual breaks. They will tell you it's a full time permanent position and then fire you after the holidays (just before you hit your 90 day mark) sales goals are a bit harsh. If you work in a lower income area it's harder to sell larger packages

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't lie to your employees saying they will be full time permanent then let them go after the holidays. Also don't make them sign a clause making it so they can't work in their field for another 2 years. Makes it really hard to find a job afterwards. Make it so if the customers want to use the advertised package it has to be as an add on to an additional package. It will boost sales and not waste our time with the all the agitated mothers of 8 children running amuck in the studio who only want to spend the $14.99 on the advertised one portrait special. REHIRE your old employees who were good and actually want to work there because they enjoyed their job

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Good for making long term friends, if you are lucky

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Colorado Springs, CO
    Former Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer in Colorado Springs, CO

    I worked at Portrait Innovations full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    If you have an awesome manager it can be really fun working here, if not it is horrible.

    Cons

    schedule changes all the time, do not expect to have a life outside of the studio.
    pay is bad and the expect a lot from you.
    working off the clock is not uncommon to be asked of you, yet I always refused as it is illegal!
    Employees try to back stab you to get to management position, which is just a way for them to drag you along, unless you are one of the select few that are best buddies with the manager of your studio

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    pay and train your employees better.
    be realistic with what is expected.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    It is what you make it.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer
    Current Employee - Sales Associate/Photographer

    I have been working at Portrait Innovations full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Pros to this job are prevalent. If you even remotely enjoy photography this job helps you delve deeper into that profession. Along with sales it makes for a great previous work experience on a resume. Interacting with customers and making something for them that will be cherished as a piece of decoration for years to come is also a great feeling. All of this matched with competitive pay as an entry level job makes it great for someone looking to get into the field.

    Cons

    During the holiday season you are packed. This should be taken with a grain of salt as in reality, depending on location, you will only be terribly busy maybe 4 months of the year. Sales pitch can get tiring but if you really think about it you truly are trying to give customers the best deal available, and compared to a "private" or "freelance" photographer the rates are similar if not cheaper than a non corporate photographer. All in all the title explains itself, if you want to work hard and make it an enjoyable experience, it will be. If you go into it expecting it to be terrible, it will be.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have a great business model. The dress code could be a little more progressive, other than this simple problem I have no complaints. There's a reason why this company makes the money it does, great employees!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    thank god they shut the studio down

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Studio Manager
    Former Employee - Studio Manager

    I worked at Portrait Innovations full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    if you're lucky enough to be at a slower studio (and corporate has not decided to shut you down yet), there is plenty of down time throughout the year. when you do have sessions, you can actually take your time to take amazing pictures and really impress your customer. if you're good at the job, you get to stay awhile and see so many families grow.

    Cons

    things have changed the past couple years and not in a good way.

    company expanded too abruptly and bit off more than it could chew with specialty products. stopped giving bonuses to reinvest the money back in to the company but instead they ended up closing numerous studios. (beware if specialty products start shipping to customers homes for free bc that's the sign the studio won't be there much longer) they apparently thought splurging on a Bahamas trip for managers was a good idea and an "acceptable" way to spend the money that could have gone to bonuses or jobs.

    training used to be sufficient, but recent training agendas suggest the entire position takes 2-3 days to learn, which is most definitely not the case. it takes weeks, if not months to learn tips and tricks of entertainment for the kids in the camera room. if the company boasts about a professional studio, the staff, experience, and product should reflect that. in my opinion, the latest training does not accomplish this goal.

    appointment booking doesn't make much sense. whether the session has 1 child or 30 people, the appointment slots are every ten minutes and doubled every so often too, so some literally get 5 minutes. plenty of time for that smiling 6 month old baby, but with a large group, that's barely enough time to get a group posed. let's not forget to mention the two year old tantrum that will happen in that group that will also eat up about majority of that ten minutes allotted. when you don't get an amazing shot, you're considered the idiot who overbooked the studio. sometimes I wish I could wear a sign that said "not my idea, here's the customer service number- get your frustrations out on someone who has time to hear about it and just ask for a gift certificate". so glad to hear they've now started online booking now too.

    the sales aspect of the position is also disappointing. sometimes people don't have or don't want to spend a lot of money on pictures. that's why they go to portrait innovations because there's always some amazing ad that's dirt cheap. the company claims to be the McDonald's of portrait photography but expects it's employees to sell the customers the entire menu on the spot. I never had any issues with the sales average, but sometimes I felt pretty terrible about how the sales process had to go. I definitely ripped numerous people off and was actually congratulated for it.

    working there can really suck you in and almost brainwash you into thinking that the policies and procedures are acceptable. there is zero work/life balance mostly around the holiday season. there's 14+ hour work days, constantly evolving schedules (you can literally walk in to work thinking it's a half day and then all of a sudden it's actually a 10 hour day). even non-seasonal schedules varied by the hour. last minute appointment booking can make you stay hours longer than you were supposed to. no one cared if you had plans already made after work. you had to of course cancel them and devote everything to the job. how people work there and manage to have a family of their own is beyond me. it was also a thing to enforce 2-3 hour "lunch" breaks because the studio had blocks of appointments in the morning and in the evening, but not much in the middle of the day. so this "lunch" was designed to keep you there all day, but not pay you for it. getting overtime when not approved was essentially the worst crime you could commit. it was actually beneficial to clock out on time and continue to work so you wouldn't have to hear it from the regional manager that would also dock you some hours the next week as "punishment" for this awful offense because you were indeed servicing customers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    listen to what not only employees/former employees are saying, but also majority of customers on appointment booking. try to allow for a better work/life balance to keep employees and avoid the extremely high turnover

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Horrible Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous
    Former Employee - Anonymous

    I worked at Portrait Innovations (less than an year)

    Pros

    I would say there are no real pros to this job, although working with photography and children sounds attractive at first.

    Cons

    The cons of this job are the toxic work environment and the unprofessionalism of workers. This job was very different from what I thought I applied for and what my interview experience suggested.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The problems I had were innumerable, but here is a short list:

    1. Inadequate training
    2. Constant criticism for not performing perfectly
    3. Told to ignore customer wishes
    4. Predatory sales practices
    5. Management young and inexperienced
    6. Shift schedule changed daily
    7. Appointments purposefully booked past studio's ability to accommodate customers
    8. Told to lie to customers that features are not customizable when they could easily be customized
    9. Coworkers were mocked/belittled by fellow workers and management for not performing perfectly
    10. Portraits are cliched - all are shot with a central composition at one setting.
    11. Associates interact with children and function as janitors, so hygiene was neglectful, but the need of a doctor's note made calling in sick an impossibility.

    I would like to reiterate that sales are predatory - customers come in expecting to take home one portrait after receiving a coupon for a $20 deal. They are forced to take 60 shots, select 20 for the full package, and then narrow down images after listening to a sales pitch that starts at $500. Customers leave confused as to what they want because packages are not easy to understand. Management told us to view people who only wanted the small packages as crooks looking for a loophole when really they were just honest people who wanted to spend a reasonable amount of money for a relatively easy to produce product. I have never been with a company that holds the customer in such contempt.

    Overall, I came to this job looking for a way to use my creativity and hard work, only to find an environment that made me feel uncomfortable and physically ill. I left each day in tears.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Typical Corporate Run Job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager

    I worked at Portrait Innovations full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    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 Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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