Portrait Innovations

  www.portraitinnovations.com
  www.portraitinnovations.com

Portrait Innovations Reviews

Updated October 9, 2014
Updated October 9, 2014
175 Reviews
1.9
175 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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John Grosso
102 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. 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
  2.  

    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
  3. 1 person 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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  5.  

    Part time weekend and holiday help

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

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

    Pros

    Coworkers, money, down time during non holiday

    Cons

    Bad work/life balance, holiday season

    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Not a great fit for aspiring professional

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

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

    Pros

    Opportunity for experience behind the lens
    Great mentorship with manager
    Fast paced environment

    Cons

    Overworking is seen as a value
    Expectations of clients seem distorted
    Long hours during the holidays

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remember that without a great product, there is no business.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    The worst year I've ever had. They don't care about their employees even if they were dying.

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

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

    Pros

    Absolutely nothing made this job tolerable. My manager never showered and treated everyone with complete disrespect. No manager from top to bottom cares about your well being.

    Cons

    Everything is a problem working at this job. They would tell me to go home if I needed to shave but my manager who told me to this can't take a shower and she smells like diarrhea. I'm a diabetic and needed to leave after a 14hr work day. After I told my manager I was deathly ill she denied my asking to go home and yelled at me to get back to work. I landed in the hospital. Almost died because PI cares more about money.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You don't care at all about your employees and should seriously be shut down. I landed in the hospital working for PI because you care more about money and sales than your employees well being. Your management is horrible and does not know how to work with there employees. Your the worst. I can say that because I almost died working for you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Mostly Good.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Photographer/Sales in Newport News, VA
    Former Employee - Photographer/Sales in Newport News, VA

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

    Pros

    The pay is good. It's not a job where you'll have to be on your feet a lot...unless its Christmas season. Most of the people you'll work with will be great. The pay is weekly.

    Cons

    You have to really like kids. Crying, screaming, spoiled kids

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's OK.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Lifestyle

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate/Photographer in Lexington-Fayette, KY
    Former Employee - Associate/Photographer in Lexington-Fayette, KY

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

    Pros

    The hiring and recruiting process is by far the best that I've experienced with any job. They give you the opportunity to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina for a week of training; just a different experience. You get to meet John Grosso and the staff over dinner as well as meet new people from all around that will be at their own studio.

    The pay is great during the holidays.

    Fun atmosphere with children and parents.

    You get to be creative during your sessions.

    Cons

    If the wrong person happens to become manager, this can cause problems if the proper training wasn't given.

    You will work during the black out period; October - December. Depending on if you have a family, this can be a good or bad thing. Missed time with your children or more money if you don't have any. Weigh it out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I recommend that all new management require to travel to North Carolina for training. This will ensure proper establishment management and a motivated staff. Everything else is fantastic.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Terrible

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Studio Sales Associate in Spanish Fort, AL
    Current Employee - Studio Sales Associate in Spanish Fort, AL

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

    Pros

    None that I could see

    Cons

    Inadequate training, Inconsiderate management, Terrible pay, No benefits

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Fun but stressful

    Former Employee - Manager On Duty
    Former Employee - Manager On Duty

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

    Pros

    working with children and families, photography

    Cons

    salary, work environment, management, merit increases, broken promises

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take into consideration the opinions of the employees they are the ones on the front lines and know more about what the customers want and don't want. Show more appreciation for your employees because they work their butt off to make you money for a little compensation.

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