(Photos copyright JC Penny 2010)
I used to go to JC Penny's a long time ago, when the children were very small, to get their photos. Every three months I was in there, Portrait Club card in hand. As time went by and the kids were older, I started to buy school photos instead. But you know what? School photos are expensive for what you get. Penny's portrait studio ALWAYS has a coupon (in fact, you should never buy photos without one). A sheet of photos is only $3.99 most of the time. And there are coupons for free sitting fees (typically $9.99) and 30-40% off your entire purchase. Compare this to the typical school package of $29.99 for an 8 x 10, 5 x 7 and some wallets (which no one ever wants anymore).
If you are looking for a coupon, try this one (currently 40% off):http://www.jcpportraits.com/
I know many people who have good success with Walmart photo studios. Our local Walmart is not a Super Store and has no photo department. Additionally, the Penny's studio is really state of the art. They went digital a while back, and you have the ability to have a photo retaken on the spot. It's a nice feature, combined with the fact that the monitors in the studio are large enough and high resolution enough to render an accurate display of what the final photo will look like. This is a must if you have a child that wears glasses. Even the best photographer is going to need to adjust the lighting to reduce glare off the glasses, and sometimes the photographer didn't get it right the first time. We ran into this problem with school photos. Every shot of Catherine had green glare on her glasses. We had to wait another 3 months to have them reshot and delivered.
$115 for 17 sheets (including a custom framed, 10 x 20, triple photo montage--mommy went a little nuts--take out $49 for that one) so roughly $3.88 a sheet. I think I did well.
Do you have a deal on professional photos to share? Let us know and I'll post it here.