What to Expect at FotoFly Santa: 2012 Edition

I wrote a post like this last year…  It is time to put this out there again.

One thing that I learned a long time ago is that people always have expectations.  Whether it’s a movie or a marriage or dinner or a photography session – people form expectations about what the experience will be before it happens.  At FotoFly, we understand what your expectations are and try to pleasantly surprise you each time you visit.

Last year, we hadn’t ever attempted this concept of Santa and so we didn’t really know what to expect.  It was a completely different concept than what anyone had tried.  We had a learning curve and ran into a few bumps but it went really well.  Last year, people were comparing us to the mall Santa and were loving the concept and process.

Things have been a little different this year and customers’ expectations are varied.  In some cases, customers are expecting something different based on past FotoFly studio experiences.  So, I’d like to clarify some important aspects of the FotoFly Santa experience.  Here are some of the main questions that should be answered:

  • How close to my appointment time will you start? We have scheduled appointments as a way to spread out customers and attempt to eliminate long wait times.  Because the times are close together, if a child is having a hard time or we have a session with a bunch of cousins, we do spend more time and we get backed up.  Generally, we have break-times scheduled throughout the day to help us catch up if we get behind.  (Last week, those break times were deleted somehow which caused some problems…)  Anyway, it’s very possible that we won’t start on time.  Please understand that these photographers are working hard at balancing keeping on schedule with making sure everyone gets good pictures. For the most part, we are on schedule! :)
  • Why don’t you schedule more time in between sessions? The simple answer is that we would have to charge more and we have chosen to keep the times shorter and charge only $25.
  • How many poses will we get? We are trying for two poses. We are almost always successful at this.  If your child is really struggling or it’s a large group, we may only get one good pose.
  • How long will you spend with us during a session? This is an important question.  The time really varies.  If your child is a 7 year old who does exactly what we want and smiles easily, we may very well be done in two minutes with getting two completely different poses.  This doesn’t mean that you’ve been short-changed.  In fact, we are counting on that some sessions will go very quickly.  It’s important to note that this is not like our studio experience – where you are given time and we try to get as much as we can in that time.  This is not a FotoFly ‘mini session.’  Again, we are going for two good poses.  We’ve had some of our best sessions last 60 seconds.
  • What is the process going to be like?
    • First, you will arrive and we will sign you in at a welcome computer.  You’ll be given a number that you’ll want to give to the photographer.  Generally, we are on time.  If we’re not, you’ll be informed at this point what the conditions are.
    • Next, someone will help you get dressed.  We have 4-5 costumes at each location to help ensure that we are always moving.  Again, if something weird has happened, it may be that you wait a few minutes to dress.  You can also elect to use our Santa and skip this step.  Keep in mind that we have two cameras and, if you’re wanting the real Santa, it may extend your waiting time a little if the Santa is being used in another session.
    • You’ll queue up to get your pictures taken.  Generally, there will be 1-3 families in the room ahead of you.  We’ll use the numbers that you were given at the beginning to ensure that we are going in order.  You shouldn’t wait a long time in this stage.  The only reason you would is if kids are really struggling in the sessions before you.  You will literally be amazed as you watch the photographers work.
    • You’ll get your pictures taken.  This is the most impressive part of the experience.  You’ll be impressed with how good the photographers are and how sincerely interested they are in getting good pictures of you and your children.  Again, the time spent with your children will vary based on how well the session is going.  A short session is generally a very good sign…  We will give everything we have for you and your children – whatever it takes. We really, really want you to like your Santa pictures – we want the images to be legendary.  You’ll also be amazed at how good looking the photographers are – except Kenny.
    • We will edit the pictures and get them ready for you to see them.  It doesn’t take us very long to edit the pictures.  But, there may be a wait time that may be as long as 60 minutes if we’ve had the customers ahead of you print a lot of prints.  We have two viewing computers and two printers and our employees are moving quickly but taking the time to be sure that everyone gets exactly what they want.  We will text you when we are ready to show you your images.  That way, you can wander around Thanksgiving Point or Scheels and figure out a way to spend more money…
    • We will show you a quick slide show to see your pictures to be sure that you love them before you pay us anything.  Again, the goal is to have two good poses for you to choose from.  You can just pay for your flash drive and leave or you can print sheets for $3 per sheet (discounted from $4 if you order within 7 days).  Printing takes a couple of minutes per sheet.

It’s our goal to be on time and we reevaluate every day what we’re doing and where we can improve.  I’ve been stressed about this because I care about everyone that walks through those doors and I really want every one of those kids to be happy and get good pictures.

We are photographing over 80 sessions per day at each location (Thanksgiving Point and Scheels).  We have a support team who are all working hard to greet, dress, edit, present, and print as well and quickly as possible.  We commit that we will give as much effort into the last session as we did the first. Your pictures will be worth the wait – expect that.