The bet was that if I could fit into my wedding gown twenty years from my “start” date Ed wouldn’t shoot me to avoid a costly divorce, he’d marry me a second time around. With my fifteen year anniversary looming this June, my subliminal weight loss tapes (borrowed from Newhall Library of course) shaved off four pounds, but it was still five years before I could make Ed make good. In preparation instead I squeezed into the bridesmaid’s dress from my wedding (that my sister had always hated) and it miraculously fit!
Then I remembered that we had just bought Samantha a dress for the Parks and Recreation’s father/daughter dance in the same pink satin! Hers was more formal than my old bridesmaid dress and ten times more up-to-date. Then I thought what could I do for my fifteen-year anniversary with these two dresses?
I called Photographic Memories. I had been trying to get Ed to sit for one of those professional, canvas-backed portraits for years. I had gone to department store photography studios every year since Sam was born for her yearly portraits alone. Last year was her first “school” photo. Photos taken without choices sent home in a five-year-old’s soft backpack crushed and crinkled beyond repair. I knew that there had to be something better and Photographic Memories was it.
I’d known one of the owners, Michael Poirier, for ten years. If it wasn’t for his own studio’s opening I might still be unaware what professionals have to offer. Thank God that now that the occasion arose, and it would be a surprise anniversary gift for Eddie, I had the excuse to finally do it. I couldn’t wait to see what “heirloom quality portraiture” was like.
Mike and his partner Bill Spalliero were both there for the sitting. They asked me what colors I liked and background drop clothes whizzed up and down. I watched in amazement as they brought in a bouquet of fresh flowers just for us to use as a prop. (They needn’t have because their studio had a varied selection to choose from.) It took awhile to adjust to what they wanted from us; we only had to remember that she was “baby turn your chin in” and I was “mommy lay your hand more relaxed”. We felt like the princesses we were dressed up to look like as Mike carefully removed Sam’s pearl bracelet from her right arm to her left so that “dad’s gift” to her would be seen in a particular shot.
As we got more relaxed I listened more attentively to Mike and Bill. Apparently they weren’t too keen on the floor shot. There seemed to be a lot of hemming and hawing over the amount of cleavage or leg that happened to shoot out of nowhere when the elastic backing of my bodice gave way. (So that’s why the dress really fit: The elastic was shot!) But, professionals all the way, Bill discreetly propped the dress (and me) back up and Mike got the shot!
Afterward, while Samantha looked over every wedding album in the reception area, Mike and Bill spent more time discussing what I would like. I remembered that they had done my co-worker’s wedding, the impossible to please Liza, and they had no problem making her a fan. Liza had bragged to me about the changes she demanded, like someone bartering at a swap meet for a diamond carat ring, she got what she wanted: gorgeous Kodak pictures guaranteed to last 100 years!
It seemed that Bill and Mike took the most pride in being able to please, guarantee and out-service just about anyone. In fact, their service was what they felt was their strongest suit. Another example besides Liza: When one of their clients moved to a new home they changed out their frame to match their new décor. If I were to change my mind on a frame they would replace it. If I couldn’t find what I wanted from their selection I could bring in what I wanted them to use or they would do it for me.
I wanted to know more about these two. Apparently they both graduated from our own Saugus High School in the early 80’s. (Both having lived here longer than some of us, thirty years each!) The two have over twenty years of professional photography experience each.
They are one of the few studios to offer both conventional and state of the art digital technology that create even more choices for your wedding album. They do fund raisers and are active in the community, most recently working with our local YMCA by returning a portion of money back for portraits taken. And of course they are available days, evenings and weekends.
In my field of dentistry when one of our patients is seeking a dentist away from home we recommend that they contact their local dental society, California Dental Association or American Dental Association. We have learned that only the most reputable providers set the standards for their field and continue their education. Not unlike professional dentists, Photographic Memories is a proud member of the Professional Photographers of America, Kodak’s Promise of Excellence Program and the Santa Clarita Wedding Professionals.
I will always remember the day I spent with Bill and Mike because they helped me to find a way to express the feelings that I have for my husband and my only daughter. While Bill held my dress on and Mike lifted Samantha’s chin just so I almost forgot they were there. I’m sure that that was their intention. They’re professional photographers; the kind memories are made from.