Our Not-So-Free Freebie Photoshoot Experience (and how to get the best out of Freebies)
Freebies are awesome! Nothing like that feeling when you receive something you like for free or for less!
They come in different forms - "Buy 1 get 1 free", "Sign up and get free delivery on your next item", "Win a £200 voucher - just sign up to our Facebook page, "Try Netflix for free for the first month - just enter your bank card details".
Many times we are aware that there's a catch. But either the idea of the freebie seems worth the catch or we believe we've totally checked out the T&Cs and it's a true freebie. So we go for it!
The latter situation happened on this 'free' photoshoot!
Tee got a message from a studio in London that one of his friends had recommended us for a FREE photoshoot experience! Woohoo!
First off, we did what every normal person should do. We called the friends and they explained that it was indeed free and you get five photos free with a chance to buy as many of the other photos as possible. I read the T&Cs and it all seemed pretty good. Basically, come in for a 20 minute session and in that time you can change outfits as many times as you wish! No hidden charges.
To make the freebie even more appealing, ladies got a free hair session and makeup! I was totally sold. Let's do this!
I was a bit worried about the hair bit, because at that point I had braids on which were already quite old and not ideal for a photo sesssion. So again, I read reviews and one of the reviews stated "My hair is kinky and I'd never seen my hair so straight before". Obviously this was appealing to me as I've sort of stopped relaxing my hair. I think I read this review on the morning of the shoot. Between Tee and I, we got the braids off in record time. More of him than me to be honest! The hair was in such a state I had to tie a scarf. But hey, I didn't care as I had faith in their straightener!
We arrived and the studio seemed pretty cool. Good sign that it was not a sham. Plus there were quite a lot of people on there. From aspiring models to mothers with a bump.
So what went wrong with this Freebie?
Time: We thought it was going to be a 1 hour deal maximum, but we spent about 5 hours Time is money people, and so this freebie was not free!
Hair & Makeup: After all my excitement, the hair didn't turn out that great and apparently, the only tool they could use was a straightener and. So no blow drying! When she was done with the makeup, I initially looked like Lupita. No jokes.
Plot Twist: We had taken between 50 - 70 shots and then we had to decide which free five photos we were entitled to. First off, they casually mentioned that we were entitled to only hard copies and not soft copies. 6 by 4inch size photos. If we wanted soft copies we had to pay for them. I knew it! there was a catch. "Sorry, we're not interested, we'll take the 5 hard copies" She tried to explain to use that we would be unable to share on any social media or enlarge the pictures etc. We still weren’t moved. No deal - especially as the cost of purchasing the photos were pretty ridiculous! Another twist: we had to pay £10 for shipping. At this point we pretty lost it. Why not just come out straight and let people know they'll have to pay for shipping.
Before this, they had asked us to select people to recommend. There was some kinda app they installed on our phones which could automatically select everybody on your contact list and all of whom will receive a similar message like we had that a friend had recommended them for a free shoot. I wasn't totally comfortable with this, so I offered to write down people's names manually. After the whole plot twist above, I revoked my recommendation and cancelled out the names I had written. I wasn't sure it was worth asking people to spend over five hours for such a 'free' photo-shoot!
Six weeks later, the mail arrived and rather surprisingly, the pictures were in a CD! Soft copies. There weren't that fab, but nevertheless, we could share and this blog post arose out of the experience!
So my top tips for dealing with freebies:
- Read the T&Cs and ask as many questions as possible.
- Set alarms for when your trial period ends: Especially if you've submitted your credit card details and you are just trialling out the service.
- Read reviews: Some freebies are great on the surface until you hear what others say!
- Unsubscribe: Sometimes, you're just interested in that initial 20% off. Get it, and once your done, unsubscribe from the mailing list. Else you'll just remain tempted to buy stuff you don't need.
I still love a good freebie and I'm always on the look out for great ones. If you know one, point me in that direction!
What have I missed. Share your freebie tales! The good, the bad and the downright ugly!