Lauren Studios under fire
Matt Jensen | Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I’m not a big fan of protest — and I don’t plan to Occupy Wall Street now or in the near future — but when something’s wrong, it’s wrong and deserves to be addressed.
One of the worst business practices I have seen is the Notre Dame/Lauren Studios affiliation providing seniors with yearbook pictures. For those unfamiliar, Notre Dame requires students wishing to appear in the yearbook to pay Lauren Studios for a sitting (aren’t these normally free with decent photographers?) and then offers opportunities to purchase overpriced prints.
On top of the atypical charges, the quality of the Lauren Studio’s service is unacceptable. Not only were the sittings usually running 30-plus minutes late, but the photographers were terrible. No, I don’t want to say “Megan Fox” or “My best friend’s girlfriend” in order for you to shoot five times when I’m not ready and ship me out.
Maybe I’m over-agitated about the quality. Anyone who knows me knows I have no potential for a good photo anyway. Let’s move on to step two in how to create the nastiest business possible: Mail out un-requested proofs to everyone and mandate they be returned at a specified time and place or else a student incurs a fee of $25 per un-retouched two-by-three proof. Sounds about right. Just for good measure, don’t mention the fee in any e-mails — hide it in the finer print of a brochure no one reads. Bingo! You owe Lauren Studios $250. Next time I take a picture I’m going to mail it to everyone and add a similar clause. I could make a lot of money! This is at best unethical, and at worst illegal.
To Lauren Studios: Really? Your lack of photography skill is laughable, lack of business skill is sad and lack of morals is just plain wrong.
To Notre Dame: Come on, you’ve gotta be smarter than this. I’m sure Lauren Studios is paying you well for the exclusive contract, but did you look over their practices? If you did, and you’re okay with it, I just lost respect for this great University. Let’s change it.