There are a number of packages available at Belgravia Studios and I think what you might decide on or will be offered depends on what offers are available. In our case the session was booked for £100 which was a refundable deposit, so essentially the experience was free for us so a win win.
We arrived at Belgravia Studios which were very plush and looked nicer than my expectations and just a short walk from Kings Cross Station. The photographer was certainly a character and popped over and introduced himself and explained a little about what the photography session would include.
Next was the 'style consultation' from a Professional Make-Up Artist that includes a mini hand massage and mini manicure (just a file and one coat of paint), your skin cleansed, toned and moisturised, make up session and professional hair styling which is detailed on the offer.
Now this would the stage I'd be most critical at, whilst I appreciate that the make up was 'for camera' I didn't find it was anything particularly special and when I saw it outside the studios I couldn't wait to get home and remove it; its' certainly something to consider if you were planning to head out after your photography session. We left after dark and I was heading straight home so I wasn't too worried about any stares on the underground but I certainly wouldn't have gone out wearing it. We talked through that I liked a red lip and a vintage style make up was suggested but it wasn't anything beyond what I might do for myself, not even so much as some winged liner.
The cleanse, tone and moisturise was simply that to clean the face and there was no hand massage for either of us and in fact two other guests commented on lack of one and requested it before they left. Hair was at the hands of straighteners giving me some curls which I was happy with.
Next there was some more waiting around before we were led downstairs to the photography studio, a series of rooms and spaces which the photographer would make use of on our shoot. We had been asked to bring at least four outfits which left my friend and I panicking hours before we met and saw me dragging a heavy bag on the train with me laden down with shoes and dresses to choose from.
It would have been useful to know in advance that the photos primarily focus on head and shoulders and the need for 'outfits' or indeed shoes wasn't necessary, I didn't wear any in my photos so I had carried them unnecessarily.
The photographer as I mentioned was very good at his job and looked through what we had brought and pointed out what he wanted to see and in what order. The photo shoot was fun, my friend and I took it in turns, moving around the studio to the various 'sets' and posing for our photos. He was chatty (very much so!) and put us at ease not that either of us is particular adverse to having our photos taken and would exclaim various compliments at the photos being taken that I was actually quite excited to see the photos at the end of the session.
The photography portion of the day is actually very quick and soon we were returning to our normal clothes and were led back upstairs to await our 'private viewing session' which is really being taken into another room where your photos have been edited and touched up for you to pick from.
Our package included one free image and as we sat waiting I asked my friend if she knew how much the photos were, thinking my enjoyment of the photography session I might actually be tempted with an additional purchase or two. I was shocked when I was told £99 per image - they would need to be some pretty special photos to make me part with that cash.
This was where the hard sell began, my friend and I sat down and we were shown a slide show of our images with the 'sales assistant' exclaiming how wonderful certain shots were. Next step was to go through the photos removing any we didn't like and this carried down until we got a small selection left and were offered various packages to reduce the cost per image but still requiring us to buy multiple images at a few hundred pounds.
It came to a point that I actually had to be a little blunt with them and explain that I would not be spending any money on purchasing images as there were now that I particularly liked. Whilst I don't profess to be the most amazing photographer between my friends and I, I have a number of photos of both myself or with friends that I liked far more than what are very old fashioned in there style. This might be my exposure to the fashion blogger and street style of photography but I have no need for some head shot of myself adoring my walls - and if I'm honest I looked almost moody in most of the photos and missed my smile.
When my friend requested the refundable deposit the person handling our transaction was a little short as 'she'd never had to do that before' and it took some fussing about but was done.
In summary as a 'free' day out it was fun and made for a blog post but it's certainly nothing something I would pay for, certainly not at the prices listed. I would far rather seek the services of a street photographer and try that out than what I find an outdated and old fashioned service.
That said when I talked about my experience on Facebook some friends commented that they had been and actually spent in excess of £400 on their photos from the session so maybe it's just not for me.
What do you think of these photography sessions, have you ever had one or been tempted to book?