Consumer reviews and reports on scam companies, bad products and services
Portrait Innovations Secrets do not make friends Charlotte, North Carolina
20th of Feb, 2013 by User434563
I am writing this to protect you, prospective employee, from this company. Take heed of this warning, as well as the reviews written by a growing community of ex-employees victimized by this business. Many of the reviews posted online have been deleted because of their overtly defamatory contents. use to have a large collection of honest reviews, but have been substituted by fake favorable reviews made, most likely, by current employees in Human Resources in order to control the damage that their reputation has carried. They advertise job listings under different company names, or use the location of the store in order to disassociate the bad reviews made by ex-employees. Do not work for the company under the presumption that you will be hired for a secure, long-term position. This company was bought out by an investor in 2006, and its upstart business practices have been well
documented and publicized. Employees are strategically hired before the Holiday season, and promptly let go for erroneous reasons. You are promised a bonus that you do not receive. You sign papers that say you cannot work for any other studio for 2 years. Upon hire, you are ordered to sign a contract that you cannot make “any claims for fraud breach of
contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, inducement of breach, interference with contract, wrongful or unlawful discharge or demotion, violation of public policy, sexual assault and battery, invasion of privacy, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional or negligent misrepresentation, conspiracy, failure to pay wages, benefits, vacation pay, severance pay, attorneys’ fees, or other compensation of any sort, discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, race, color, sex, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, handicap, medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation or any other protected category, including but not limited to any claims under the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act”. This language sounds like they have experienced several lawsuits. It also states that the “Employee promises never to file or prosecute a lawsuit or complaint (whether alone or with others) based on any Claims covered by the General Release in this Agreement. Employee further and specifically agrees not to seek or accept damages, whether monetary or otherwise, or other legal remedies of any nature, equitable remedies, attorneys fees or costs from any of the Releasees with regard to any Claim arising prior to the date of execution of this agreement by Employee. Employee further agrees that if anyone (including Employee or any government agency) makes a charge, claim or investigation against the Releasees and involving Employee or in any way based upon or related to the Claims released in the General Release, Employee waives any and all right and claim to financial recovery resulting from such claim or investigation.Employee further represents and warrants that Employee is
under the age of forty (40) at the time Employee signs this Agreement.” They also say that you can never bad mouth them. Damage control: “Employee agrees that Employee will not make any derogatory or disparaging statements, verbal or written (including Internet postings) about or relating to Company, its business practices, its facilities, its products, its management, its employees or its customers. Employee agrees that Employee will not visit any Company Studio, Office or Facility for any reason without prior written permission. And, Employee agrees that Employee will not contact or communicate with any Studio or Company Personnel, for any reason related to Portrait Innovations business, by any method, without prior written permission from a Company Senior Manager.” They will also threaten to sue you if you post anything online. IE: anonymous employee reviews… ”Employee
agrees that if Employee ever attempts to make, assert or prosecute any claim(s) covered by the General Release in Paragraph 3 or the agreement not to pursue released Claims in Paragraph 4, Employee will, prior to filing or instituting such claim(s), return to Company any and all payments already received by Employee under this Agreement, plus interest at the highest legal rate, and, if Company prevails in defending the enforceability of any portion of the Agreement or in defending itself against any such claim, Employee will pay Company's attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in defending itself against the claim(s) and/or the
attempted revocation, recession or annulment. Nothing in this Agreement shall limit Company's rights to seek and obtain other remedies for breach of this Agreement.” Here are some highlights of my current favorite reviews, most of which have been deleted and banished from the public eye in attempt to protect this company’s reputation… “Corporate could not possibly care less about you as an individual. Constantly questioning if you're going to have your job the next day.” “no guidance or feedback from upper management on improving, corporate only cares abou bringing in the money not cusotmer service, quality products or taking care of employees that work 80 hour work weeks” “Fast food of time for quality. Pushy sales tactics, overbearing management and worst off all they lead by fear.” “More of a sales job than a photography job, no health insurance, no FMLA leave, relocation is often necessary to advance” “I started out in another state working part-time for PI. Then I voluntarily moved to part-time in a new state because I thought there would be opportunities there for me. Then, as soon as the busy season was up, I got laid off due to 'cutbacks' because my average was too low. No warning, anything. Pretty disappointed.” “This company is a joke they would like to run you like you were working on commission yet pay you peanuts for it. Then when you have had enough and quit and you go to turn in a 2 week notice (like i have with all my employers) they turn around and say bye (this is not the managers doing this is company policy). Senior management has little to no idea what is going on at store level nor do they care too. The $100 average is a joke most of the time when all you are doing is $9.95 package and that is all the customer wants nothing else. Then on top of that only offering little to no training on the equipment seems counter productive when they are expecting you to take great photos every time.” “they use you during busy times and fire you when they have used you up! I worked my butt off through Christmas and they fired me the first day back in 2013! no warning about anything just waited till it was time for me to clock out. They dont care about their employees at all... no time to spend with your family cause you're always there. They are cheap and expect the employees to make all this money when all they do is advertise a 14.99 special. They say the customer is entilted to that but yet an employee gets fired if thats all the customers are buying! Screw this company and everything they stand for! I worked for region 9 in Southaven and my regional manager wouldn't even talk to me after i was fired cause she had no explanation! My advice is to not work for this comapny....I hope they shut all PI studios down! :)” “Constant harassment to sell more, go faster or be fired. Mandatory overtime. 12-15 hour days with no lunch -- manager tells you to log out but keep working. Manager talks behind everyone's back. Cheap promotions bring in cheap customers and then employees are expected to sell them more and be fast about it. I was told not to show all options available in order to speed up process. Manual says 2 employees per shoot, but you are on you're own. Try to take shots/pose children at the same time and be fast is next to impossible especially during "THE BLACKOUT" season. Manager swears at you and belittles you in front of other staff. Constant pressure to sell or be fired at end of season, which would be a relief.” “The corporate stuff kept me from liking the job. No real health insurance even on full time, expecting employees to work 60+ hours during the holidays and no allowance for creativity.. there was a strict protocol for photography. Also, the cameras were always on auto. No photography experience needed. Also, if you are going to work here, make sure you absolutely LOVE working with out-of-control children. I wasn't cut out for this kind of work. You'll need to be able to make 2 year olds sit in protocol positions and angles, which I could not do. This was not my personal ideal type of job, but admire the kinds of people who are able to handle this type of work. From what I learned in the short amount of time I was there, you are never safe from being fired, even if you've worked there for over 5 years. If you have the lowest average sales in your store, you're going to be fired after the holidays. Even the store veterans with tons of sales and customer requests were worried they might be fired if they couldn't keep their averages high, which was difficult when they have a 14.99 deal.” “It's horrible make you work long hours don't give you time to spend with your family those whole company is a joke they don't care about there employees I am so glad I no longer work fr them its not worth it” “you hardly ever have weekends off. the schedule is constantly changing and never set. you see the same staff every day all day so there is never any change.(usually twelve photographers in one studio) on the weekends you only get a thirty minute lunch even though you work over a ten hour day. everyone including management talks behind one another backs and never tell associates what is going on till it happens. there have many of times ive worked off the clock. (with the amount i worked off the clock the company owes
me prob a good thousand dollars in theses past few years total). you have a high pressure sales average that you have to maintain weekly with a package (9.95 & 14.95) that brings in lower class customers who only think to spend the amount that is advertised (so tell me how do they expect you to run over a hundred dollar average when they dont advertise anything but cheapness!?) Christmas you work 12 to 15 hour days. anywhere from 70 to 90 hours a week. You never get to see your family during holiday seasons. you're constantly sick from parents bringing in sick kids. you have no health befits from the company. when you call in sick they make you feel like your job is on the line. there is no reason to make you want to do good with your portraits except for the threats of being put on notice. i could go on and on about this company. they need alot of improvement. i worked here for four years and all i got were empty promises as an assistant manager.” “The company is very disorganized, untrustworthy, and treat their employees as if they are a nobody. I witnessed first hand how cruel they can be. After putting in a notice of my resignation [like a professional, mature adult would] I was treated as if I was trash and told to gather my belongings and not to return to work. I found this to be very unprofessional and apathetic. The company will place blame on associates without proper knowledge of the situation. You receive only a 30 minute lunch on the weekends regardless
if you work a 9-12 hour shift.” “Well, for starters, PI places a huge pressure on employees to upsell customers. Often, all you get is a mother who wants to get the advertised special of their kids. You have to take X number of poses on Y
number of backgrounds, regardless of how late you are running or what the customer wants. Management reviews all pictures, so if you're not taking enough they'll know. After that, it's off to play the selling game, which mean trying to walk the customer through the complicated pricing schemes (that change all the time) and ambush them at the end, all while holding adorable pictures of baby Susan hostage. If you get squeamish and chicken out, it's your head next time they review numbers. I was hired over the holiday rush, but I was told it was real, full time position. So, after weeks of dealing with screaming kids, hour-long delays, and irate customers, I was looking forward to enjoying this mysterious "down-time" my coworkers talked about. Yet, at the end of the day, I was told that I was let go and not to bother coming back. My average wasn't stellar enough to keep me (or any of the other new hires) around much. Be warned of the holiday rush, you're likely to be far more seasonal then you expect!” “All of the upper management talks junk behind everyone's back, I personally heard managers spreading fibs about other managers, as well as their regional managers, and even the VP of Operations, Johnny Grosso! I felt certain that the truth would come out and these "bearers of false witness" would be bested at their own game, not so! Corporate has not a clue about what is going on in their studios and I personally believe they could care less. Certain people that have been there long enough (7-8 years) are the ones causing the trouble and spreading these lies and they can not keep decent employees because of it. If you stand up and say something they let you go or give you what they call a "Job In Jeopardy" which means "you're on your way out!" They lie to their employees just like their customers. Example: If you maintain at least a $102.00 average and your store hits its fiscal budget an associate will get "30%" of their annual salary as a bonus, a manager can earn up to 100% of their annual salary. To their customers, they train their employees to "Walk Around" a direct question so they manipulate the customer into buying more...and the employees do it because if they do not they get FIRED!” “They are all about the numbers. It doesn't really matter how hard you work, how many shoots you do and if your store manager is worthless. You have too keep your sales average at that point or you are on the chopping block.” “MISERABLE structure, sales process, and policy. Corporate runs it like a military camp. All they care about is averages, and not getting sued. It's a sorry excuse for a company. The pay is awful, and the way they try to
keep people on is by convincing them they'll make 'so much money' during Christmas time, except you have to work 12 hour days. It's just a disgusting operation altogether. Way to uptight for a photography company.” “long hours, tough standards and some unreasonable managers, unpredictable market and depending on your market has the potential to be a high turnover one.” “I did not have any creativity, if it did not meet their cookie cut style it was not allowed. I worked long days with little appreciation from the central office. When we said how busy we were getting, they would not have sympathy, when performance was brought down, they would reprimand the manger. The pay did not meet the stress, and abuse from customers that was placed onto it's workers.” “As an employee, you get blamed if the camera doesn't work properly during your photo session, inconsistent schedule, co-workers invade your private life (by asking everything about you), bi-polar co-workers, rude & cheap customers, etc.” “No flexible scheduling, invasive to private life.” “It's like high school with ten people. Everyone you work with knows everything about everyone else. Every studio is run slightly different, but there are corporate policies that can't be broken... The job is wonderful, if you can find a studio with a great team that is drama free, keep the job! The benefits of pay and the rewards of the job itself (making kids smile all day) has helped me live through some tough times with my manager and co-workers.” “Pretty much everything, seriously the only thing this company cares about it numbers. Not customer service, not employee training or success, its all about the numbers. and if you don't have the numbers they let you go without warning” “60-80+ hour work weeks during holidays black out periods for time off include all holidays illness
not permitted during holidays; company culture promotes coming to work even when too ill to perform tasks or when contagious customers overbooked during holidays/staff expected to perform miracles to see customers on time no paid breaks limited lunches during busy periods bonuses only paid out 1x year; many do not receive what is owed company practice of hiring as permanent although position is actually temporary” “The management is horrible. Customers get upset with you because you force them to take pictures they don't want. They also get upset because of long wait times during holidays. You never see your family during Christmas because of insane hours. You only get a 30 minute lunch while working a 12 hour day and management will tell you there is no time for short breaks. Management does not know how to have constructive criticism, they only yell and threaten. You always feel that your job is on the line. They only provide a medical reimbursement for you to be able to get your own insurance which doesn't even start to cover what insurance costs. You stay sick all of the time because of parents bringing in sick kids. If you try to call out sick, you get yelled out and your job is threatened. From the top down, everyone yells and is negative. You cannot be as creative as you want to be or can be because you are limited by time and you must shoot protocol. Working there made me hate photography which has always been my love.” “They say you will start at 30k when you are hired, but in all reality you only make 24,960. During Christmas you do add a couple thousand to that salary, but you also work your ass off for it. You work between 8 - 15
hour days with only a thirty minute break. Working 65-80 hours a week and getting yelled at daily because they don’t know how to book appointments. They book around a 100 appointments a day. They double book on the hour and book every ten minutes. The management is the worst at this studio. People can do WHATEVER they want and management does NOTHING!!! The store manager leaves early whenever she wants, but if you need to for something the answer is almost ALWAYS no!!” “You'll never have a social life as long as you work for this company. Either because everyone quits, you're forced to take two hour lunches every day because of short staffing, they change your schedule the night before your next shift, or they conveniently change your days off or take your weekend off away to suit their needs regardless of what you have planned. They offer outdated insurance reimbursements. They provide life insurance that no one cares about when they're in their 20s. The pay is not competitive. Your bonus is not earned from your own merit. The bonus that you'll likely never receive is also based on the performance of others and the budget that the studio must meet. PI cancelled everyone's Christmas parties to pool more money for that lovely bonus that is 'impossible' to get. Depending upon which studio you work for, turnover can be excessive. Lack of reward and praise is definitely a concern from all levels of management. When they hire for studio managers, they do not look for people with management experience. They look for the person who shoots the most appointments and makes the most amount of money in sales. Of course, the trainee manager gains the knowledge necessary to operate the studio. The manager-to-be does not receive training on how to interact with employees, give praise when needed, critique in a professional manner, handle guest concerns, or anything that is vital to keeping all associates and customers happy and excited with their employment or visit with said company. As well, they determine blessings for studio management opportunities to come from your studio manager. If your manager does not like you, they will not recommend you to their regional contact. Overbooking appointments during the Christmas and Easter holidays was another very big concern. I specifically remember there being two camera rooms and we were forced to book three appointments at the beginning of every hour. How does one accomplish that if there are only two rooms?” “They dont care about employees. Money hungry company who overworks employees. Hate this place!! Never get weekends off.” “Unprofessional managers that take high paying sessions from other photographers. Have to keep a weekly average of $100/ more....which is hard to do when they have a $10 special with no other obligations. Favoritism tends to form with small staffed studios.” “This was a part time position so you only work one day out of the week (unless there is a big holiday). No room for career all. 30 minute lunch. You basically play musical chairs all day long (management rotates seats according to who's on break).” “Overwork employees, stressful environment, corporate has ridiculous rules, have to confirm too many appointments in one day and then you have to do it again,THATS STUPID! Appts booked every 10 minutes, no late policy for customers, customers have to change in bathroom(DISGUSTING) and some photographers are inexperienced and have terrible customer service skills” “They hire warm bodies because turnover is so high. They double book appointments on purpose and still take walk-ins during the busy season because cash in quantity rules over quality. Employees aren't even professional photographers 9 out of 10 times, and if they are they aren't given the time to do a good job. They literally will book full sittings five minutes apart, and only allow ten minutes in the room. If you take longer, appointments back up on top of each other and customers get irritated and then take it out on you. You're hardly allowed lunch if it's busy, and not allowed to sit down even though you're on your feet 10 hours per day. Two legal infractions, but employees turnover so quickly they'll probably never have a lawsuit filed. The manager was an okay guy but was obviously inexperienced and unprofessional-- but "management material" is probably about as loose a term as "professional photographer" in this case.” “TERRIBLE management and training program. The employee turnover rate speaks for itself.” “The verbal threat of continually not doing enough, averages not high enough, sales not as good as they could be, not taking enough appointments when booking everything that walks in the door and calls, being told I'll fire you...its alot of verbal abuse that is not necessary. This job is amazing most of the time, but when it comes down to holiday time, you have no work/home life balance at all - yes the pay is awesome, but this is not a good life for anyone who has young children at home. There is always a catch...” “There was a major lack of respect towards both employees and customers. Customers are often herded through the portrait session like cattle, "encouraged" to take many more photos than they want to, and rushed to make decisions on what pictures they want: Something that they should be allowed time to think about. Performance reviews are solely based on sales: if someone is a terrible employee by another other standards, but can sell a large portrait package, they are viewed as an outstanding employee. On the flip-side, if an employee is prompt, knowledgeable, creative and intelligent, but does not have a high sales average, they are weeded out. Employees are in constant fear of losing their jobs.” “I could go on and on. They treat their employees like robots, and all they care about is money. They pay a decent salary, but it's more than deserved for all the things you have to deal with. I read the reviews and chose to ignore them and work for the company anyway, but it was a mistake. They're incredibly shady and train you to rip people off. I'm embarrassed to even claim having worked there. :(“ “Yes, I use to work for this company and I wanted everyone to know what type of employer they really are. To begin with, they will STEAL your sales and give them to others WITHOUT your permission. They will also try to get rid of you before you can make your bonuses… I came across their list of people who worked for them in the year I was there, and found that 175 people had been employeed by them. HUGE turn around when you’re a crappy company. They try to get at least 100.00 min out of each customer and you must retain at least 100.00 min to be employed by them… A month after I left, the last two people who worked there before I started were fired. So that means you are getting professional pictures taken by AMATEURS. I would normally not make a stink, but this company is family oriented and all they care about is the BIG BUCK!” “the management and senior staff very intentionally cherry pick the best customers based on their appearance and income to make sure that come the dead line in January they stick around and us new folks do not. I was told this was a full time permanent position, even had to travel to NC for a week of training. The cost of which I have to pay back if you are there less than a year.” Good luck in your job search, you deserve better than what this company will offer you!

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