Seniors not grinning when forced to bear photography contract change

Seniors not grinning when forced to bear photography contract change

LHS' seniors call Grynn & Barrett to schedule their yearbook pictures.

Alex Francisco, Staff Writer

Many seniors are unhappy with the decision to change Ludlow High School’s photography contract from Steinmetz photography to Grynn & Barrett studios, which came about at the end of last school year.

According to Principal Lisa Nemeth, this change was made for financial reasons.

“The opportunity to switch photographers came about last year when Steinmetz’s contract ended with LHS,” Nemeth explained. “As any good business person would do, I compared prices and options of other vendors. I met with representatives from Lifetouch, G&B and Steinmetz and believed that G&B offered the best deal for LHS.”

However, many seniors were less than thrilled with this change.

Senior Alexis Holdsworth was asked to be part of Steinmetz’s senior model program and was excited for the opportunity. Senior models are offered many discounts on their senior photography based on how many referrals they give out to other seniors for the company.

“Senior pictures can be so expensive so I jumped on the opportunity to be a Steinmetz senior model,” says Holdsworth. “I made the decision to back out of the program though. I didn’t want to be a model for a company we weren’t even [using] anymore because I wouldn’t know how many people would still want to go through Steinmetz. Who knows if it would have even been worth it for the discount.”

However, some seniors, like Carly Masse, were already a part of Steinmetz’s senior modeling program.

“They told us about this switch late in our junior year. I found it very unfair to me having already signed a contract with Steinmetz, who our school had been going through for so many years,” Masse said.

Senior Shauna Santos-Dempsey was also signed into a contract with Steinmetz and was looking forward to the benefits she would receive from them.

“I was furious,” Santos-Dempsey added. “I had done the senior model program to help reduce the costs of senior portraits for my family and to receive the free family photo session. Without our contract to Steinmetz I was no longer guaranteed to earn any of the benefits I was working towards.”

Santos-Dempsey and other seniors also felt that the employees at Grynn & Barrett were not very professional.

“When I called [Grynn & Barrett] to schedule an appointment early this summer I was put on hold and when someone finally reached me they were annoyed that I dared to have a question about the payment methods offered by their company,” said Santos-Dempsey.

After taking their senior yearbook photo with Grynn & Barrett studios, many students found themselves very unimpressed with the quality of their pictures. Students complained that they felt rushed and awkward during their shoots and unimpressed with the finished product.

“I really find that Steinmetz caters to the individual and from what I’ve seen G&B makes everything quite cookie-cutter,” Santos-Dempsey said.

Even male students who went through Grynn & Barrett for their senior photography weren’t thrilled with their experience.

Senior Adam Douville described his experience as “dull.”

“It was just a really boring set and  I didn’t care for how my pictures came out,” Douville added.

Senior Jocelyn Forcier was very appalled with her experience at Grynn & Barrett when she picked up her senior photographs that she had ordered.

“They chopped my head off in my wallets,” Forcier claimed. “I ordered the pictures to be cropped one way and when I got the finished product half my forehead was gone.”

Grynn & Barrett Studios were willing to fix Forcier’s pictures for her.

“Steinmetz overall was very professional but our yearbook needs change, and we’d like to keep up with the technology offered in the 21st century to produce a great yearbook and G&B fit those needs the best,” said Nemeth.

To add to the controversy, many seniors found themselves confused on Sept. 18 when it came to taking their yearbook picture at school.

Many students and faculty were unaware that they would have to call Grynn & Barrett studios to schedule an appointment in order to go down and have their picture taken.

Students who had not called to make their appointment were called to the main office in order to schedule their appointments.

Senior Nick Bellucci was among the students who had been left out of the loop.

“It was chaotic. People were everywhere. There were literally over 20 kids packed in the office all trying to call [Grynn & Barrett] from their cell phones even though they were in the auditorium,” said Bellucci. “We were never told we would have to make an appointment if we were going to take our picture during school.”

Apparently students received phone calls and letters in the mail which informed them to call to make an appointment to come down during the school day. However, not all students got these calls or letters.