4 comments 18.11.11

Venture Studios in Hong Kong: Where a picture is (not) worth a thousand bucks

Posted by Miss Fong - Filed under , , ,
I recently saw Venture Studios on a Groupon Hong Kong deal and as a (fellow?) Groupon addict, I must warn anyone who's thinking of buying it to STOP RIGHT THERE! The deal is HK$999 for a 1-hour photography session and a 1-hour design consultation, plus your favourite image framed in an 8x10" size.

Although this offer might sound pretty sweet, you can actually get the exact same deal for HK$500 on any regular day, plus a few more freebies (read: cash vouchers) thrown in whenever there's a special occasion like Christmas, Chinese New Year, Mother's Day or Father's Day, etc.

I tried Venture earlier this year and I must say first and foremost that they are actually pretty damn awesome at what they do. Take a look at their portraits and you'll see that they're really good at capturing people's unique personalities in a really natural way.

For our photo session, we were told to bring a bunch of objects that represented us, so for me, that was a box of chocolate chip cookies, orange Queen's Day hats from Holland, our cats Dusky & Cheese Puff, while C brought some books and a cigar... In that hour, we had a blast as the photographer got down in all sorts of positions to snap away as we tickled each other, fought for cookies and basically just goofed around.

I thought it'd be easy to pick just one picture to be printed out on the 8x10" frame, but when it came time to come back to view the pictures (aka. the "design consultation"), the Venture guys knew exactly how to wrangle our weak spot.

First, they seat you in their little private theatre where they've prepared a moving slideshow of your touched up images. The light dims, music starts, and the pictures start to roll... Of course, after 10-15 minutes of seeing yourselves in all your Photoshopped glory, which ends with the tagline, "The most important story ever told...yours", you'll definitely want to have more than just ONE measly 8x10" print-out. But here's the thing:
  • Suddenly, every item you want printed is costing in the HK$1,000's
  • Many of the images are best sold in sets, as that's how the photographer got you to pose in 'em (cookie-themed photos, orange themed photos, etc), which means more $$$
  • They tell you you can't hang your free 8x10" frame on the wall, and all the pictures are sealed in the Venture frames so you can't even reuse the frame in the future
  • Even if you just want the digital copy of your photos, you'll only get a maximum of 20 pics for about HK$15,000, which are locked at a low resolution and cannot be printed out, and only viewable as desktop screen savers
  • Oh -- and you have to decide on your purchase within your 1-hour consultation otherwise your pictures will be deleted the next day and the discounted promotional offers are no longer valid
Talk about intense pressure! All the while, the sales person is going, "Aren't your memories worth it?" while you're thinking, maybe, but then again, we could go out and buy a pretty decent camera and rent a studio for less money than what you're asking for...or just find another photographer :P

In the end, we caved and did end up buying more photos, starting out with the original (insane) plan to buy a set of three mounted wall images for about HK$15,000 but eventually "coming to our senses" and buying just three more 8x10" images for a total of HK$5,200.

Stupid, huh? Especially when those photos are still lying in their boxes by our front door. So is Venture worth it? YES if you are really strong and will only take your free 8x10" pic, NO if you are any bit emotional about memories and willing to pay big money for them. Don't say you weren't warned!

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Razlan said...

I hate, hate, hate it when salesmen push me into an emotional corner and literally blackmail me just because I am a nice guy. All those restrictions... goodness that felt like a blackshop!

Anonymous said...

i never liked venture, the pictures are just white blasts of light on white background... boring...

Anonymous said...

thanks! I am just looking at Groupon and now selling at $388..., yes, I won't buy it anymore. Really thanks for your comment!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I almost purchase this for a friend as a gift...you have saved my friendship...