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EJ has been wanting to get a studio photo session of her pregnancy. It’s traditional in Korea. She said that the studios offer this for free.

Nothing’s for free.

The plan was to try one out and then another if this one wasn’t good enough.

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The studio took up a four-story building near our local E-Mart. It obviously specialized in baby photography, with all the samples everywhere. And the studios were lively with photographers trying to get babies to laugh. It had to be the happiest sounding workplace I’ve ever been to. These photographers have the energy that hagwon directors want their foreign teachers to have.

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We got there early, so we had time to go through their picture samples. There was one I liked that used a white two-piece dress that exposed the belly in front of a large painting of a butterfly. The costume looked flowing and angelic with the wings strategically placed behind the model. When it got to be our turn, I strongly lobbied for that costume. EJ was originally looking at a Pink brand sweatsuit.

The photo session went great. Smooth. Fast. And I hammed it up. EJ looked beautiful in that costume–to my eyes.

We went downstairs to look at the results and to choose the two pictures that would be in Jian’s album. What you do here is buy a package for the pregnancy shots, newborn, 50 days, 100 days and 1 year. The first three sessions are free. Then you really get charged for the rest. I kept wondering why they just don’t say that all the sessions combined are the price of the package. Unfortunately, the pics with the costume didn’t look so great on the monitor. EJ thoroughly hated them. But we did pick one for the album.

EJ and the salesguy were discussing the details for an hour and a half. She was comparing this studio with others she had researched, and the salesguy was going online to show how his studio had the best rates. And in the end, I think they did. The other studios offered crap that I would never use, like a giant curtain-like banner with Jian’s face on it. Korean parents would use this for their baby’s big first birthday party, but we’re still thinking of not doing that big headache extravaganza with Jian.

This is where I got creeped out.  With their great packages, they offered us some freebies. One of the freebies we could choose was a namestamp for the baby.

Ooh, that’s forward thinking and may be pretty cool.

A namestamp with the baby’s umbilical cord preserved in formaldehyde.

Whaa…?

I understand that parents all over the world hold certain things precious about their infants. But a stamp with pickled baby meat in it was not something I was interested in. I’m sorry, I’m not that sentimental about umbilical cords.

Needless to say that we chose the picture album over the umbilical cord stamp.

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