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I am extremely conflict averse in my personal life, which is why I'm asking for advice here on how to handle this...

Before Sammy was born, I contacted a newborn photographer.  I sent her pictures of what I had done for Ellie and Frisco and explained that I wanted something not identical, but complementary.  My goal was to hang it all on the wall together and have it look nice.  Looking at her website, she did some stuff that was a little cutsier than I wanted (babies dressed as peapods, etc) and some stuff that was more cluttered (to me) but also she had some newborn pictures that fit what I was looking for.

The photo shoot went really well.  She wanted to do it when he was 5 days old and even though he didn't "pose" exactly the way she wanted, she sad she got some cute shots.  Two months later, I went to her studio to review the pictures.  She had a huge digital LCD TV to display the "proofs".  She sells her pictures in packages (not surprising) but doesn't do actually matting.  I guess she prefers "digital" matting, which to me looked like a cheap border.  Anyway, I ended up ordering all my prints separately except one "digital collage" because it fit with the package and I thought maybe it would look okay. The entire package was not quite but almost my monthly salary but it was worth it to me for a bunch of reasons.

Today I picked up the pictures.  The black and whites look really gray to me.  I'm not sure what could be done about that, but I guess it comes down to the fabrics she used in the background weren't 100% white so now, they look sort of gray.  However, she also used a sort of textured paper (that we never discussed) and this has the effect of making Sammy's skin look really wrinkled/textured.  Maybe it won't look that way once it's under glass?  The color pictures make his skin look really mottled and red.  I'm sure it was somewhat (because he was 5 days old) but it looks terribly unattractive and not cute at all.  Finally, I think I was really clear about my preference for real matting.  It took forever picking out the pictures because I wanted real matting.  So when I walk in, she has a beautiful, real matted, collection of 6 pictures of Sammy.  She tells me it wasn't available when I was in her office placing my order, but it became available after (this was like two weeks ago when I placed the order) and it was such a great product and he was so cute that she ordered one for herself to hang on her wall.  I can have one, too, for $500.  The one digital collage I did order from her looks like crap in comparison to what she has hanging on her wall.

So, I'm upset but I'm not really sure what to ask for.  I could ask her to reprint everything on regular paper (no texture).  I'm not sure anything can be done about the excessive gray.  I don't know if I should say anything about the colored pictures but I doubt I will ever hang them because Sammy looks so *red* and mottled. I would totally be willing to buy what she has hanging on her wall because it was beautiful.  BUT, I'm annoyed because we talked about my strong preference for real matting and what she has looks so much like what I have for the other kids.  I can't believe she wouldn't have called and asked.  What a great way to make $500 extra?

What should I do? What would be fair? Other advice?
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June 2012

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