What comes to mind when you hear Glamour Shots? Wait, don’t tell me– I can read minds: big hair, leather cowboy jacket, and ALL THE EYESHADOW. If you’re a child of the 80s and 90s chances are you’ve had a brush with Glamour Shots, whether it was through begging your mom to take you and being denied or actually going and then actively destroying your Glamour Shots photos that were still displayed in your relatives’ front rooms throughout the 2000s.
I never had a Glamour Shots experience and damn am I glad I dodged that bullet. There are plenty of embarrassing childhood photos of me from Sears. If Sears Photography at the mall could do this much damage, I don’t even want to know what Glamour Shots would have done to me.
Like Sears, Glamour Shots was located in your local mall. Unlike Sears, Glamour Shots would tart you up like the finest 80s prostitute with a heart of gold. Or bangs of crisp.
Glamour Shots made us feel good in a way that we didn’t know we needed to feel good. Feeling a little down in the dumps? Want to feel beautiful? Wanted? That’s nothing big hair, a pound of hot pink blush, and a soft focus couldn’t fix. Suddenly these Plain Janes were super models, and for a low (high) fee, they even had their head shots taken care of already.
This ad in the July 13, 1997 Eugene Register-Guard from Eugene Oregon is looking for Glamour Shots employees– makeup skills are “helpful”. Indeed.
So what was included in the Glamour Shots package? This ad from The Tuscaloosa News July 3, 1994 issue out of Tuscaloosa, AL breaks it down for us (and as always – click to embiggen!):
- A glamorous complimentary make over
- Four exciting wardrobe and accessory changes
- A fun 16 pose photo session
- Instant viewing of your color video proofs
- Portraits back in about a week
All for $17.76? That’s pretty good. Even when you count for inflation, I’d still pay $29 for that today.
This article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette dated July 25, 1996 chronicles 9-year-old Angela Sanders’ and her grandmother’s transformations. Including makeup. So much makeup.
This explains so much.
Does that $17.76 deal ring true?
Huh. That’s how those places always get you. Who is spending a grand on this stuff? But was it worth it? Did they have my style available?
I don’t want either of those.
Interestingly, Glamour Shots was a technological pioneer, if you will. While seeing photos as soon as they’re taken is nothing short of standard now, in the 80s and 90s we could only dream of being so lucky. I won’t regale you with tales of getting photos developed or waiting months for the school portrait packages to come in, but you get me. From the official Glamour Shots website:
“Glamour Shots® was considered the first in the industry showing customers their proofs on a monitor right after their session and allowing them to order their pictures instantaneously.”
Glamour Shots is still around in a few malls, but you’ll have to bring your own denim vests and sequins. Looks like they’ve embraced a larger audience, instead largely offering family photos and the like. There are other options, like boudoir, but nothing as feather-haired as the Glamour Shots in the malls we all knew and loved.