Michaels Encourages Professional Photographers to Shoot Within Its Crafts Stores

Michaels Encourages Professional Photographers to Shoot Within Its Crafts Stores

You may recall a shoot by photographer Jenna Martin last year done inside a Lowe’s home improvement store. Its virality sparked a surge in attempts to shoot good photos in poor locations. While many attempted to block such practices, the arts and crafts store, Michaels, just actively encouraged photoshoots in its many branches.

Using the hashtag, #MichaelsChallenge, the Michaels team posted to Facebook encouraging photographers to stop by one of its branches and shoot a “professional-looking photo” using the inside of its stores as a backdrop. Michaels is the largest arts and crafts retail chain in the U.S., totaling over 1,100 stores.

It sounds great on paper, but could it cause issues? What happens should someone injure themselves while inside? Not to mention, some customers have already questioned the concept, with one person taking to the comments section to ask, “So when these people are taking pictures and I want to shop, who has to wait their turn?”

This could be a clever marketing ploy to get customers into its stores, but it also risks a plethora of issues, not least of which could be overcrowding if professional setups are installed by visiting photographers.

At the time of writing, professional photographers are welcomed within stores. The company has simply requested that the branch you’re intending to visit be given a heads-up first.

Lead image by rawpixel.com via Pexels.

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Aaron Bratkovics's picture

I know what I'm doing next week. I'd do it this weekend but it's my birthday and I want to get blacked out.

It causes a lot of concern but hell we preach location etc. It's all right there for you. Hell it's even free. To rent studio time in LA is..well costly. Running a model into a store for 40min? It's great. I think a heads up is fair.

Ernest Saenz's picture

Happy Birthday!!!

Aaron Bratkovics's picture


Rob Watts's picture

How are they separating out the pros from the rest of us? =)

They are not. All are welcome, pros and amateurs alike. They are just asking pros, who may come with an entourage of assistants, to give the store a heads-up first.

Actually, I think the heads-up applies to all photographers, but the main concern is the pro + entourage.

Robert Nurse's picture

Hey, I'm a pro! I have a website!! ;D

I think the National Parks rules ought to apply.

① No sets, props etc., unless they are hand-held.
② Tripods allowed except where they inhibit the pathways to others. (In Michael's, that probably means no tripods).
③ Access restricted to places which are only available to the general public.
④ No photography activity can interfere with the general public's enjoyment of the par… er,… store.
⑤ No activity which requires the store to provide additional personnel or security.
⑥ No photography of commercial models. (i.e., identifiable products/logos, or models for commercial promotions of identifiable products/logos).
⑦ Anything above and beyond ①-⑥ requires an application for a permit and a non-refundable application fee.

This allows all photographers, amateurs and professionals, to get a chance to shoot without interfering with shoppers, or putting undue burdens on the store.

Vincent Alongi's picture

It probably makes for a wonderfully ornate picture if you can compose an ideal shot without getting in the way- or getting customers in the shot. As well, what an opportunity to advertise to local potential customers - especially those parents who are picture frame shopping and happen to see a photographer working on the spot. It sounds like a real win-win for the store and a photographer looking to drum up interest. Come prepared with business cards, start shooting and good luck... I'd bring a friend and their kids along for a shoot. My two kids are so absolutely done with my calls for test shots and modeling them, they'd be the worst subjects. Hah.

The downfall I see is they're so corporate and they usually have kids working there, they'd be afraid to improvise on a concept if you wanted to think outside the box. I couldn't blame a teen for not wanting to compromise their part-time job.

Kirk Darling's picture

Lots of free social media advertising coming their way! I hope their social media manager has run it past legal, but otherwise, WHEEEEEE! with free advertising.

Robert Nurse's picture

With free advertising should come freedom of creativity as long as I don't get in shoppers' way.

Rob Watts's picture

I just heard on the radio yesterday that Home Goods (I think) is irritable at people coming into to take their Senior HS portraits in the flower section and they want people to stop. I thought well, Michael's is close by, go there!

John D's picture

They know their audience. If the rest of you are like me, you'll walk out of the store with a few more props that caught your eye while you're in there too!

Vincent Alongi's picture

They knew what they were doing with this stunt. It was a stroke of genius.

Allen Reid's picture

A quick hashtag search on instagram shows that most people seem to be doing the same sort of shots over and over, putting a subject in front of the lovely fake flowers. I'd love to see some examples of people thinking outside the box while in there.

I even though Jessica Kobeisi would have thought outside the box, but she stuck to the flower isle the entire time.

She did, however use a prop or two from somewhere else, and tried some creative compositions with blur, but I found it boring.

…Not only that, but she gave credit of the idea to the “Hobby Lobby Challenge,” accredited to Kelsey Maggart for starting it, and Adam Delane for popularising it.

…And this, despite the fact that she had already done the “Ugly Location Challenge” back in September of 2017 with Mango Street! Wow! It's like the guy who took a technique from 150+ years ago, does precisely the same thing —but using Ps— then claims he invented the technique, (which people are now naming after him), despite the expired patent from the mid-1800s.