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brainstorming: prom paparazzi | indiana county, pa photographer

By March 9, 2012 5 Comments

These past few months, I’ve been on a brainstorming spree…..I have so many ideas running thru my head… being the Prom Paparazzi Contest I’m planning to hold again this year. Prom is going to be right around the corner-I mean I’ve already seen posts on facebook regarding some of you already going shopping for your prom dresses-I can’t blame you, my senior year I bought mine in January because I got a good deal! LOL  So I thought, it’s not to early to start thinking about this year’s contest. I’m planning to do things a little bit differently this year and I haven’t quite figured out what that is going to be just yet–remember I’m brainstorming, but I thought I would share with the rest of you who may be new to the page what exactly gave me this idea to begin with………

I remember being grounded on that particular weekend-don’t ask me why, it probably had something to do with staying out past curfew or talking on the phone to late (because back in the OLDEN DAYS we had to talk on a phone with a cord *GASP*). Whatever the reason, I remember not being allowed to go anywhere that weekend. My parents had company over and my sister was staying at Grandma’s house. I was bored. I mean B.O.R.E.D.

I grabbed my recent copy of TEEN Magazine and laid on the living room floor reading when I came across “the contest”! TEEN Magazine was advertising it as a Prom-A-Thon. 5 lucky girls would be chosen to win with one Grand Prize Winner getting an all expense trip to New York to meet Tyra Banks! With my chin in the palm of my hand I read on. If you were the lucky runner up they awarded you cash to use towards your prom expenses. I was only in 9th grade so I wasn’t eligible to go to the prom just yet,…BUT my boyfriend at the time was in 11th grade and if you were asked by an upperclassman than you were then eligible to go! WOO! We had discussed the prom and we honestly weren’t sure if we could afford it. My mom was a single parent trying to make ends meet so asking her to pay for my prom dress was out of the question so we thought…ahh, maybe next year. As far as the contest goes, I figured “what the heck, I’ll fill it out and send it in-what could it hurt-right?”.

I forgot about it for the longest time. Days, weeks and months passed until about 3 weeks before my prom was scheduled to happen, I got a phone call from Teen Magazine telling me I was one of the chosen winners! I think the conversation went a little like this:

“Is this Jennifer?”
” Yes, this is her.”
” This is Meghan, the Promotions Director from TEEN Magazine calling to tell you, you have been chosen as on of the lucky winners in the Prom a Thon Contest.”
” < dead silence >”
” Hello….Jennifer?”

No one believed me. My mom actually called Meghan at her Madison Avenue office in New York  just to make sure someone wasn’t pulling a cruel prank. Nope, it was real and they were sending my mom the forms to fill out! And then it began, (if you’re from an italian family you know what I mean) Mom calls so and so THEN so and so calls the OTHER so and so and then they call the next and before I knew it everyone was calling saying Congrats!!

I had NEVER won ANYTHING!! So in a nut shell, they paid for EVERYTHING from my dress to his tux, the flowers, the ticket, EVERYTHING!! And to top everything off, the local newspaper came to do a story on me! The photographer was there while I was getting ready, took my portraits, photos of me getting into the car, with my family…the whole nine yards. I felt like a movie star!!

Excuse the quality of these images. These are photographs of the pictures that were in the newspaper by Bill Graff (Hi Bill)……..AND they were back from 1997 (in my MUCH thinner days!!)

THAT my friend is what I want to give to YOU! Although I WISH I could pay for someone’s entire Prom-realistically I can’t. But what I do want you to feel is that same Movie Star feeling I had when I went to my first prom. I want to use my talent to give back!!! I want to give  one lucky winner Pre Prom photographs of you getting ready, your prom date, portraits of you with your friends, at your Grand March (if permissible)….pretty much everything up until your prom starts! I will be your prom paparazzi. You will get a disc of your images complimentary. ( In the event that jen mcken is not available on the date of the winner’s prom, a substitute session will be provided at a later date. ) That’s well over a $950.00 value…..AND I’m looking for other local vendors who would be interested in also donating some goodies for the contest. If you have a talent, a skill, a product-anything that can relate to the prom and you want to also give back, contact me at Please keep in mind, this contest will only be ran locally within Indiana County, PA Schools. BIG THANKS to Chestnut Ridge Resort and Spa, Indiana Tuxedo + Flower Gallery for already being on board! ANDDDDDD….I just received confirmation that we received an anonymous donation of $500 to be split between the winners, in honor of the partnership with jen mcken and the ABC: Anti-Bulling Coalition!!! SOOO EXCITING!!!

I’m excited for this year, and as soon as I decide on an entry method, I’ll share it…until now…it’s back to brainstorming. My brain hurts…….h.e.l.p.m.e.!


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