Michaels: Yes, You Can Do That Portrait Challenge In Our Stores

Photographer Jenna Martin helped spark a movement back in November 2017 when she did her “Ugly Places, Pretty Portraits” challenge in a Lowe’s home improvement store. Since then it has spread to other popular retail chains, include arts and crafts stores. But while the #hobbylobbychallenge is officially against store policy, Michaels is embracing and encouraging the #michaelschallenge.

Michaels, the largest arts and crafts retail chain in the US (with over 1,100 stores), just took to its social media accounts to ask photographers to share the results of portrait challenges done inside its locations. The goal of the challenge is to shoot a professional-looking portrait using the backdrop of Michaels arts and crafts aisles (particularly the floral decor aisle):

“#Challenge accepted! Find us in the floral aisle, working all the angles,” the post reads, while linking to a store locator. “Show us your shoot #MichaelsChallenge.”

So instead of having a policy that kicks photographers out, Michaels is embracing the fad as a way to get people into its stores.

And yes, even professional photographers are welcome (though Michaels does encourage you to give the store location a heads up).

“Wait I’m not sure if I get it right I’m allowed to bring my professional camera and my client and take photo at the store???? Like just to walk in ??,” one commenter asked on Facebook.

Michaels replied: “Hi Shiran, yes, you can go to any store for your photos. We donโ€™t need a release, but a prior heads up with the store location would be nice. We canโ€™t wait to see the results of your photoshoot!”

Oh, and pets too:

A quick search for the hashtag shows plenty of examples from people who have tried their hand at the challenge:

Even Michaels employees are getting in on the action:

Hobby Lobby, on the other hand, isn’t embracing photographers and this photo challenge in the same way. While the store says that casual photos for the challenge may be okay, the company’s photo policy does not allow for professional photographers bringing models for the purpose of a photo shoot.

“We welcome creative customers and welcome them to take photos in the stores for their personal use,” a Hobby Lobby spokesperson tells PetaPixel. “Company policy does not allow professional or commercial photography in stores. Customers may not move merchandise, rearranged or alter the condition of merchandise. We ask that customers not disrupt other customers or block aisles. The store manager has final discretion on all requests and has the right to ask photographers to discontinue if needed.

“If you are bringing individuals to the store for the purpose of taking photos, I think common sense would say that is outside the bounds of our photo policy.”

So if you’d like to try your own hand at this unusual photo fad, it seems that Michaels is now the best place to do it.