The Zaring family was in for a shocker when they paid $250 for a set of “professional” family photos, only to receive final prints that left them looking not unlike a set of cartoon characters, HuffPost reports.
The pictures taken by their hired photographer had been digitally altered to the point where each member of the family was virtually unrecognizable.
Dave and Pam Zaring, however, were anything but upset about the situation.
“We laughed until we cried,” Dave Zaring told Inside Edition.
Connor, Dave and Pam’s 8-year-old son, was astonished.
“I was thinking, like, ‘What the heck is this?'” he said.
Seeking answers, the Zarings called the photographer, who explained that the strange look was intentional, pointing to shadows cast on their faces due to a sunny day as the reason behind the botched photos.
In addition, the photographer said she had never been taught how to properly retouch pictures, leading to issues when handling the image’s lighting.
According to the Telegraph, the bizarre final product was delivered to the family following several months of radio silence from the photographer.
“I was fully prepared to be scammed, money gone, and no final product!” the couple wrote. “Trust me, at one point my blood boiled anytime I was asked about the status of our photos!”
Pam and Dave Zaring shared the incident over Facebook, and the story soon became a viral sensation, garnering nearly 400,000 shares.
However, some commenters were quick to decry the story as fake, says the Telegraph.
Some even suggested the entire scenario was some sort of “marketing ploy,” but the family was quick to defend the legitimacy of the photographs.
The New York Post writes that, when asked by a commenter if the family had received their money back, Pam Zaring said that the photographer was happy with the results.
“She stands by her work,” she wrote.
Despite that, local newspaper the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the photographer refused to comment “on the record” about the photos.
According to Inside Edition, the Zarings say they aren’t upset at the photographer: The laughs were well worth the money spent and they will not seek a refund.