How I learned to hate school pictures

August 31, 2009

For most parents, when you mention children and photography, the first thing that springs to mind is “Picture Day” a.k.a. the dreaded school picture photo  session. I am convinced this is a Machiavellian plot by cardiologists to give parents a heart attack due to elevated stress levels.

Dress you lovely child in their finery, send them to school with nice hair and pray they make it through recess without getting dirty or disheveled because without fail, your child is in the afternoon session.

If you survive the day, then you anxiously wait for the proofs to arrive some time later. If you are lucky, you get a decent photograph. However, we invariably tend to be disappointed with the pictures we get.  Now, I don’t blame the photographers one bit.  Simply consider the working conditions: 1 day – 600 kids. They only have 2 or 3 minutes per child! There are only so many shots you can take in that amount of time. I imagine you settle for “good enough”.  I simply couldn’t do it!

As bad as things used to be, you could always decide not to order anything. However, I have encountered a new practice which just stuck in my craw! Instead of sending various proofs, studios are actually sending their most popular “package”: 8 x 10, 5 x 7, wallets, etc…  You are supposed to keep what you want and send your payment along with the unused photographs back to the TEACHER within a week or two.

This is simply a tactic I despise. It now puts an extra burden on teachers to collect money and pictures. It’s not like they don’t have more important things to do!

Thsee tactics are insidious. They count on the parents not having time to go through the photographs. If you are a busy parent, it is much easier to simply write a $40 check for the package and be done with it! That’s easy to do. Going through the form and deciding what to keep and what to send back takes time. With a two week deadline, I don’t have time to do that!

Just give me the proofs and when I’m ready, I’ll order those prints.  And if I forget…at least I won’t get a bill in the mail!