School Picture Problems

Too cute to toss? School picture companies are playing a wicked game.

Too cute to toss? School picture companies are playing a wicked game.

What the %$^& is up with school pictures these days? I sit typing this after the frustrating and emotional process of selecting and paying for school portraits for not the first, but the second time this year. That’s right, SECOND, because apparently my kids’ school thinks we need fall AND spring pictures. I know pre schoolers can change a lot in six months, but really? Do I need to do this process twice when I have an Iphone?

When I was a kid school pictures were once a year. They handed out little plastic combs and then clicked a picture. Weeks later we would get a tiny proof to take home (and keep) and our parents could then select IF and what packages they wanted. If the shot was that awkward and crappy they could do a retake or just keep the proof and forget it ever happened. But these days? These days the modern school photography business has become a game of emotional and environmental warfare.

Now there are two types of cruel games that the photogs are playing with parents. The first…which I would actually prefer…is the “pick your package and pay first.” This guarantees you get the sheets you want without wasting paper, BUT, doesn’t guarantee you a good picture. You are stuck with that order no matter how the picture comes out. You can pray for a kid on a paperback book cover, but most likely end up with shots that are worthy of being poked fun at on  Ellen. 

The second malicious tactic, and unfortunately the one used at my children’s suburban pre-school, is one that messes with our minds, our wallets, and our filing systems. Remember that tiny proof? Umm, we don’t get that here. No, what we get is the whole enchilada. 10 sheets of our adorable angels smiling at us in various sizes. When you’ve got two kids in the school, as I do, you end up with 30; ten of each child PLUS 10 more of the little darlings together…in a rare moment…actually getting along. Now I am faced with the process of paying for 30 pages that will mostly gather dust in my filing box after I’ve exhausted the list of friends and relatives to force the photos on or, and this is the hard part, send back the unkept ones where they will end up in a sad heap. A pile of rejected effigies there because the photo company wanted to trick us into buying more than we need because they know we love our children and are easy prey. F*ckers.

My spring pictures, despite less enthusisatic smiles than the fall ones, were still adorable none the less. As I sit here and type this an 8X10 stares up at me begging for me to keep. But, since I still have three stacks of 8X10s and wallets from the past 3 go rounds of school picture days, I sadly have to let this one, and it’s other unusable brothers, go. I’m sorry, but at the end of the day you are just wasted paper, as cute as you are. My life, and my walls, however, have no more room for you. It’s the 5x7s for us , the 4×6’s for the grandmas, and the wallets for the rest. Such a shame and waste. Perhaps one day this scam will stop if we stop falling for it. Let us buy the digital rights and print what we need, or just go back to a proof with a horrid print across the face that cannot be photoshopped out. I’ll be sending the rejects in with my husband…it takes away some of the guilt.



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