Stop the presses, hold the phone, shut the front door! (No really. Shut it it's cold out.)
We need to have a little chat.
About something that I think is important, at least to you parents out there.
What is it that I am talking about? The DREADED SCHOOL PHOTO!
So why do I think this is important? It's simple. School photos generally suck and you as parents always seem to buy them.
Sure, sometimes they are cute and actually good but some kids just don't do well with them no matter how many retakes you dress them up for the setting is always cold, and the photographer for whatever reason doesn't check the photos to make sure it looked good before the child walks away. By the way... as a photographer I will never understand why they don't. Like, its easy. Hit the play button... look at it... say lets try that again. Easy.
Yes, the images taken at schools have come up a little from the days of a simple backdrop that looked like it stepped out of the 80's to some cool set ups with a fake tree or something to lean on but they still feel super JC Penny's to me.
So why am I even thinking about this. I don't have kids in school... and you're right, I don't but it makes my heart hurt a little every time I meet a parent or talk to a student and I hear about how they don't like the backdrops or classic "School Portraits". Their kids never "Look good" in their photos and they are just generally displeased with the outcome of them for some reason or another but end up buying the prints anyway.
FYI to all you moms and dads out there, Lifetouch has a " Satisfaction Guarantee" so if you don't like your prints please don't buy them!
"Lifetouch offers a satisfaction guarantee. For fall portraits, return your portraits on retake day and we’ll re-photograph your child free of charge. If you’re still not satisfied, return your portraits for a full refund. Some spring portraits include a retake day, but if they don’t, you can return your portraits for a full refund."
Since school photos are inevitable and have to be taken for yearbook reasons it's something we may just have to deal with. However, for the mom out there that want's a good photo, I hear your struggle and I have an idea for you. Let the school do their images but hire someone you trust to actually take decent high quality images of your child that show who they are and how they have grown up from last year OR ask your school to hire a local photographer. You would not only be helping not a small business but chances are your images will look better because they are going to care more. It's on a personal level at that point because you're now working with someones passion and they WANT AND NEED it to look good... Trust me- I know.
So next time you're school says Photo day is next week let it slide off your shoulders and call your favorite local photographer. They would love to hear from you and LOVE to make pretty images for you. ( by the way... You can book me for this any time you want ;) )
While we are on the subject, do you have any school photo disaster stories? I'd love to hear them in the comments below.