When you hear the phrase “school pictures” what comes to mind? Maybe it’s the parade of photos your parents proudly displayed (or, maybe still do!) in their home when you were growing up. Perhaps it’s the envelopes of school pictures that you never get around to sending to the aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Or it might be those websites of goofy pictures of us dressed in clothes that have us saying “What were we thinking?”. Whatever it is, I’m sure there is a strong feeling that comes to you when you think about school photos.
My grandma proudly displayed my school photos in her home. This despite the fact that I was in my 40s and no longer was that little girl with the big smile in that dated 1970s photo. My family members frequently mentioned still having them to remind them of when I was little, even though we now talk about decidedly adult matters.
For the past several weeks I’ve seen people posting about their dissatisfaction with their kid’s school photo. Rarely do I see people sharing how much they like the pictures. Which makes me wonder if school pictures are a waste. Not just of money but also time. The kids are likely out of class for half an hour or so. Is it worth it so the school has photos for a yearbook? Can’t the teacher just take pictures of the kids against a wall if the school needs a photos?
With the ubiquity of cellphone cameras, it’s not like the olden days when school pictures may be the only professional (and I use the term loosely) photos a family would have of their kids. On any given day we may have a hand full of pictures of our kids. If we went by first day of school photos alone, there are probably 50 pictures on your phone right now from just that one day.
BabyGirl gets so excited for school picture day. When the paperwork is sent home, she already has the background she wants circled and is talking about what she’s going to wear. And it’s not just her. I hear the buzz among the kids. There’s an excitement for them that I just don’t hear among my friends.
What I do hear about is the cost, especially if there are multiple kids. With just one, I’m not saying much about the $18 I’ll spend on the cheapest package. It already has more photos than I’ll need, but buying exactly what I need a la carte costs more. So, I go the package route.
But I hear so many negative things from my friends, that I wonder if it’s even worth it to have them. I wonder if their attitude would change if they knew the pictures were a fundraiser for the school. Or that many of the major photography companies provide the school with extras like “visitor” stickers, award certificates, sticky photos for student files, or downloads for the school’s software systems, and, of course, those yearbook photos. That if we get rid of school photos then the school loses these and will need to find a budget for replacing these. And while it seems easy to just send in a photo of your child, someone has to manage all of them and get them in the right dimensions.
Is it time we give up school photos? Do grandparents even care about them any more now that we’re plying them with near-daily photos? Maybe it’s because my experience hasn’t been bad that I’m not ready to just walk away from this rite of passage. Or, maybe I just don’t want to have to pay for stupid stuff I don’t need with another fundraiser.
Your thoughts? Should we just forget about school photos? Or are you like me and not yet ready to give up on them?