Thursday, May 20, 2010


School photos… a rant.

They are not my favorite thing.

The boys’ school has 2 photo sessions every year. One in the fall & one in the spring.

The one in the fall requires payment upfront, before the photo has even been taken.

Who pays for photos that haven’t been taken yet? Still? In this day and age? How does that business model even work anymore?

Frankly given digital technology I expect them to email me my kid’s photo for my approval within minutes of having taken it.

OK, I’ll give them an hour or so to get enough photos for a bulk download and email.

Heck, I’ll give them 2 days to retouch and then email.

And it can be low res and have SAMPLE printed across my kid’s face in watermark fashion to make sure I don’t sneakily print it out myself for nothing.

I would pay for that service. That would be worth the price these companies charge for photos.

There is no reason on God’s earth these days why anyone should find paying for photos sight unseen acceptable.

So I don’t. And I write my my reason why I don’t in large friendly letters across the top of the order form.


Because I think companies benefit from knowing WHY they are losing a sale.

The spring session lets you see the photos before paying for them. They send home 6 sheets of 2 poses in assorted sizes plus one ‘collage’ sheet.


I realize that as a digi scrapper I am biased but GEEZ! It’s 3 photos on one 8x10 page with ‘blended’ edging around them.

Regularly $45!

But if you buy all 6 of the other sheets, it’s only $25. ACK!

The sheets themselves start out at $15 for one, $22 for 2, etc and the whole lot, with collage is $75.


You see what the envelope says?

Priceless? Really? I can get mediocre shots of my kids at home for free.

Granted I don’t have a stunning faux garden backdrop and fake fence like they do.

But still, I have currently several thousand photos of my kids. Many of which are posed and posed better. I have a perfectly good grey fleecy blanket to use as a backdrop should I want that ‘professional portrait look’ and unlike the school photographers I have endless time and only two kids that I can bribe or threaten endlessly so I can take all the shots I need to get a good one.

Don’t you love the look on Mayhem’s face?

And that was the better of the two poses. He looks quite pissed in the other one. And I suppose in it’s own way it is somewhat priceless.

Havoc’s is decent. But I could get an equally decent one from Wal Mart’s photo center and for $22 could have all 6 sheets and several poses.

But not the collage.

Last year I didn’t buy them. I only bought the class photo because that cannot be duplicated and really is priceless in future years. This year the boys were all “Can we get all 6 sheets? How about the collage?”

I love my kids but I’m not paying $150 for mediocre photos. We compromised on 2 sheets each and 8x10 each and one with different sizes on it to give to my parents & brother.

How much do your school photos cost? Are they really worth this amount of money and I am just cheap?

It’s ok, I don’t mind if you say I am cheap. I can be quite cheap about some things.


Joanie said...

Stacey, I love your rants! As a fellow hobbyist photographer, I agree with you! It is a rip off.

SciFi Dad said...

Our school does one a year, but no upfront payment -- that's insane.

We got the class photo (like you, it's pretty much a requirement) and a couple of sheets of smaller sizes (probably because they're her first... I don't know if we'll do the same thing next year given how high the prices are).

crystal said...

Nope your not cheap, I HATE school photos. They do one a year here and I won't even buy the class photo. We get a proof home and I put them into a tiny album for him so if he cares to look he can see who his teacher was. I don't expect them to be good I even struggle to get good photos of Lukas because he is a huge fidget. He just can not sit still ever, doesn't matter what you bribe, threaten, or anything else he still doesn't sit still even for one photo. Hugs Crystal xx

Ruth said...

I suspect that this will be my attitude, once DS starts nursery school in September. The whole thing is a con!!

humel said...

Payment sight unseen? That's a disgrace! We usually buy the cheapest multi-pack of our kids' individual or sibling school photos - ideally the shot with the two together, but if the two individual shots are better we go for those - they're taken in the autumn so they're handy for Christmas gifts for the grandparents, and then we have one from each year to look back on. There's only one particular pack combination that doesn't seem ruinously expensive though. I haven't been buying the class photos each year which I do regret a little; I'll buy the one from Year 6 as that's the last year of primary and the last time the class will be together AS a class, and I wish I'd at least bought the Reception class one so I could see how they'd all grown! (I do have the teeny tiny versions with SAMPLE printed across them at least...)

LizzieMade said...

No, I don't think you are "cheap" and I totally agree with your sentiments about paying for photos before they are even taken! My son's school produce 2 lots of photos a year - one individual and one class photo. This year's class photo was a joke. They had posed them in groups, with props, like sports equipment and stuff. The photo was a long format, with the groups of kids along it, against a white background. I think it was supposed to be modern and arty, but I just thought it looked silly. I'd rather just have the traditional "posed in rows, standing on benches" shots that we always had before! His individual photo was quite nice, although they have gone a bit "artsy-fartsy" again, with more white backgrounds and leaning him on his arm, on a fuzzy bit of fabric... still, it was a decently posed shot, which his grandparents would like, so I bought the basic set of 1 10"x12" and 2 8"x10", with a few small ones to go with it. Useful for Grandparents, Aunties etc. But my favourite photos are always the ones that we or the family take- they look natural.

Your boys look quite cute in their pictures, one grinning and one looking all dreamy... sweet!

Creative Junkie said...

omg, don't even get me started on this. I refuse to buy school pictures anymore. REFUSE. The cheapest package, which is comprised of a class photo and a 5x7 and, I think, 8 wallets of an individual photo, is ... I think, $27? It goes up exponentially from there.

WTF? I prefer to take my own photos. Sometimes I'll take the girls to Target when I have a coupon and I can get *A TON* of photos for maybe about $45.

I love that you write that on the envelope. I'm going to do that next time too.

Mimi said...

I hate school photo's. Now that my youngest is in middle school, they do the pictures on registration day. I go & look at the pictures right when they take them.

I'm stopping by to welcome you to SITS!

Elizabeth said...

As a mother I agree completely. BUT I remember the pain of MY mother refusing to buy MY photos!