School picture day: who remembers? When arriving in the lunchroom, there’d be big lights and a backdrop, and masses of students to be photographed by one photographer with one assistant. Hundreds of students photographed in one single day. Not even a day, a matter of hours. Even though there was that one assistant with bad breath and a juicy jar full of black combs, and even though she always made a fuss over my hair, my pictures were always horrible. I made funny faces, wasn’t looking the right way, or my hair had its own agenda – and I always felt nervous and anxious with my peers watching… Say cheese is right! Cheesy pictures! I hated school picture day.
My children and their school photos suffered the same fate – and with three children, purchasing separate school picture packages got to be a little more than I could afford, especially for pictures I didn’t find endearing. I wanted to commemorate the growth of my children, but I wasn’t happy with the school picture system.
As a photographer and business owner, I’m now aware that I have not been alone in the dissatisfaction of school picture experiences. Many of our clients come to us after school picture day to “retake” images that were originally taken by a contracted mass-production photographer – and their reasons are the same – glasses covered up eyes, skin tone looked off, facial expressions were goofy. To be fair to the high-volume photographers, it’s difficult to photograph that many people in one day. It becomes impossible to provide personal attention to detail, and to provoke a natural smile, when hundreds of students are buzzing about waiting for their turn in front of the camera.
Here are a few things you can do to insure a better picture day experience:
1. Make sure hair is cut and combed the way you like it prior to picture day. There’s nothing worse than an image where everything, including the smile are perfect, but mom says, “Oh, I wish we’d have gotten your hair cut! They’d be great if it weren’t for your hair!” You know picture day is coming. Go ahead and arrange that hair cut.
2. Teens and pre-teens should consider facial treatments and food choices that support a healthy complexion at least a week before picture day. Retouching is possible, but can be expensive. Be pro-active and get a jump-start on clear skin for picture day. Getting enough sleep is also an important part of preparing your face for pictures! Glowing skin and well-rested eyes add refreshing energy to your images.
3. Wear solid colors, preferably that match or compliment your eyes. Loud patterns can be distracting in an image and can clash with the background. Since most school images are head and shoulder shots with eyes as the focal point, choose a solid color shirt that brings out your eyes, and a color you feel confident in. Avoid logos and print on clothing as well as patterns.
4. In the case of wardrobe on picture day, less is not more! Three-quarter-length to full-length sleeves are more attractive in pictures than spaghetti straps, halter tops, or short sleeves. Shoulder and arm skin can be distracting in an image and can draw attention to weight issues and/or skin imperfections.
5. Consider custom. School pictures taken in a cafeteria in five minutes or less are not your only option for commemorating school years. There are many photographers in every town to fit nearly every photographic need, style, and price-point.
Custom photography is an affordable option for annual school photos, and can be combined with a family portrait session at Mitchell Photography Studio at no additional cost. With our studio starter package, Mitchell Photography offers a full session, indoors or outdoors, with individual break-downs of each member of the family, as well as various groupings such as sisters, brothers, all siblings together, and then when appropriate, Mom and Dad as a couple, as well as the entire family unit. Our basic studio starter pack includes at least ten images to choose from, and we don’t charge extra for wardrobe changes. All this for just $79.99, including a print package of four 8×10 units.
Another option for the annual family photo session is our custom memory book package. Our memory book package can combine indoor and outdoor settings, includes more than 20 images to choose from, all the family break-downs and groupings, wardrobe changes at no additional cost, and a beautiful 10×10 soft-cover, photo-wrapped memory book with 20 of your favorite full page images, all for the low price of just $179.99. Imagine this coffee table memory book in your family’s home to share with friends, family, and guests.
Portrait sessions at Mitchell Photography studio are private and completely custom. We help you plan your background selections, wardrobe options, posing style, and we take into consideration the type of products you and your student will adore. We feature high-quality, fairly priced prints, mounted portraits, gallery canvas wraps, prints on metal, magazine cover styles, sports cards, and a plethora of other trinkets and treasures to showcase your images.
You don’t have to suffer the consequences of a contracted mass-production photographer for your child’s school pictures, and you don’t need to write separate checks to purchase separate packages for each of your children. Contrary to popular belief, you do have options. And, why not take advantage of the opportunity to preserve your family’s growth as well as the growth of your child(ren)?
Make the most of your child’s school memories by making the most of your moments with Mitchell Photography. Contact us today to set up your free, no obligation design consultation.
And, of course, welcome back to school!
Wendi Mitchell is a writer, photographer, and small business owner in Bowling Green, Kentucky.