I hate them. On just about every level, I really and totally dislike them.
First off, as a teacher of the population that I teach, school pictures are a HUGE hassle. And I mean HUGE! It always involves going to a different part of the school and waiting. My kids do not wait well, especially in a large, open area with lots of bright and flashing lights and noise. And that’s even if the place is wheelchair accessible. Umm…I already keel-hauled those folks on that issue. But feel free glom on.
Getting a good pose comes naturally to many of my students. Some of them are able to always smile and sit perfectly still. Actually, that’s not true at all. Very few manage to do that in this environment. Part of it is my fault for not really preparing them for this ordeal, but we only had a couple days notice. I do have kids that are naturally smile-ee, but they do not hold a pose worth a flip. They move, fidget and turn their heads to look around at everyone and everything. And then I have a few who are VERY unhappy. Hollering, jumping and head-thumping mad. It’s for these that I get paid the big bucks to work my wizardry. I first prep the professional camera people.
“Get ready….you’re going to have to be REAL quick!”
And to their credit, they usually manage to pull off a decent shot, with the help of some candy, gum and calming words. And so it was that we survived this ordeal for a third of my class. Those in wheelchairs will be doing it next month.
As a teacher, it is also a royal pain. It’s not like I could leave my kids hanging out alone while I sit for the picture. So I came back during my lunch/planning time. I should have jumped, screamed and thumped more. Unlike the slick and quick work employed on my students, I was suddenly confronted with someone who wanted to be very particular and artsy. I just wanted a quick shot for the yearbook and get out of there. My photographer had other ideas…
“Look here…turn your head…tilt it to the side….bring your back up straight……shoulders forward,… head tilt….look here…chest up…chin down…head tilt….look here…”
What’s up with the head tilt? Why does looking like a confused dog look attractive? Anyway, I finally got my glamour shot. For years, I was able to recycle my first year’s picture for my I.D. but they quit doing that so now you can see how little hair I have left.
As a parent, I find school pictures to be an enormous pain. Jane doesn’t quite see it that way, I don’t think. Basically, they shot a picture in front of a plain background and sell $7 worth of copies for $65. It’s an enormous racket! The schools gets a cut of this, of course which is why they actually do it twice a year in the younger grades. One of those times, you get to preview the picture before you buy it. The other time, you pay before you can see it. THAT is an unholy racket! Fortunately, the boys take after their mother in the looks department and take good pictures so we don’t have many duds. But I’m against the whole principle of spending ginormous amounts of money on something you can’t see beforehand.
The parents of my students rarely buy the pictures that are taken. First off, it really is a lot of money for families struggling to buy diapers and pull-ups every week. Also, not all of the pictures turn out very good. Sometimes, something mediocre is the best we can do. My students simply have not mastered the head tilt.