In September a friend on Facebook posted this:
Dear School Parents,
Are you interested in an alternative school photo of your kids?
I cringe every time the LifeTouch order form shows up. I have two degrees that prove I know a little bit of photography and I just can’t stand the trap anymore!!
So how about for $10, I photograph your children in a setting with beautiful natural light, retouch, drop a name on them, add a border…or whatever. And then give you the high resolution files to be printed in whatever sizes or amounts you want.
I laughed when I read it and thought she can’t be serious. That was mostly because she is an amazing photographer. One I assume I could not afford.
The day our son had his school picture taken he wore khaki pants and a button down shirt. You know school picture clothes. Thought was put into this.
When we got the prints my first thought was, “Well, I know what a mug shot of him would look like.” And more specifically a child-actor-gone-bad-mug-shot.
In the photo is wearing his alien skull sweatshirt, he is slumped in the chair, he has food on his face and instead of a smile his lips are a tight thin line. (Simple directions like “Take your sweatshirt off”;”Sit up straight, please”; “Big smile!”; and a Handi-wipe seems like Captain Obvious stuff.)
Our kid is a cute. I know all parents say that but he is like model cute. I actually had two super frustrating conversations a couple years ago with local modeling agents. Both agencies told me our State was not ready for a model that had Down syndrome. Seriously, our state isn’t ready for a kid cute with Ds to be associated with selling milk or L. L. Bean clothes?
The company our school uses is Geskus – “The Smile Makers”. Smile Makers maybe the most eff’ing ironic tagline ever.
How hard is it in the digital age of photography to take a decent photograph particularly one by a professional photographer? It isn’t like you still have to develop your film and see the results. And – why the standard re-touching fee? That fee demonstrates either a complete lack of confidence in their photographers or intentional incompetence coupled with greed.
From my friend’s Facebook post I surmised any family is likely to be disappointed by these big photography chain clip joints. But, I also wonder what makes a photographer tell our kid to close his mouth in a never-before-seen-way?
This year instead of the traditional Christmas gift of a school picture for grandparents and alike we will be giving a photograph I took the first day of the school this fall that actually looks like our kid.
If my friend makes the same offer next year I would even sweeten the pot to have someone who knows what they are doing take his photograph.
I’m quitting you Geskus.