School Pictures - Why?

9:12 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
So - last week was photo day at school for Maxx. I really didn't want to get his photo taken this time around because he hasn't been eating well & has grown another 2 or 3 inches recently plus he cut his own hair a while ago and we had to completely shave his head to finish the job. What with being extra skinny and having almost no hair, he looks like a small prisoner in a concentration camp. Not an image I want to send around to family and friends!

So I thought, "Well, I'll just order the smallest package so I can get the class photo for his memory book." When Molly was small, you could order the small package for 10 to 15 bucks and get a 5x7, a couple of wallets and the class photo. And they had lovely backgrounds and were just very pretty photos, as you can see.

Their business practices always bugged me, though. I would order a small package that I could afford and they would send home a larger package including things like stickers, bookmarks, more large prints, etc... with a letter demanding that I either pay for those items or return them to the school. Since the kids open their packages on the bus and give away half the stickers to their friends before parents even get to see them, most families ended up having to pay through the nose for the extra stuff sent by the photo company. If parents sent stuff back to the school instead of paying for it, the school was supposed to shred the extra prints.

Now, the same company is only offering mottled color backgrounds and if you want a bright color instead of a blah grey, you have to pay an extra 5 bucks. If you want the class photo, you have to pay an extra 10. If I had wanted to get a photo of Maxx that didn't look a prison mug shot and would include the class photo sheet, I would have had to pay 30 bucks.

Last year $30 wouldn't have been a big deal, but living on half salary makes it seem like a much larger chunk of change than before. I couldn't stomach the idea of taking that amount of money out of our grocery budget and giving it to a huge national conglomerate school photo scam job for a picture that would surely make my kid look like a starved convict.

As I looked at more of the package prices, I saw that some of the bigger packages were running over a hundred dollars. I am totally mystified! Why would anyone spend that kind of money on school pictures? Even if your kids looked super on photo day - even if they were using beautiful backgrounds? If I had hundreds of dollars to spend, I would go out and find a professional photographer who would take some time to get GREAT photos of my kids. Maybe the dog could even be in the photos. I would be so much happier about spending photography money in a way that supports a real live local artist and helps a local small business.

Last night I stayed a little late at the Arts Council to help out with Fright Night and I met the very photographer I would hire if I had hundreds of dollars to spend - and if Maxx had any of his beautiful hair right now!

Jodi Durow is new to St. Lawrence County and she does child, family and pregnancy photography in black and white. She was asking about promotional opportunities at the Arts Council for photographers and when I mentioned my frustration with school photos, she pulled out her beautiful business cards. I visited her website this morning and I am just so impressed with what I found there. Her photos are warm and personal. Her subjects look happy and comfortable with the camera. Her fees are appropriate for her services and to top it all off, she is a very engaging and peaceful person. In the few minutes that we were able to speak with each other in the crowd and craziness of Fright Night, I felt like I had met a new friend.

(Jodi's Business cards are from Moo and they are amazing! The photograph is saved here in very low resolution so that no one will want to steal this beautiful image but the actual card is beautiful. It is very sturdy, the image is crisp and it feels substantial and professional. That does it - I have to get some Moo cards!)

She is also an infant bereavement photographer. If you are unaware of what an infant bereavement photographer does, you can visit the NILMDTS website. This service is one of the most compassionate and one of the most most difficult things I can imagine doing for another family. As I was looking at the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep website, I realized Jodi's calm manner and engaging approach makes her perfect for this service.

I can't afford Jodi's photos right now but I do appreciate the fact that we have a real live talented portrait artist right nearby. And I'll be saving this business card against the day when I do have some extra money to spend on portraits.


UniqueNurseGranny said...

The school photographe tune to my past.The kids insisted but only once was one any good.The photographer was a real find.From youe description sounds like a later would be a good investment.

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