Thursday, May 17, 2012

Say "Cheese!" to bad hair and Coca Cola sweaters

It's picture time again!

Yay! Pictures!  All parents of school aged children know it as that magical time where strangers come to photograph your kids, then try to extort you to buy their wares.

My pre-schooler's "standard package" was in the $70.00 range. Thanks, but no thanks. I love my kid, but I'd rather use that money for our electricity bill. Not to mention they're often forced into awkward, stiff poses and have fake, plastered smiles on their faces.

Alas, if only that were the worst of it.

My six-year old just brought home his "spring" photo package. For those who grew up in a less commercial time and don't have kids in school yet, photographers come to school twice a year now. So, we've already had photos documenting first grade, but this is an additional "opportunity".

The child photography business has come a long way since the 1980s, people. There are some interesting benefits-- like having photos printed onto a mug, key fob, or (?really?) dog tags. Finally! Someone has responded to the requests from the photo-on-dog-tag niche market. Yes!

Here's the kicker: the photography studio offers "retouching".


On a child's photograph.

According to the company, "retouching will reduce the appearance of acne and soften facial lines."

Which is great, because just between you and me, we've been worried that the six year old is looking a little ... well, haggard. There, I said it.

Though he's been taking regular spa treatments and using products to diminish the appearance of fine lines, it's not enough. Sometimes I wonder if all the treatments and products are really a scam. Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Back to the issue! And it will only get worse, you know. By the time he's in high school-- he could look old, like eighteen, or nineteen-- you know, really OLD!

Why should supermodels be the only ones getting airbrushed? When your six year old can experience the delusion and self-judgement that comes along with retouching their photo, too!

Everyone (even perennially cute people like Reese Witherspoon! I'm certain! She must!) has a photo they don't like. Everyone can look back at a school photo and cringe.

How else will we look back and remember what we survived?

Stand with me in solidarity, and tell the corporate-photo-man, "You may take away my acne and fine lines, but you will never destroy my bad hair and Coca Cola fashion!"


  1. LOL Yeah. I'm about to shell out some big $$ for my preschooler's "graduation" photos. And last week they had spring photos. And this week they had class photos. Really, it's ridiculous. I'm only buying *one* overly priced package, people. ;)

    And I can't believe they're retouching photos of kids so young. Sheesh.

  2. Ha! I would love to have all my old photos retouched. Not that I would do that now or anything.

  3. Retouching??? No way they could ever improve that elementary school pic of me rockin' the messy side ponytail. Never!

  4. :) Six year old children have the right to be airbrushed, same as everyone else. Ha! Ridiculous.

    Love that photo, BTW.


  5. That's awesome. And the hair isn't that bad. I've had so much worse!!! I've worked for a photographer in the past who has lost jobs because parents asked him to "retouch" their kids' photos and he was like, "no way!"


  6. I don't have kids, so forgive me if this sounds silly, but 1) isn't there a stereotype somewhere about all parents thinking their children are the cutest/smartest/best little people ever and 2) as parents isn't part of the job to minimise the whole crippled self-esteem thing? Ack.

  7. Photo retouching for a high school or university graduation I can maybe see. More than that is ridiculous. For a number of years now we have been bypassing the school photography packages and going to Wal-Mart. They do a nice job for a lot less money...

  8. My mouth is hanging open. I simply cannot believe it. Retouching? Photo packages twice a year?

    BTW, I think your hair looks cute.

  9. Retouching?? *picks jaw from ground*

    I know it's been a while since I've been here - and I'm sooo glad that I found the time to pop in now! That photo is priceless. Too cute! :D

  10. i *really* loved this post :)

    (bookmarked it a few days ago and finally made it back to tell you so ;))

  11. Holly- I know! So many photo ops!

    Angela- too funny!

    Jennifer- YES! to side ponytails-- they NEVER go out of style.

    Thanks EJ- I loved that Coca Cola sweater more than you can imagine!

    Christa- My hair has also been worse, believe me. Can you believe parents! ARGH! The message that must send to a kid. Shameful!

    Sophia- I think some parents do a weird thing where they defend the child to others, but demean the child in person. Ug,

    Nice, Susan- that sounds much better. I like the photos we take with our camera so much better than studio shots, anyway.

    Connie- you're so sweet. I'm not sure what I could have done to make it uniformly curly AND helmet-shaped. I am sure there was a lot of aerosol spray involved.

    Samantha- so nice to "see" you! I hope you've been busy working on another amazing book!!!! :0)

    Yay Nomes! Always great to see you-- hope your move is coming along well. :0)

  12. Wow, you are totally kidding? No, you're not. Siiiigh. I can't believe retouching is necessary--or the outrageous prices of "professional" photographs in general. Ugh!

  13. Wow! As someone about to enter the world of parenthood, can I just more thing I didn't think about lol.

    I mean, I can see having retouching available for high school kids' graduation photos if they have really awful acne or something...but a six-year-old? What the what?!?

  14. Carol-- so, so true. I wish I was kidding. :0)

    Rowenna-- luckily, those types of nutty experiences in parenthood are rare (at least that's what I've found). :0)


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