Taking school photos is big business. In Australia purchasing individual, and class photos, is still an expected part of school life for most students. This surprises me when we these students are probably the most photographed generation ever.
After several decades using large school photography companies this year we engaged a small boutique firm. A major reason was the level of care taken creating customised school specific back drops and the patience, directing and skill of taking multiple photos of individual students till the photographer was happy. This contrasted with the previous production line process of speeding through the individual portraits.
The proposed increased use of photoshop was however an important consideration. The taking of multiple photos of class groups allows the swapping of a student’s face if they blink, are distracted, or are not smiling with another photo where they are. While this will make a better photo, and is still ‘real’, it is no longer the traditional snapshot in time which may cause laughter or embarrassment in years to come. Messy hair, crooked teeth and ties not being quite straight are all things I prefer to keep authentic.
A recent article, Photoshopping school photos is a modern day tragedy
encouraged discussion of this issue. The article quotes a mother Ange Pickett whose son had teeth photoshopped saying “I want my son to be able look back over all his school photos and see how he has changed. It was also important for our son to know we love him as he looks now. Accepting the Photoshopped photo says to him that we think there is something wrong with how he looks”.
School photos are part of the marketing mix of your school. They are a record of school life. I believe it is something we as school marketers should consider and agree upon the level of photoshopping which you will allow.