So that’s why I’ve debated, each year since that first one, about whether I should buy these photos just because. In our school district, that package runs $13.00 for two 3x5s, four 2x3s, and the adorable group shot. People ask, “what camera do you use?” I say, “you don’t ask a writer what typewriter he uses.” —. My bank account, however, is not excited. Because really, we're paying not just for stock standard photo of our kids in school uniform against a lame background, we're paying for the memories. It's school photo time, and the kids are excited. Cut the Cost of Expensive School Photos. Have you ever panic-googled a parenting question?Have you ever hidden in the bathroom with your phone to get a few minutes of uninterrupted reading time?Have you ever finished reading an article and thought “I wish this was a little bit longer?”Do you like fun facts about snack crackers? For three years running, I’ve chosen the bare-minimum “entry” package in order to get a class picture and a few fridge photos for tech-averse relatives. Buy the smallest package you can get if you want. Now it's just an expensive addition to the junk drawer. From oil paint to poisonous pufferfish, two hundred dollar melons to racing pigeons. That is clearly wrong, because: Parent-sanctioned hat. After all, I have a ton of pictures of my children, those pictures were expensive, and it's not a "school portrait" if they're not kindergarten through senior year of high school. Write me an e-mail. Schools aren't going to go through the trouble of finding the cheapest photographers because the high costs really only affect students. To find the most expensive schools in the world, we need to venture out of the United States and across the pond. I’m not counting backdrops either, because we’d have curtains, walls, and bookshelves even if I wasn’t photographing them. If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you should sign up for snackdinner news AND you are now one of my best friends. A friend who used to work for a school photography company assures me, though, that no one's making their fortune on this. They’re never great, and they’re always expensive. The company that does all the individual photos is the same company that provides the yearbook software to build the yearbook, and they also auto-fill the yearbook with all the student/group/class photos. Printing costs also aren't cheap. She lives with him, her husband, and their Cheez-It in Beachwood, Ohio. We can buy phones with three camera lenses that make all of us quasi-professional photographers (if perhaps still poor storytellers). They take the pictures first, then send home the package with a price list, expecting you to send your payment back to the school. And I’d probably better count the photography books I’ve read to make me a better portrait photographer. On Breakfast with Jenny Marchant and Dan Cox Share. "They are too expensive and I'm not a fan of portrait type photos," a mum of four tells me. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of couples asking me why wedding photography prices are so expensive. And, while many of us pay the money despite our hesitation and silent annoyance, one friend reminds me that there's actually a really lovely side to school photo time. I pass on the school pictures and don’t feel bad about booking with a natural light photographer. With $4 shipping, those prints come out to $0.79 per photo. So I really don't think I should be complaining about spending $50 for a school photo of my child that will last forever and be a nice memory. I can buy much more beautiful prints (and far more of them) from companies like Social Print Studio, which prints on heavy card stock that doesn’t require framing. My camera is one month older than my child, as is the portrait lens, both of which have been used to take 15,000 or so photos of him (counting just the ones I’ve kept). I have always bought the first and last at primary, and the first secondary as individual photos. Lots of school photo companies seem to insist that an individual or class photo option must be purchased before you're 'allowed' to order a sibling photo. But that hasn’t stopped the growing demand for a second sitting. When it's put that way, I feel a little miserly for questioning the cost. She is not a tall grown-up, but is, according to her son, a very old one. And this collection of cringe-worthy school photos is a case in point. Why are school photos so expensive? Atherton’s home prices have skyrocketed in recent years, far outpacing its tony neighbors, thanks largely to an influx of gargantuan houses. Lifetouch / National School Studios, based in Minnesota, dominates the school photography business. A hat smuggled in a backpack. They make it easy for yearbook design. Some parents tell me they prefer to go with the most basic option, which is just one group photo of the class. With tax, that’s $2.01 per photo. Nifty school bag storage station ideas. You can’t have an effective painting or sculpture or drawing or whatever studio class with a huge number of students. Second, when I buy that class photo, I’m also giving money to the class. So a family with average income would pay less than 13% of its income to send a child to a Catholic school, but over 40% for a nonreligious school. They are ... Read more on Netmums When you can only afford a very cheap photographer, it is a recipe to end up with poor quality photographs. The market is controlled, in large part, by one company. Still, I'm not alone. Pictures of ancestors are rarer the further back you go. Not shy of having the spotlight shone on them, my children are keen to pose. Other times I bought the photo with 3 siblings together if it was a good one. So volunteer! Why do parents cry when their children perform on stage? Luxury goods can carry a high price. A very modest selection of photos – of each of our two children individually and a basic pack of sibling shots – is setting me back $110. Part of their value comes from their connection to us, but much of the value comes from the scarcity of photos in general. But since I know not every dollar of a school picture package goes directly to these photographers, I have to wonder why they're so damn expensive. As a school photographer, I am frequently asked "Why are school photos so expensive?" Chapter 3, "How Did College Tuition Become So Expensive," is reprinted here in its entirety, by permission of the author. My daughter has just had her pre-school photos taken and we've been given the website and password to view the pictures. I could use the $13 spent on school photos to buy 24 4x4 prints, or spend just two more dollars for 24 4x6 prints. Equipment and training have added another $0.05 per photo. teaches parents to be better researchers and writers of their children’s essays. Hair braided while waiting in line. Non-parent-sanctioned braid. A Priceless Tradition Looking at the school pictures of our parents and grandparents, it’s easy to say that these photographs are priceless treasures. This in itself would be $50 for two children; add another $30 for one sibling photo, and we're already at $80. It's all about priorities. There are more than a few negative reviews of Lifetouch, many of them frustrated with their usually-photogenic kids looking so non-photogenic: uneven smiles, frowns, tears, uncombed hair, an untucked shirt, the cafeteria’s poor decision to serve spaghetti for lunch, glasses taken off, glasses hanging on the nose, unsanctioned wardrobe choices that should have been caught by a more scrupulous teacher. I’m not counting my labor here, because if we weren’t playing portrait studio we’d be playing pretend coffee shop or marble race olympics. "I just want one class photo and one individual photo, not a package of 7,000 photos that is only $5 cheaper than the deluxe 20,000 photo pack," she half jokes. Each year when the Lifetouch flyer comes home from school, I do a little portrait math. Luxury cousins to the mushroom, truffles are an indulgent food enjoyed across the world. The third reason why I think some stock images are expensive … I think its ridiculous how expensive art schools are. As one mum of two points out, "In the grand scheme of things I go out for lunch and spend $20-30 and don't even blink an eye. A mum of three says, "I always complain about the cost but I buy them for memory keeping reasons.". Not everyone can take a great photo. A photo taken of a kid whose parent isn’t there to censor. Not shy of having the spotlight shone on them, my children are keen to pose. ", Another mum tells me, "I love them, even if they are crappy shots. And…subscribed! And it's this that gets us. At last count, I have nearly a zillion photos of my kids. The complaints generally aren’t that the pictures are expensive, it’s that they’re expensive and terrible, which brings us to the third reason for buying school photos: there’s value in relinquishing control over the photographic record. Schools also only hire one photography firm, so there's no competition on a school level since each student only has one option. Friends with absolutely beautiful children have been posting their school pictures on Facebook. Of course, I’d have to factor in a few other costs. One mom's solution to … First, there’s the class photo, which I often find tucked next to my son’s pillow in the morning and which I can only get by purchasing single portraits. Sorry, bank account, we have to take this one for the team. It's school photo time, and the kids are excited. Lots of parents are sick of the extra cost, particularly in an era where paying for a formal, traditional style photo seems a bit dated. Our kids rarely get an opportunity to defy us, at least not photographically, because we can instantly delete any result we don’t like. So … Search Australia's largest database for free in your area, The one thing I ask of my children's teachers each year, Get organised! And, of course, once all the shots are printed, they have to be checked, sorted and double-checked so that each family receives the images they ordered. The company that our school uses offers gift certificates to the helpers that usually cover one of the smaller packets. It doesn't make sense that these school are so expensive when they train you for jobs that are relatively low in demand, and generally don't pay very well. My kids love the family photo, and I love getting it.". For more than a dollar less per photo, I can have not just a much cuter photo of my kid printed on much nicer paper, but dozens of much cuter photos of my kid printed on much nicer paper. Our kids don’t look good all the time, but we’ve altered the record to make it look like they do. We select only the best photos and crop and filter them to perfection. It seems that school photography is big business these days. I like the anticipation of waiting to see the photos. If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should sign up for snackdinner news. She explained the sheer amount of work involved, from the day of photo-taking (which could involve photographing anywhere from 200 to 1200 students) to the lengthy editing process. There are, however, a few good reasons to buy portraits. I can also assure he never has a squint eye or a cheese face. There are times when even the most loving parent has to admit that their own precious child looks, well, down right awful. A t-shirt hidden underneath the sanctioned wardrobe. One of the biggest problems facing so many schools these days is a lack of funding. It's nice having those headshots, because I can so directly compare the kids' growth. I can go to Sears and get a similar package for less than $10.00! A school photo is still magical, because once a child leaves the house, their parents lose control over their image. Columbia University, a private school in New York, ranks fourth this school year on CampusGrotto.com's annual list of the most expensive colleges. We are excellent curators of our kids’ images. Because they can be. It might be more ethical for schools to announce this fact to parents, but perhaps doing so would make parents less inclined to buy them—or less inclined to buy into other fundraisers throughout the year. These packages should ideally be priced between $18 and $80, with at least three different packages being offered. I'll tell you why. I work at a school, and the photographers and school always want helpers for that day to shepherd students to and from class, help with hair, and keep things organized. The more forthcoming schools actually tell you that school pictures are a fund-raiser. They have always been very expensive. Some reports suggesting schools receive around 40% of each student’s portrait money. So, on average, if someone makes $50,000 in annual income, the cost of their home would be $900,000. School picture season is upon us, and many parents feel helpless to find inexpensive alternatives to pricey packages offered by school-appointed photo studios. Set a line in your budget for it if you have to. The complaints generally aren’t that the pictures are expensive, it’s that they’re expensive and terrible, which brings us to the third reason for buying school photos: there’s value in relinquishing control over the photographic record. School pictures set me back about $100 if I buy the least expensive package for each kid. I can do all of this without giving any of my money to Lifetouch, or its new parent company, Shutterfly, which, among overcharging for photos of my child is also offering misguided advice about hats, which they claim “should never be included” in a school photo. Just get it! So in total, my home studio pricing is $0.84 per photo. So, without further ado - In Randolph’s own words… Spring is in full bloom here in the UK, so the hectic summer wedding season is about to arrive. We just got our Spring Picture (yes, we have two pictures taken every school year; fall and spring) packages back. One reason is the studio courses. This year the package of five sheets is $45.00! Like others have done I scaned in the original, but I suspect we shouldn't really be doing this! I do. When a school can hardly afford to buy basic supplies for its teachers, it's no surprise they can't afford a well-established photographer. The student loan crisis is a new phenomenon. Us parents love looking back over this record of our children growing through their school years, the kids love looking back at their smaller selves and friends, and grandparents love receiving an updated photo each year. The cheapest package should give a 10% discount on the price of all photos in the pack, were they to be purchased individually. One mum tells me that she wishes the ordering options were more flexible. "I like the excitement of 'photo day' and the fact that it's an annual tradition. Facebook; Twitter; Mail; Download School photographer takes you behind the lens to explain why … Ultimately, I'm going back to the fact that my kids are really excited about the chance to have a record of the first year they're both at school. So my wise words to you are to go ahead and buy those silly, too expensive school photos. What School is the Most Expensive In the World? Another says, "I hate them, but I didn't do it one year and my kids hated it when others got theirs and they didn't ... so now we just get them.". Although they are not generally advertised as such, school pictures are often a fundraiser. Look for your first newsletter on Thursday. Often, the school’s contract with a photo company grants exclusive rights to shoot the yearbook pictures. School holiday activity ideas that won't break the bank, Last minute Christmas gift ideas for kids, 10 chocolate-free advent calendars for kids. I do the school yearbook at my kids' elementary school. But a lot of schools don’t so us parents are ignorant of how much the photographer is giving back. The 18.1 multiple soars above other markets … Additionally, the most expensive … For the cost almost equal to an education at Harvard you can go to school at Parsons, Pratt, and other schools with similar costs. The most important thing to me (and now to my kids) is getting the yearly class photo, which every child gets for free anyway. I don't know if it's the pressure on the kids to look a certain way, the awkward poses the photographers suggest they strike or the factory-like speed the pros employ to knock out all of the sessions, but the results aren't doing these students' actual good looks any justice. 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