Should School Photos Get An Overhaul?

Should School Photos Be Updated?
25 April 2016

Ah, the classic school photo. Where would we be without it?

Love it or loathe it - and my lads have brought home some absolute crackers in their time - it's as much a part of school tradition as dodgy school dinners and itchy uniforms.

But now one mum is on a mission to change it.

The Manchester Evening News reports:

A photographer mum is trying to persuade schools to change the way they take official photos of their pupils. Former travel agent Aurelie Kennedy would like to see an end to the traditional snaps we all get of our children sitting or standing in front of a plain white background, in favour of something more original. The 38-year-old used some photos she took of children at nursery and primary school in Sydney, where her family lived until last year, to persuade her children's new school in Marple, Stockport, to follow suit.

I can't quite decide how I feel about this. On the one hand I can totally see the appeal of doing something to update school photos. I fork out for our school's photos every year because how could you not - they're a timeless snapshot of childhood that I know I'll cherish all the more once my lot grow up.

But most years I also find myself thinking that the snaps taken by friends and family members are more accurate reflections of who my kids are than our school photos. Something about those awkward, unnatural poses and the 'Silly Sausages' grins makes me not exactly love the school photos as much as I do our own candid snaps of the kids.

Nonetheless, I can't help thinking I'd sort of miss the laughable awfulness of the classic school photos if we did away with them completely.

In the end, a look at Kennedy's pics persuaded me of the appeal of ditching the old way of doing school photos. The images are still timeless snapshots of kids during their school days, but there's an energy to the pics that comes, I suspect, from capturing kids having fun at school instead of replicating old-fashioned poses that they never actually strike in real life.

But we'd love to hear your views on this. Would you like to see old-fashioned school photos done away with in favour of something more modern when it comes to class pics? Or would you miss the classic school photos with those gappy grins and funny poses? Leave us a comment or come and join the debate over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parents


  • Robyn C.

    They are well due an upgrade!

  • Zara E.


  • Rachael M.

    I think they can be made more interesting. They are boring. Same pose every year. I have taken better pictures myself.

  • Jacqueline W.

    Totally need a makeover.

  • Louise L.

    Makeover needed most definitely!

  • Lisa K.

    Wouldn't know I dont have them :) I take my kids too max spielman not only are the photos better they are cheaper to buy and I can make sure they are clean and tidy before photo

  • Vicki T.

    Ours certainly need this style our last ones were terrible

  • Emma M.

    Totally need a make over!

  • Kelly H.

    yes. action shots of them actually enjoying learning or being creative would definitely be better

  • Leza W.

    Interesting! , !

  • Emma D.

    Tehe I quite like the traditional ones..... My step son had some recently where they had hands on hips, hips strutting, linking arms, arms over shoulder- looked like a shoddy granny robbing gang :joy:

  • Jacqueline M.

    Cant see the point in them , only bought nursery and reception as they were their 'first' pics havent bothered since . Maybe do last yr of infants,last yr of juniors and last yr of seniors but not every yr !!

  • Leanne M.

    On the day my children had their school photos taken, I made sure they all looked presentable. Hair done neatly, uniforms ironed to a crisp and bows bought for my girls hairs.... only for the photographer to chop their heads off! So I am taking them to Max Spielman to have them done. £5.99 for a small photo package. Cheaper and I get to pick the photos :grinning:

    • Donna W.

      We do the same every year xx

    • Heather T.

      You can pay £10 for a DVD with all of the photos on too. We did that with the £5.99 package

  • Melanie T.

    I like the traditional ones because you can see the changes much clearer

  • Danielle G.

    Yes I think they should, I've not bought any up to now as I find them overpriced and of poor quality and pretty dated x

  • Lisa P.

    Prices are extortion especially if u have a couple of kids and they do them all separate £16 for them to email 1 photo to u so u can get it printed yourself ... Ridiculous and they don't even take the time to make sure they r looking its a quick snap £16 please ... Next.... Snap ... £16 please ....

    • FineArt

      Just for clarification, the school takes a minimum of 40% commission on every photo package bought by a parent. I'm all for more exciting and personal images that mean more to each family, the difficulty would be trying to do that in 2 hours for hundreds of pupils. Props and backgrounds introduce more health and safety red tape, insurance costs and the set up time alone would have the faculty tapping their foot whilst clock watching.

      Package prices are relatively high but, like any business, £16 less the VAT, school commission and costs doesn't really leave a lot of profit per 'sale'. In the age of 10p 6x4 prints its worth remembering that the cost of the print isn't what you're buying, for the same reason Gucci bags sell for £650 and not the cost of materials. Photography companies also have to 'win' schools by agreeing to things like free name badges for every member of staff, free poster size prints of staff members...etc.

      For transparency, I'm not a school photographer but a friend of mine is. I don't buy school photographs, as a portrait photographer I take my own (as others have said above). I expect every school photographer would like to give you a bespoke and meaningful image of your child, it should be the desire of every photographer. Time, freedom and budget restraints prevent that, unfortunately. 

  • Carly M.

    this is what I wanted to do, someone's beat me to it :rage:

  • Maureen H.

    Yes there horrible

  • Laura S.

    One of the reasons I went into photography was to make it a bit more affordable for people in Cambridgeshire. I try and take more natural photography if and when I can though, although some people still like the traditional poses. I tend to let the kids lead & I follow :joy:

  • ClaireB

    Our school uses a pretty bad photographer. The poses aren't natural and the quality is sub par so I don't buy them, they're ridiculously expensive too! As my husband is a professional photographer I could easily take my kids to his studio and have much better pictures taken. Some of these companies generally need an overhaul. 

  • fivegoldstars

    I think I'm less bothered about the pose, and more bothered about the extortionate prices. The cheapest single snap from our photographer is £12. They usually take three pictures, meaning that the cheapest you can buy all three for is £36. They also won't allow mixing images in their 'packs'. Such prices exclude so many from the school pictures process. In the days of digital photography, there's no excuse for these prices.

  • Sophie B.

    Nice having school photos but they are very expensive and if you have more than one child it costs so much that's why I only buy the cheapest package the schools do

  • Nicola N.

    I think they could be more fun, it's a bit dated! My lg just had hers done , I was sick and my hubby did her hair :speak_no_evil: I still bought it cos she looks so happy in it but it's soooooo dear!

  • Karen A.

    School photos never captured the spirit of my kids, they always looked stiff and awkward, whereas a photographer came into my daughters playgroup and took candid shots of her running, laughing with friends and playing and they were the most gorgeous photos. School photos are always more of a conveyor belt process and the results show.

  • Sarah D.

    Too expensive for me tbh... 2 kids in infants and 1 in the juniors. Cheapest pack is like £20 ish. Got a good camera so take my own x

  • Samantha G.

    Seems like having photos done like this would probably be more costly as it would take more time, and how would this be organised in a school of 300+ kids?

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