Posted in Uncategorized

Polly’s Pondering’s -Why are school Photo’s still a thing?

Polly’s pondering’s are very quick posts (that I can type into the WordPress App during my lunch break!) It is just me chatting about something that I have ‘pondered’ today and speedily typed up while munching on my bread-sticks and hummus. Consider it a take on modern miscellany with an older person’s perspective. This week’s pondering? Why are parents still paying out silly money for school photos?

In this day and age, when we all pretty much carry a camera around with us daily in the form of a mobile phone, why are school photos still a thing?


One of the things I love about my kids having either left school (in the case of my girls) and being in senior school (as my boys are) is that I am not being constantly badgered for money. I don’t know if it was my son’s primary school specifically, or if this is something other parents of school age kids can relate to, but not a week went by without requests for money, or cakes, or donations for a sale… But mainly money.
The one thing that particularly annoyed me about primary school? Their attempts to guilt me into buying the school photo’s. There are a number of reasons why I am morally opposed to the concept.

1. I own a camera, my kids own cameras, my mum is an actual photographer – I have plenty of nice pictures of my children and they are not unrealistically posed in front of fake bookcase backdrops in a bright blue sweater. They are wearing their own clothes, and are looking happy rather than forcing smiles.

2. What am I supposed to do with 28 of the same picture in a variety of inconvenient sizes? How many of these do you actually expect me to fob off on my family. My mum has 6 grandchildren, should she be expected to have pictures from every year of their schooling littering her walls! (In fact, she has only 2 photos of family up at all, one of my brother’s wedding and one of my nephew… Totally not bitter about it…)

3. How much!!!!

I am not forking out the best part of £40 for 28 copies of the same picture! I can literally buy my son a cheap smart phone and he can Snapchat filter to his hearts content for that price!

You may notice that I feel particularly, and possibly unnecessarily, strongly about this, and I think I have discovered why, let me tell you a tale…

First off, I have a confession to make – despite having had four kids pass through ‘the system’ the one of the only school photos I have ever put up is one from 2006. Mainly because it is one of the few that has all of the kids in it and back in the day I didn’t know better; I thought all good mums always bought the school photos. Now I know better and I want to reassure people that it is okay to refuse to buy them.
I think my experience during my youngests ‘prom’ really consolidated for me why my whole anti-school photos stance was justified – he was 10 and was leaving primary school; what used to warrent a school disco back in the day, now apparently requires a suit, a vintage bus and a £30 a ticket party at a golf club!

All of the kids met at the local park to wait for aforementioned vintage bus to take them to the party. My mum came with me to drop him off for one very good reason. She is a photographer and was going to get some shots of Ethan and his ‘squad’.

She got some amazing pictures of him with all the people he wanted pictures with, there were even some cool ‘hanging upside down’ casual shots; candid, fun photos that really captured Eth and his friends.

And then a few weeks later, the school sent home the ‘official’ prom photos. I am not going to lie and say they were rubbish, they were lovely pictures. One of them has him wearing his trilby on a jaunty angle and looking very cheeky. They were, however, no better than the ones my old dear had taken, so I opted not to buy them and save myself £30…that was my first mistake.

Do you know how I can remember exactly what those school pictures looked like 2 years later? Because one of them is sat on my mantal piece right now.

Did I cave and buy them? Did I bollocks!

We had been having problems with school for a while, mainly because they seemed to be obsessed with us being ‘poor people’ ; as full time students we were entitled to child tax credits, so got free school dinners. Therefore when we opted out of trips or buying hand made Christmas cards we were contacted to ask if was because we couldn’t afford it. This same scenario played out when I turned down the prom photos.

I used to hate how, in the old days, the photos were sent home, unrequested, so you either had to send a cheque in, or hand the pictures back in. Photographers got wise to people scanning and copying the pictures, so started sending thumbnail sized snaps with watermarks home instead and encouraging people to buy them online.

I think the prom photographer was pretty sure he was going to cash in on the whole ‘last photo at primary school’ vibe and an entire set of pictures was sent home… And promptly returned back to the school.

Then I got the phone calls – there is nothing that makes your stomach turn over more than call from the school in the middle of the day. Have they had an accident? Has someone beaten him up? What’s happened!

Turns out ‘what had happened’ was the school team had decided I must have been mistaken in my decision to not buy the photos, and were phoning to check I was sure… I got about 4 calls in all.

On the last week of term Ethan came home and the photo pack was casually thrown on the sideboard.

“They thought you would want them”

he stated. I was ready to make the offending package bounce back to school, when he added.

“They said we can have them”.

I will never know if they still talk about the tight-assed mum who refused to buy the end of school Photo’s, and I don’t care as now they are both in High school and the only calls I get are ones telling me Ethan will be late because he has detention… But at least they aren’t asking for money.

And there are now only two school pictures on my mantal; one of an adorable baby and his older siblings, taken in 2006 and one of a cool looking 10 year old wearing a trilby on a jaunty angle. It is actually a really good picture.



Mature (technically) graduate, vlogger, blogger, dreaming of travelling, mum of 4, K-pop addict, Japanese culture fan, and wannabe minimalist. And that is what this is all about... I am clearing, decluttering and "minimalising" with the long term aim of travelling and completing the adventures on my #kettlelist (Bucket list seems a bit final!) Come visit me on twitter and instagram @Pollyplaits , or on Youtube for my Polly put the kettle on (#PPTKO) weekly vlog that is DEFINITELY #NOTa50x50

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s