Hot take: How much longer are we going to continue the charade that in 2018 individual school pictures are remotely necessary? Nearly every parent reading this has a phone in their pocket that has not one, but TWO cameras on it. One of those cameras is likely in the 10-12 megapixel range, which, much like how the first space shuttle launched with the technology of a modern toaster, puts the camera in your jeans at about a 10x level of performance compared to whatever snapped your third grade picture.

Not to mention that while your average lens jockey at school has to put kids in front of lame, static blue or green or pink backgrounds, your camera phone has access to unlimited effects, filters, edits, coloring, saturation, contrast and a dozen other tools to make the photo of your kid awesome.

Also, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying this, but posed photos of little kids are particularly awful. The 50 best shots I have of my son and daughter are all from when I’ve captured them in a totally organic moment in a natural setting. I don’t know about your kids, but put mine on a stool and force them to smile and the range of expressions on their faces goes from extreme disinterest to confusion to some kind of mixture of suffering and bowel problems. You can almost see their thought bubble saying, “Who is this stranger, why am I wearing a shirt with buttons, why do they keep asking me to smile and when, in the name of all that is good, can I watch PJ Masks again and ditch this flash-happy lunatic.”

Then there’s the cost. Why, exactly, are we being asked to pay $15 or $20 for even the bare minimum package of photos? Are these school photography companies not aware of Snapfish? Or CVS photos? Or Walgreens or Walmart? You can get any photo on your phone printed at essentially any size for under a dollar. Where do they get off charging 40,000% more? I’m not sure on the math there, but you get my point. It’s not like they’re the only photo game in town… In fact, there are so many photo games in town that we don’t even have to go to town to pick up our pics. We can have them delivered right to our door.

And finally, spare me the final plea for the 8 wallet-sized photos of my kids. Do people still carry photos in their wallets? Are the 586 pictures plus 87 videos of my kids smiling on my parents’ phones not enough? They need a wallet-sized photo too? No. They don’t.

“But what about yearbooks?!?!?!”  – Parents, e-mail a headshot of your kid that you like from your phone to whoever is assembling the yearbook. Done.

“But what about class photos?!?!?” – Teachers, gather your class, turn your phone sideways, take a few shots, run them through a filter, choose the best one to use for your class photo. Done. Oh, you want to be in the picture? Fine. Do the above for a friend’s classroom and then have them return the favor. Good?

Anything else???

Stand with me, Dads.


PS – I took the main photo of this story on the morning of picture day and it is roughly 400x better than the useless array of uninspired studio shots we were forced to select from the school photographer.

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Jon Finkel’s books have been endorsed by everyone from Oscar-winner Spike Lee and NFL MVP Kurt Warner, to Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and founder Brett McKay. He has published with legends who have won a combined 14 Super Bowl titles, 25 NBA Championships, 4 NBA Slam Dunk contests and two Heisman Trophies. As a feature writer, he has written for GQ, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The New York Times and many more. He is the Publisher at Beckett Media and co-host of the Life of Dad Sports Show.