School photos gone wrong: how to avoid awkward memories

All you have to do is search ‘bad school photos’ to get a flood of articles, sites, posts and memes that recall some of the worst school photos ever taken. If it wasn’t for obligatory school photos, and their ability to stand the test of time above and beyond your everyday snaps, some of the world’s worst hairstyles would have never made it to the internet. There are whole threads dedicated to embarrassing celebrity high school photos and you have to admit, these images have a powerful ability to transport us back in time. While we can’t do anything to curb some of the crazier hair trends, there are ways to avoid ending up with school photos that become an endless source of amusement.

Smile for the camera

There is an art to getting students to sit still and pay attention for any amount of time. There also needs to be a relative level of trust between the student and the photographer. If the photographer you hire isn’t adept at working with a range of children on a regular basis, your school could end up with some awkward photos. Given there is only one chance every year to get a student’s photo right, and that the photographer has mere minutes to capture it, absolute professionalism is paramount. Managing to get a subject to look at the camera is just part of the equation. Experienced school photographers ensure that all elements are in place to produce a timeless memory. Teasing out a smile, correcting the tilt of the head, angling the pose and capturing a nice expression are all effective ingredients in producing frame-worthy photos.

Hairy situations

When circulating pre-photo day instructions to parents, go hard on the importance of a fresh haircut, or at least a hair brush. While a student might relish their messy and ‘cool’ unruly hair, unkempt hair can make for scruffy memories. That’s not to say all students should have conservative hairstyles. It is a good thing that students are allowed to individually express themselves. Bright pink hair? Wonderful. But, it will make for a better photo if it has been brushed out of the face first. The main reason photographers like hair to be somewhat controlled is simply so the subject’s features are clear and well-captured. We’ve come across some seriously unforgettable hairstyles over the years. Parents today can at least be thankful that the 1980s are well behind us.

Big smile

Teeth can be a sensitive issue for some students and that’s totally fine. We find that some students, especially self-conscious young teens, sometimes don’t want to do a big smile because they have braces. No matter what, we only encourage children to smile in such a way that they remain comfortable. There are some students who embrace their dental work with big, wide smiles and others who would prefer to keep their mouths closed. Anyway, perfect pearly white smiles can be overrated. With the little ones, they are usually pretty happy to show off any teeth they’ve recently sent off to the tooth fairy. An image of a beaming, gap-toothed child becomes a milestone timestamp and all the more special.


Contingency cameras

What’s the only thing worse than awkward high school photos? No school photos. We’ve had some schools come to us with horror stories of absent photographers, mixed-up dates and equipment that fails to work on the scheduled day. The coordination that goes into a school photo day is considerable, so trying to rearrange or reschedule hundreds or thousands of students at a moment’s notice is out of the question. Our photographers come fully equipped with advanced technology and backup devices should any of the photography, lighting or staging equipment fail. We also have a range of photographers on staff in case there is a problem with the original photographer. That way, we promise to be there to capture the students with all of their cool haircuts, gappy smiles and happy faces.

Why choose Arthur Reed Photos

Arthur Reed Photos is Victoria’s premier school photography business and we like to create lasting (non-awkward) memories for schools and families. We offer an easy online ordering system for parents and schools. If you’d like to know more about our processes, please get in touch by calling 1800 032 028 or contact us online.