"Offensive" class photo

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by 3Sons, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 7, 2012

    Probably just me, but I feel bad for ALL the students in that photo. I wouldn't want to be the kid who was photoshopped out, or the kd with the sticker, or a kid whose face is blurred. I'm sure the school will be more efficient in handling such matters in the future. This WOULD NOT have been a decision left up to the PTO in my building...just based on Respect...not about bias or racism...

    Just a side note...everyone is in class photos in my district. Thse who don't want individual pictures don't have photos taken...I've never thought about how that jives with our parent permission photo policy...

    The OP is from a neighboring town to my district....trust me...this WOULD NOT fly.
     
  2. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 7, 2012

    I would be upset as a parent as well, but again, at the school rather than the photographer. If I had filled out the release form, I would want to know why my sons' face was covered. If had not filled out the release form, I would want to know why I never got one.

    If I did get one and didn't fill it out, then I would have nobody to blame but myself. If I filled it out and sent it back to school, I would be wanting to know what happened to it.

    I probably would want my money back as well (if I had already paid for the picture), but I would be going to the principal about the issue instead of the photographer.
     
  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 7, 2012

    But it's HIS business that will be impacted, HIS reputation that will suffer.
     
  4. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Apr 7, 2012

    I am shocked that parents opt out of class pictures. We have a form at my school that parents can opt to not have their child in other types of pictures, but not class pictures. And if the parent doesn't want their child in a class picture, you remind your own kid on picture day of that. As the teacher, that is not something I am going to remember when we have to go down to take pictures.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 7, 2012

    On the subject of class pictures: as I've mentioned, Peter works part time with a local photography studio (In fact, it's the one that does his school's yearbooks and mine.) He's an amazing photographer. Our walls are LINED with pictures of the kids; we joke about how we need a house with more wall space.

    So picture day at school is no big deal in my house. The only reason I buy a package is so we'll have a picture of their classmates (and so no one thinks that mommy and daddy don't love their kids.) They go to school wearing whatever they want, as long as it's clean and neat.

    When Julia was in 2nd grade, her most favorite outfit in the world, the one she wore to picture day was:
    - a pink and brown tie dye shirt and
    - pink and brown camo skirt.

    Seriously, you could get a cheap drunk just looking at that outfit. But she loved it SOOO much-- and I didn't care about the picture-- so she wore it.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 7, 2012

    Love it.:love:
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 7, 2012

    That is a possibility, of course, but I would still think of the school first and the photographer second if it came to a photo like this. I would assume the school was the one that made the decision to place the smiley on the photo, for whatever reason.

    Now if the picture quality itself were poor, then yeah, I would be putting that on the photograper.

    Maybe it's a difference of perspective based on region or rural vs urban setting. I'm not sure. I can certainly see where this would be a serious concern in an urban setting with lots of competition, but in a rural area, there aren't that many professional photographers around. Most of the ones I've dealt with did a good job and I certainly wouldn't judge the quality of their work based on a single photograph. On the other hand, the studio that did the class pictures during my student teaching did botch several of the photos and they had to be retaken. It wasn't a matter of no release forms, it was just pictures that were poor quality. The principal agreed with the staff that he would be recommending the district choose a new group to the pictures the next year.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    Apr 7, 2012

    Cerek, we don't have an option really. We use a big business that does school portraits for yearbook and parent purchases. Just being honest in that calling those who come out to our school photographers is like calling those who drop the fries at Burger King chefs. Year after year, the kid sits for a split second and a single picture is taken. Most are not good. And, this is great, parents don't even get to see the picture before making the purchase. Money must be sent to school on picture day. There are no proofs.

    So, this whole smiley face incident really does fall back on the school. If it's like my school, the photographer was likely more "photo taker" than "photographer", so he probably doesn't have a reputation to worry about.
     
  9. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 8, 2012

    It's very similar here. We don't have any big-name companies locally, so a big company is usually contracted to do the work. Not sure if that is done at the district level and the same company does the class pictures for ALL the schools, but I would imagine that is the case. All of my own class and annual photos were done the same way as well.

    Looking back on the incident I mentioned above, it might have been the particular photographer that the P and staff complained about rather than the quality of the photos, but I do remember there were a lot of teachers unhappy with the work done and the P was going to take it to the super.

    As for the photos themselves, it's the same with us - parents have to pay for the pictures up-front, sight-unseen. I don't think that's right, but that's the way it is.

    As for an individual photographer, one of my good friends (and a former coworker) became a professional photographer in the area for several years. She took our wedding photos. She also did a lot of team photos for the local schools and recreation leagues. If a photo she took ended up with a smiley on it, I would assume it was the client that either put it there or requested it be done. I would not consider it a reflection of her work.

    Just as we don't have a lot of competition among local photographers, there also a limited number of opportunities for big contracts like that, so I can see why one of them WOULD put a smiley on a photo if the client insisted on it. In our rural market, it would be easier to explain the situation to potential new clients than to risk losing one of the few big-contract jobs available.

    I understand completely that many photographers would NOT give in to the client wishes on an issue like this due to professional pride. I respect that, but also understand other photographers may not be able to afford making such decisions (literally) and I would still assume such a photo was done at the request of the client rather than the LACK of professionalism by the photographer.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 8, 2012

    Oh, in the NY-NJ area, the competition among professional photographers is fierce! On Long Island alone, there are 125 public school districts. Then throw in the private high schools (like mine) tht need a yearbook full of photos. (In my school and Peter's at least, the school photographers take some of the candids. But the professional photographer's studio is responsible for getting all the teams, the homerooms, the activities, shots of at least all the varsity teams in action, and all the major events-- the concerts, the pep rallies, the special assemblies. The pictures go up on the website immediately, and their quality is superb. I know our school photographers by name because Peter works with them. But all my friends know them as well, simply because they're at school a lot.)

    And, no, the people who do my school yearbook are not "photo-takers" any more than the teachers I work with are "babysitters." The studio we work with is the same one that did my wedding. It's a professional studio located about 20 minutes from here. The owner has spent a good 40 years as a professional photographer.

    Now look at all the Little League groups that do pictures, and all those other little incidentals.

    Yes, the number is limited, but it's not small. And if one studio is seen to have done a sub-par job, it doesn't require a whole lot of effort to call around and find another studio. And work of this sort reflects on the studio, not the individual photographer. It's the photographer if the pictures are blurry or the lighting is off. It's the studio if the overall product goes out in an unprofessional manner-- like with a sticker where a face should be. If you're looking for a wedding photographer, or a party photographer, you go with the recommendations of others as you start to interview. I'm not sure a sticker in place of a face would garner those strong recommendations.

    And again, I can't speak to other parts of the country or to the stuidios others work with, and I don't live anywhere near Broward County. (Though, for obvious reasons, I wouldn't mind if I did!!!!) In an economy where many people think that simply grabbing a digital camera makes them a photographer, I think it was a poor choice on the part of ALL parties, but that the studio had an awful lot to lose from that poor choice.
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 8, 2012

    Alice - Would it be a possibility for the school district to use the level of competition to their advantage as well? They might tell the studio "We can't afford the price of a retake. If you aren't able to work with us on a different solution, we may need to look for a new studio for next year's pictures."?

    Since competition is so fierce, would the threat of losing an existing client (with a large number of guaranteed photos) be greater or lesser than the threat of losing potential clients because they put a smiley face on the photo?
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Apr 8, 2012

    The picture is a bit funny, but I don't agree with what they did. It just looks cheap and tacky. They should have accepted the photographer's offer to come and re-take the picture.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Of course competition is an advantage to the consumer. Economics 101.
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    Apr 8, 2012

    Alice, we obviously have different experiences with school photos. I actually just looked at a job opening for photographer with the company we use. And, not surprisingly, you don't need to be a photographer...they will train you. We just view this situation differently, and that's okay. :)
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 8, 2012

    Seriously...it's a school photo problem in one school which ended well...arguments can be made as to who is at fault, whether the photo is offensive, whether school photographers are photo takers or professionals...regardless, I'm not quite understanding the need to fault a member here for sharing her thoughts on the story and her personal school photography experiences...
    Happy Easter.
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    What are you talking about?
     
  17. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 8, 2012

    I was offering that as one explanation of why the studio might sacrifice a bit of professional pride in order to give the client what they asked for.
     

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