Why Skipping School Pictures Was One of the Best Decisions I’ve Made

The decision took weeks to make.  How could I deprive my children of an overpriced packet of terrible cookie cutter photos?  If I didn’t purchase school photos, would everyone think we were poor?  Would I be less of a parent?  Years ago, school photos were often the only portraits a family could afford.  Things sure have changed!

A few years ago, our school photos switched from a national company to a small local company, resulting in great photos at even better prices.  Then they switched back.  It became harder and harder to justify $30, $40, and even $50 for an unopened envelope of photos to sit in the filing cabinet.  The large packets conveniently have 18 ‘pass out’ photos, when most classes have 20 students.  An add-on pack is required to have that extra photo to hand out.  And what happens to those, anyways?  Nothing good at my house, after I end up washing them or picking them up out of the floor a hundred times.  I don’t hang up school photos.  Occasionally a distant relative will ask for one, but at an average of $5 per photo, I cringe at giving them away.  So there they sit, sealed in the drawer.

Some of you may be lucky enough to get away with only fall pictures, some may even feel obligated to purchase spring photos.  Those of you with active multiple children may be in the same boat I was after considering the dreaded sports and club photos.  Often, kids are playing on lottery style times in different cities and may not even know those in the team photos. We bought them all. Dozens and dozens of photos of children we didn’t know.

Last fall, I decided to make a change. After a lot of debate and watching my husband cringe as I asked for advice Just. One. More. Time., I decided to put on my big girl panties and say ‘No’.

I was hesitant to skip school photos, but when we got the proofs back, I sure was glad I did.  They were the worst photos I’ve ever had taken of the kids!  My daughter (9) was a little upset that she didn’t get them at first- until she saw them, and my son (14) was thrilled.

During one year, I skipped five sets of basketball photos, three sets of baseball photos, three sets of softball photos, and four sets of school pictures.  At an average cost of $30 each, I saved $450.  In ONE year! With that $450, I bought a nice DSLR and a lens and still had $150 left to put towards additional lenses and supplies.  I am SO glad I did.  Now I can take photos how I want, when I want, and they look so much better!  Sure, there is a little bit of time spent learning how to operate the camera, but I surpassed the quality as soon as I opened the box- without having a clue how to use it.

The first photo I took looked like this: In addition, I can take photos for other teammates, family members, and friends and save them a fortune, too!  It’s not just about the photos, but each photo session has given me additional time to spend with my family and friends.

Sometimes you feel like you have to find a reason to make time for the finer things in life.  Now I have a new hobby, amazing photos, and spend a lot more time with my family.  Oh, and if you average $225 per year per child, in school years alone we are saving $8,775 on file cabinet decor.

If you’ve had your eye on a DSLR or a higher end point and shoot, do yourself a favor and buy it  now.  You’ll save a fortune in the long run!

What do you think?  Would you ever consider opting out of school photos?

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