The Actual Process of School Pictures

One-two-three-smile!  Four-twenty-five-hike! Seven-eight-nine-cannibalism! Of these three phrases, which would you rather be hearing? Personally, I’d rather be tackled by a 458lb linebacker or stuck in a room with a sociopathic number than be at school pictures.

To start, school pictures take place at school registration, so you’ve already got a bunch of bad things, including long lines, many fines, and – something else rhyming and unpleasant, um, let’s go with – intrusive-species vines.

But, to add to that, there is the whole process behind school pictures that is poorly thought out.

The Forms

In today’s society, nobody is who they say they are, especially if they are on TV or their name is Smith.  Thus, you can’t get your picture taken unless you fill out a form.  Thankfully, though, the only identification needed on the form is filled out by yourself, so you can make up whatever you want.

However, you also need to purchase pictures.  That’s the optimal business model, in my opinion: convincing the school to use your company and then making additional profit.

Regardless, you will have many options.  In your first category, you’ve got the ‘retouching’ options, which can all be done in Photoshop but will nevertheless cost you at least $324.

Then you’ve got your picture packages, which allow you to decide at what size you think your head is and order pictures of that size (sizes range from wallet photo to 17×13); if you are rolling in money, though, you can just buy the ‘every size sampler package’ for $32,299.99.

Finally, you’ve got your background color choices, which, by business regulations, all have to be colors that you’ve either never heard of or are at least 8 letters long.  Average choices include: cerulean, aquamarine, sapphire, amethyst, puce, doctor’s-office-pea-lime-mold, and absence of pigment (gray).

The (Fourth) Line:

If you were here for the school registration, you know that this will be the fourth line you will wait in.

This line is incredibly stressful, due to the mirrors, free combs, and parent volunteers whose only job is to make sure you don’t actually benefit from the mirrors or combs (using a pre-written and approved script of about four lines).

Here’s how it usually goes:

Parent Volunteer: Do you have your form filled out?

You: Yeah.  [Pick up comb and muscle way into mirror].

Parent Volunteer: Hey! Don’t push!

You: Sorry [Somebody else catches you off guard, pushes in front of mirror.  You try to comb your hair in a window.]

Parent Volunteer: Here, let me help [Styles your hair into a 1980’s trend].

You: Um, no thanks [try to fix hair].

Parent Volunteer: Make sure you don’t put that comb back in the box.

You: [Momentarily distracted] Okay. [Go back to combing hair].

Parent Volunteer: Do you have your form filled out? [You don’t answer]. DO YOU? [Grabs and shakes you, messing up hair].

You: [Trying to escape] Yes!  I Do! [Push away, go back to combing].

Parent Volunteer: Hey! Don’t push! [You ignore parent volunteer].  Here, let me help!

You: No! Don’t! I’ll put the comb back in the box! [Dangle comb threateningly over plastic box].

Parent Volunteer: Make sure you don’t put that comb back in the box!

You: I’ll do it! Or you’d better let me comb my hair!

Parent Volunteer: Well, do you have your form filled out?

You: [Give up] No, I never filled out my form! [Break down into tears, grabbing kid next to you for support].  *Sob*.

Parent Volunteer: Hey, don’t push!

You: [Momentary resolve] That’s it.  [Take comb, drop in box, and walk back to front of line].

Parent Volunteer: NOOOOO! [Dives into comb box, impaling self on plastic combs.  Arises with a fistful of combs, and many others are stuck in clothes, hair, etc.  Runs, wild-eyed, out of scene, shouting:] MAKE SURE YOU DON”T PUT THAT COMB BACK IN THE BOX!

As you can see, it’s no wonder that many teenagers find picture day to be stressful.

The Posing

Once you make it to the front of the line, you will be met by photo assistants (three levels above parent volunteers), who will ask you to sit on some dangerously stacked crates.

If you look down, you will see tape on the ground, which is where you should place your feet.  Your feet won’t be in the picture, nor will your legs or lower torso, but it gives the photographer a feeling of power.

To further that illusion of ultimate control, you will be told to turn your chin (“a little more”) until you’re feet are on your left and your chin is on your right.  Here the thinking is that the skin on your face will be stretched so tight that it will be physically impossible not to smile.

If you are lucky, they will take the photo before a parent volunteer shows up to see what’s holding up the line, and who will also offer free combs to the photographer.

The Student ID

When you finish with your photo, you will receive a freshly-printed card with your photo, name, and number on it.  Your card will also have a bar code, telling you the resale value.

You can use this student ID to check out library books (which you will forget to return and consequently rack up enormous fines), buy lunch (which will likely give you a digestive disease scientifically known as “I’m not feeling too w-BLAAARGHGHGHH”), or pick simple locks.  It doesn’t really matter, though, as you will likely lose your student ID before the end of the day.

Picture-Pick-up Day

After seven months, you will receive your picture envelope.  Even though much of the envelope is solid, your embarrassing picture will be visible through a plastic window.

This leads to the spread of the contagious disease known as “You show me yours and I’ll show you mine-Hahahaha! That’s your picture? You look like a Wildebeest!” or YSMYAISYMHTYPYLLAW, for short, as it is known in the medical community.

It is impossible to escape this embarrassment, no matter how hard you try to pretend that the big white envelope sticking out of your backpack is just your lunch, so I’d recommend trying to convince your parents to pay for overnight delivery instead (only $45,620 more and will arrive in 9-37 days).

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