Thursday, October 23, 2008

School Pictures?

Are school pictures really the way to go or are there less expensive alternatives out there? The answer is a resounding YES! There are many ways to get your children's yearly pictures much less expensively than school pictures and here's why.... School pictures usually start out with packages around $20 and go up from there. Now, with 5 children, as in my case, that's $100 minimum! Then if I want anything more than that, the price just keeps going up. You can end up at $200 before you know it! Not to mention, the pictures turn out looking a bit like mug shots.

Now here are some great alternatives; all of which I have used many times.

Take your own pictures.
As simple as that sounds, it has been the best option for me, over and over again. I started out with a 35mm camera and two rolls of film. I have since moved into using a digital camera. Both options have returned beautiful pictures. I will take my kids up into the mountains in the fall and take their pictures in the beautiful fall leaves. We will take a couple different shirts and a couple props from what ever was their activity of choice that year i.e. footballs, dance clothes and shoes, ice skates or cowboy hats and boots. It made the pictures very personal to each child. We pack a picnic lunch and make a fun day of it. By the time I am through, I have spent less than $50 for film, processing, enlargements, gas and lunch.

The other option that I use often, especially for Football or Dance pictures are the discount retail stores like Wal-Mart and Target. I tend to prefer Target over Wal-Mart because I get to chose a package from a variety of poses. Wal-Mart makes you take the package from the first pose only and then the rest are very expensive. The other great thing about Target that I have not seen Wal-Mart offer is you can choose either the very inexpensive package, or you can choose to purchase by the sheet at a very low initial price. However, if you end up without enough pictures then any reprints are very expensive. On the other hand, Target has just the basic backgrounds... White, Black and Brown where as Wal-Mart's backgrounds are constantly changing and are usually very fun and bright. Either option is great for someone that is nervous about taking pictures themselves. You can usually get packages for around $7 per child.

Either of the above options are more time consuming than just doing your daughter's hair a little nicer and sending her off to school in the morning, but I can almost guarantee that you will get much better pictures and you will save LOTS of money!

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