The truth about primary school photos

School photographs
Hoping for a decent school photo of your child this year? You'll be lucky...

In your eyes, your child is the most beautiful creature ever to have graced the planet – so why is it that their annual school photo always makes them look like a gargoyle?

Love them or hate them, it’s always entertaining to see the outcome of your child’s school photo session, but the process of getting that picture taken doesn’t always run smoothly. How many of these do you recognise?

1. The night before school photo day, there’s a laundry malfunction involving a stray purple sock. The result? Every single one of your child’s school shirts is turned a delicate shade of lilac, and you spend the rest of the evening visiting all the 24-hour supermarkets in a 10-mile radius trying to find a new pack of white polos in the right size.

2. You spend hours on Pinterest and You Tube working out how to do the perfect inverted fishtail braids (complete with ribbons in regulation school colours, of course) only for it to start drizzling on the way to school, transforming your child’s ‘just stepped out of the salon’ hair into a bundle of frizz.

3. The more children you have, the less likely it is that you’ll get a sibling photo where all of them look vaguely human.

4. Despite all of your polite requests (okay, barked warnings) that your child brushes their teeth before putting their uniform on, you’ll still get to the playground and discover an unmistakeable toothpaste trail right down the front of their school jumper.

5. There’s always one child who thinks it’s funny to pull a face for the class photo. And it is – until it’s your own…

6. Your child will decide it’s a great idea to play a brutal pre-registration game of rugby on the waterlogged playing field just before being called in for their photo. Can the studio Photoshop mud out?

7. Even though you know they’re expensive, the price of school photos makes you fall of your chair in shock every year. £15 for one little print? They must be kidding.

8. There’s no such thing as a school photographer who can get a natural smile out of your offspring. If there was a junior class in the National Gurning Championships, your child would have it in the bag.

9. Taking your pre-school child into school so you can get a photo of them with their big sibling is never going to end well. After an earlier-than-usual start, a mad rush to get to school and 25 minutes in a queue waiting for your turn in front of the camera, they’ll be in the midst of a meltdown that no amount of Pom Bears can cure.

10. That wobbly tooth that’s been hanging on by a thread for weeks will always choose school photo day to finally fall out. A gap-toothed snap is a rite of passage.

11. It appears to be impossible to buy a photo bundle that actually contains all the sizes you want. Why can’t you have two 8x6 prints, not just one? And what on earth are you supposed to do with all those tiny passport photos, anyway?

12. For all that you moan about school photos, you secretly love the fact that you get the Christmas presents for all the grandparents, aunts and uncles sorted in one fell swoop.

13. No matter how long you spend trying to write the names of your child’s school friends on the back of the class photo for posterity, there’s always one you don’t recognise.

14. There’s no easy way to resolve the dilemma when Child Number One’s school photo is a masterpiece, while Child Number Two’s looks like a police mug shot. Do you buy both? Neither? Will your second-born bear a lifelong grudge if you buy their sibling’s photo and not theirs?

15. Despite your best intentions to actually get round to framing and hanging this year’s school portraits, come photo day next year, they’ll still be shoved on the bookshelf in their cellophane – along with the prints from the previous four years.