I refuse to buy school pictures, but my family makes me feel guilty about it!

Holly - posted on 12/13/2012 ( 326 moms have responded )

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My family always makes me feel bad about not buying school pictures... but my theory is that school pictures are sooooo expensive and they only get one chance to look good (except for make up day, but still you only get one chance there too) and STILL you end up paying $30-$40, per kid ,STILL for the SAME amount of pictures as if you when somewhere like walmart or sears or target of my favorite place to go portrait innovations... you get the package deal and what i spent was $20 for all three (my 2 + my step daughter) to be in a picture with a crazy amount of pictures, plus i got a christmas tree ornament plus a bunch of christmas greeting cards! and they take like 60 poses and you get to pic the best one! to me, school pictures are a waste of money when you can dress them up and bring a hair brush and make sure they don't have peanut butter and jelly sandwich on their face from lunch!

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Donna - posted on 12/13/2012

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I'm glad that you're still having your kids "professionally" photographed- the progression photos spaced a year apart will be wonderful to look back on. Traditionally, that's been the school photo because the background "look" doesn't change- just the child - so the age progression is more noticeable. I mentioned the photographers side of the story because I am a professional photographer, so it's pretty close to me. I understand not wanting to buy something you don't like, but I'm trying to point out that if schools want to continue to have a photographer come to the school for yearbook photos, but more and more parents aren't buying because they're going to WalMart - well, pretty soon, photographers won't be able to afford to come to your school to take free yearbook photos. Often, you're talking about a mom&pop photo studio having to go up against WalMart. Buying even a $25 package of pictures from the school photographer helps your school, helps a local business, and gets you years of school memories. Even though I own a photo studio, I always bought the least expensive package of my daughters' school photos- and believe me it wasn't because they were the most artistic photos! It was my way of paying for the photographers time to provide yearbook photos for the school. In a fair world, the school would actually pay the photographer for their service, but alas, that's not how it works.

TONYA - posted on 12/13/2012

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Buying school pictures is a personal decision, however what many people don't realize is the fact that many schools use school pictures as a fundraiser. The school usually gets a percentage of every package of pictures bought. Personally, I would rather buy pictures of my child than a magazine that I'm not going to have time to look at. You should find out if your school gets a commission from picture day. The difference in the price of packages could be what your school is receiving from their picture company that they are not getting from Wal Mart. Every thing they get from fundraisers is one less thing they are going to ask you to provide for them.

Dove - posted on 12/13/2012

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Don't feel guilty! 3 years ago is the last time I bought school pictures. I figured out that I can take my own picture and get the exact same number of prints from Snapfish for $10 as I could get from the school ordering for $25... It's not 'professional', but if I do it myself I can take as many pics as I want til I get the 'right' one.



I could do 3 kids from the school for $75 or 3 kids for myself for $30... It's a no brainer. ;)

Donna - posted on 12/13/2012

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School photographers are not all alike- some are really great with kids, and some are just clicking to get it over with. However, what you should realize is that the school does not pay the photographer to come out to photograph the school for the yearbook. The photographer travels to the school, sets up equipment, spends a day photographing as quickly as possible so kids aren't out of class too long, then has to tear down the equipment and return to his/her studio. Regardless if there are any orders placed, the photographer has to provide the school with copies of all photos -cropped, identified and sometimes retouched- free of charge. Oftentimes, the school also requires extra freebies, like photo stickers for their files, CD's for the librarian (sized differently than the yearbook photos), etc. All free, for the "exclusive" privilege of being the school photographer, in hopes of making enough in sales to make a living. Of course the packages are going to be more expensive than going to a mall photographer who doesn't have to travel or provide free services to the school. I know many good photographers who won't do school photos because of low sales vs. the expense in time and materials. Makes me wonder how much longer schools will be able to count on having a photographer come out to do all that work without payment. Would you do that kind of work all day with no idea if you'd get paid?

Dove - posted on 12/13/2012

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Well, if 'they' want you to have school pics.... tell them you'd be more than happy to order as many pics as they want to pay for. ;) It's silly. My mom loves any pics I send of the kids... even just emailed ones. She thinks it's smart that I don't waste my money ordering the school ones.

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I love your idea. If they want school pictures tell them to buy on their own. I did that this year with senior pictures with my daughter. We didn't have enough money to supply for everybody so we told the people who wanted a picture bigger then a wallet that they had to buy it. We gave them the company name, order number, password for all the pictures that they took. I had asked to do this with the company and they said this was fine. I wasn't going to pay 30 dollars for an 8*10 for everybody. Keep with your idea and don't let your family push you. Keep standing up for yourself.

Sandra - posted on 01/30/2013

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No need to feel guilty! I agree, I much prefer to take my own photos and have for the past few years. Keep taking your own photos and forget the critics! If they want their "peanut butter and jelly sandwich" photos, let them buy them. ;) Plus, with the technology and other advances we have today, there's no need for expensive photos from another company.

Nicole - posted on 01/24/2013

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I agree. I just take my own pictures every year. The only one I buy from the school is the class picture.

Kerre - posted on 01/20/2013

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With soon to be 4 kids - we don't buy pictures - go to studio and have all kids done together. I will buy yearbooks for them - but that's it.

Bethanny - posted on 01/18/2013

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I went through this for exactly one year. Now, everytime school picture time comes up, I tell my ex, and whoever else, when they are, so when it comes time to order, THEY can order the pictures. I simply can't afford them, and half the time I don't like them anyway. If my ex/family miss the order deadline, so be it, at least I told them in advance, and gave them the information they needed to order their own.

Kay - posted on 01/15/2013

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I think grandparents sometimes forget their place as a grandparent. Release your kids and let them make their own decisions. Don't put guilt trips on them. They are the parents of your grandchildren. If you are so intertwined with your children, that they can't make a decision like this small one on their own, than grow up.

A grandparent can take their grandchildren to Kmart to get pictures themselves.

Skipper - posted on 01/15/2013

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Let them buy them if they want them so bad!!! I think it's a good teachable moment when we demonstrate to our children how to wisely manage our budgets. Our school photo company only lets you buy BEFORE you see the product. Terrible business plan, in my humble opinion. I will never buy something, sight-unseen! Stay with your policy of buying quality portraits the way you like them and share them, and if your 'family' has a different value system, make the school portraits available for them to buy if they want to.

Jacqueline - posted on 01/13/2013

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Take your own pix and it's no big deal!

It's the parent who never has pictures of their kids that is to be questioned. I know a parent who has no pix of her kids in the house, on facebook, or anywhere. Maybe that's why I have custody of her kids.

Just take pictures. You don't have to spend a bunch of money to see yr kid in a monkey suit.

Lana - posted on 01/10/2013

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don't feel bad. Your kid your money. If they want school photos so bad then they should pay for them!! I got those stupid photos every year till I was about 12. Most of which are HIDEOUS! The photographer only takes ONE photo. No one checks your hair, fixes your bow, tells you that you have food on your face, or crust in your eyes nothing. They snap and go. I have decided not to get our daughters pictures taken at school.

Khristinie - posted on 01/09/2013

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I completely agree. My son is four and this is his first year in school. At first I figured I might get his school pictures, but after figuring out how much it would cost to make sure all his grandparents and aunts and uncles got a picture, I realized it would be ridiculous. My mil is always fussing me for not getting pictures b/c she always bought her kids pictures. I'm not paying $50 for a picture I may not want since you have to pay ahead of time. Besides my sister takes their pictures and the backgrounds as well as their appearances are much better. For me I tell them that it's not in our budget but we will be willing to get them a recent photo of our boys. Just let them know you have a backup. Especially with uniforms these days kids don't look cute in school pics. Hope after reading your replies you feel more encouraged to stick with your plan.

Heather - posted on 01/08/2013

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I take my kids out to the beach and take pictures there, then take my card to Costco (or the likes) and make my own wallets... Only costs me a couple dollars!! AND my children have more than one chance to make the photos look good!! :)

Sara - posted on 01/08/2013

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It's been tough but sometimes I do need to take a step back and tell myself that it doesn't matter what ANYONE else thinks. I'M the mother. It matters what I think and what I do. Everyone's family is different but with mine, I would tell them, half joking half serious, "I'm pretty sure I can do what I want with my child. Thank you." Whenever I want them off my back about something, I always start with, "I'm pretty sure.." That usually works.

Beverley - posted on 01/08/2013

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I would'nt feel guilty .. I can't remember the last time I bought a school photo if they make you feel guilty give them the photo and buy it themselves. I personaly take a better pic then the school which are like you said over priced over exposed half the time are not that nice. Please Please dont feel bad if they want a pic that bad give them the example and the info and get them to buy it if they want it that much. Schools are always asking for money for trips or something not a week goes by that they don't want money for something... for example my daughter made things at school and was asked to buy them gone are the days they are allowed to bring things home the kids have made you have to buy them.. I'm sure things are not that bad..

Plbduf - posted on 01/05/2013

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Don't think of yourself as 'cheap', I would rather think that you are being 'wise'!

Jacqueline - posted on 01/05/2013

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Good for you. I am the yearbook coordinator at my school an I have had many interactions with these companies that come out to schools. I Can tell all you parents this. They are in it only for the money. I work at a very low income school, and most if not all these companies refuse to come to our school. Their excuse to me is that we, the school (who are full of students learning and educators doing all they can to give their students the best education they possible can) DO NOT SELL ENOUGH packets. I personally think it is a real shame. I remember growing up having to look my best on phot day at school. Of corse back then they were not charging a good chunk of you hard earned money for a mediocre photograph that they had your child line up like cattle to be auction.

Anna - posted on 01/05/2013

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Hello holly
I think you and your children could make pictures together it could be fun and saving money too and make them happy. Anna

Heather - posted on 01/04/2013

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I agree. I don't buy any of those organization pictures-school, dance school, etc. Instead, I put her in a nice outfit and take along the dance costume too and make an appointment somewhere. We get tons of pictures, I don't have to worry about her ruining her outfit wearing it all over the place all day, and I can choose the pictures that are good! Why would you pay in advance for pictures that are almost certain to be horrible? I'm way too cheap for that :-)

Plbduf - posted on 01/03/2013

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Don't feel guilty. I agree with your thoughts. Expensive. I recently adopted three children and have taken them to Olan Mills. They will send you coupons monthly for specials. You don't have to make an appt, just walk right in at your convenience. There may be a little wait but it's worth it.
I recently got a coupon for $1.99 for a sheet. Packages for 7.99. The pics are done with great quality.

Danielle - posted on 01/01/2013

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My son is 7 - daughter is 2 ... Walmart every year. I dont have the kind of money for that plus they are plain and boring. :) I have never bought preschool, daycare or school pictures

Keri - posted on 01/01/2013

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I totally agree with you, they are ridiculously expensive. I have two kids that aren't in school and I have to take them somewhere else to have pictures taken. It is so much cheaper. Tell your family if they want school pictures they can pay for them. That might solve the problem. I don't think it cares where the pictures come from as long as there are pictures.

Merrie - posted on 01/01/2013

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My parents never bought school pictures and I don't really plan on it either. I think if someone wants the school pictures, they can pay for them. Next year just hand them the bill.

Tammie - posted on 12/31/2012

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I agree Amanda, but at my son's school they let us look at the pictures before purchasing. I remember I volunteered in preeschool and would fix the little girls hair bows and the little boys collars, whatever needed to be fixed.. even though it wasn't my job, I think the parents should deserve to pick out the best pictures. If I had more than one son I would choose a department store which is cheaper and cheaper packages and get to choose more than one child.

Amanda - posted on 12/31/2012

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I too have recently sworn off school pictures. My youngest is in kindergarten and had a horrible stomach virus the night before picture day. Her hair was in curlers and everything. So we waited for makeup day... which fell during hurricane Sandy... so they rescheduled it again and she finally got her pic taken... they did not even bother to push her headband back an inch. It is literally on her forehead! I was so angry. Not to mention that she and her sister wore matching outfits and I planned to hand them out as a set 2 in a 2-sided frame for family. Now I can't hand that out. I will be taking my own pics from now on or getting them professionally done. They take their pics 3 times a year now. Fall spring and the class pic is separate. Add in ballet and soccer pics x 4 kids I'm spending a small fortune! And they don't even care enough these companies to fix their collars or wipe the mustard off their cheeks!

Ange - posted on 12/31/2012

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I did buy pics, but I got the cheapest package there was. What I did do was purchase the digital cd of his picture ($8). With it comes a copyright release, which means I can print as many copies of it as I want. If you have a photo-capable printer, you're all set right there. Otherwise, there are lots of places that you can get prints made cheaply.

Julie - posted on 12/29/2012

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The problem I have with school pictures is that they have you buy the package before you even get to see how the picture turned out! At least that's how it is at my daughter's elementary school. They always use Strawbridge Studios and their photographer SUCKS at taking pictures. I can say that because I went thru 6 years with my older daughter (who is 15 and in 10th grade now) and now almost 7 (including pre-K and Kindergarten) with my youngest. They must not even TRY to get them to smile because my little one is always happy-go-lucky and even HER pics are terrible. I only buy them because I want them to be in the yearbook and it's for the school as a fundraiser. One more year! As for your case, I wholeheartedly agree with the lady above that said if your family is so gung-ho about school pictures, let THEM buy them. They may not even realize how much of a rip-off they have become. (You think that's bad, wait till they get to high school! I about passed out when my daughter told me her yearbook was $53!). Good Luck to you with the family, you know what they say, you don't get to pick them.

Tania - posted on 12/28/2012

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I have four children , I get there pic all together ...ya can just buy the one which is cheaper than getting the deals. I wouldn't worry about the class pics

Tracy - posted on 12/28/2012

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My son's school pictures never have captured his essence, and the photographers always tried to "fix" him before the picture was taken. I don't buy them anymore. Casual photos are made from the best memories.

Tammie - posted on 12/28/2012

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I do buy from the school occasionally, but I have to buy the cheapest package and I have only one child. If I had more than one I would be taking my children to a Department store and if family would like to donate to make the package as big as they want; put your hand out for the money.. I have found some of the most beautiful places outside that I have taken pictures that they look like a professional has taken them. Remember hand out to family if they want a huge package and don't feel guilty.

Kim - posted on 12/27/2012

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If you have a camera take one picture of them every year and consider that the school picture. who can afford to buy the pictures. Just have copies made of the one you took and hand them out to the family

Linda - posted on 12/26/2012

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I have 3 kids in 3 different schools and a single parent ! I totally agree !! I never buy them either !! If yr family think its such a deal give them the payment form to fill in

Jenni - posted on 12/26/2012

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Yeah but you gotta make sure they're not copyrighted. You can't make re-prints of copyrighted pictures.

Wendy - posted on 12/26/2012

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Someone have suggestions on dealing with special needs daughter not being respected at school and principal telling my daughter she has to be nice to inappropriate paraforfessional.I won't get a meeting with advocate at school until end of Jan - Feb. My daughter did revive good behavior awards. Frustrating situation! My daughter has a language disability, not intellectal.

Jona - posted on 12/26/2012

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I always bought the economy package, and am really glad to have those memories--especially the class pictures! The photographers never allowed food on their faces or weird hair, but if you're not happy, go for re-do day. Then if you still dislike them, return 'em. I consider these photos to be GIFTS for relatives, so the price is worth it--and one less present to buy!!

ALICIA - posted on 12/26/2012

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I don't buy them either. I think they are expensive!!! Usually, I don't like the photos...just because they are too dark, too light, or the background doesn't suit my child's complexion. I would rather have my aunt, who has a professional photography business, take them. She only charges me for the disc, if she charges me for that. I get a ton of photos, a lot to choose from, and my daughter, who is 3 years old, can be in the photos, also. My view is, you have to make the choices that are right for you and your family, according to your budget. Taking your children to Portrait Innovations, sounds like what is right for your particular family. I would not be concerned about what your family thinks. They do not have to live your life, or deal with your budget. If they want the school photos so badly, offer to allow them to purchase them, themselves. That is just an idea. The long and the short of it is, just do what YOU have to, and don't worry about what they think. Especially, if they refuse to buy the school photos for you, I WOULD NOT be concerned about what they have to say about what you do!!!

Sharon - posted on 12/26/2012

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The "school pictures" we buy (and they do it twice a year, with 3 kids it adds up!) are fundraisers for the school. I buy them but I ask them to try to get all 3 kids in one shot to save $. If you are comparing it from photo places then yes, it is way overpriced. But if you are thinking it as little investment into the school system then it's no different than that super expensive cookies or candy they make you buy. I rather have a photo instead of sweets to help our school out since many tax payers in our area won't.

Deanne - posted on 12/26/2012

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The pictures aren't actually for you, they are for your child when they are an adult. You can just purchase the classroom picture as that's more than likely the one they would want; and help them to record the kids' names as 20 years from now they might not recall them all. The close-up pics are often horrid and small enough to get lost over the years unless you mount them into something and yes the packages are expensive. Just consider if they would like to re-look at the old class pics like I do from time to time.

Sausal - posted on 12/26/2012

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Family always have sumthing to say, either ur nt doing this or that. Lyk theyvan do better! U do wat u think is rite. Tc

Star - posted on 12/25/2012

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your right on all of that iv always thought the most important is the senior year of high school for the year book you might end up buying for your child or them buy on their own. the best picture even out of other professionals is the one you do yourself that saves even the money your going to give sears target wal mart and many others so the just of it is your going the right way I'm doing the same for my son but you still want them to look good in case its a class photo and another kid buys it I'm not being mean but you don't want them to look bad other parents are very judgmental

[deleted account]

I wrestle with this almost every year. My brother is a professional photographer so it's not like I don't have several millions of pictures....I do buy the school pictures, mainly so they can have the same ugly pictures I had......Other than that there is no reason.

April - posted on 12/25/2012

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I'm certain that most if not all parents have enormous numbers of pictures of their kids. I really don't see the point of 'school photos' since they don't really have any reference or defining anything to their school anyway.

Sheila - posted on 12/25/2012

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I don't purchase them either. They are not attractive and never displayed. It's a waste of money. Tell your family to purchase them if they want them. It's just one of the many things that are pushed on you by the school.

Nancy - posted on 12/25/2012

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Do what I did...get the cheapest one you can and make copies at Walmart...any size , any amount and best of all...they are cheap!! And the same quality. You can't tell the difference from the origional to the copy!!!

Karen - posted on 12/25/2012

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You're right! School pictures are a big money suck for no reason except the school gets a little kickback from the com[any that they let in. One year, when my daughter was in elementary school they had a company come in to do pictures in the fall AND the spring! I was furious. My child hadn't changed that much that I needed expensive pictures taken again. When I asked the principal why they were coming again, she told me that they got some money from it. I asked her if they were going to start letting the credit card companies and anyone else who offered them a few bucks come in at will. I didn't want my daughter to sit out the photo session and feel bad, so on the day they were coming in, I kept her out of school and took her on a field trip to Amish country 45 minutes from my home. We had a great day and she learned a lot more that day than she would have sitting in the cafeteria waiting for her next expensive picture to be taken. Rock on- do your own or use walmart or someone who makes financial sense!

Kayle - posted on 12/25/2012

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I agree. We always take the kids. We get better picture and more of them for a whole lot less... I know a lot of families doing it this way now

Michelle - posted on 12/25/2012

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Oh one more thing.. Dont worry about what one thinks, It gives stress that way.. Just think about what YOU want and how YOU feel about things.. Not anyone else. IF YOU do.. then You will see that your family and others will shut up and go on.

Michelle - posted on 12/25/2012

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Well Holly, my advice to you is tell your family it is none of their business of wether you buy from school or not. It is not their decision and leave it as that.. If they want a school picture so bad, tell them to take a picture of them when they are going to school on their camera if it is such a big deal.

If you are going to walmart or whatever other place to get pictures taken with all your kids that is great.. besides they do one on one pictures their too. The way the economy is today.. not everyone can afford what someone else does.. Besides, people want to save money, not throw it away for the same things..I agree with going to a place that is cheaper than going to a place that is higher and getting less.. Smartness overpowers the dumbness. You family needs to grow up and mind their own business and allow you to make your own decision.. If it were me.. I would tell them like it is and if they didnt like it..oh well.It would be my decision , not theirs and it wouldnt make me feel quilty over it..
So, dont feel quilty for no reason, you get your children pictures.. It doesnt matter where you get them.

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