Kids Offered Airbrushed School Photos

Jodi - posted on 03/28/2011 ( 40 moms have responded )

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Parents of children as young as five are being offered airbrushed school portraits to remove unsightly blemishes such as cuts and acne.

Fotoworks, one of the biggest school photography businesses in WA, is offering parents the opportunity to have their child's portrait "retouched" to remove minor imperfections, for an extra $15.

The company photographs 100,000 pupils of all ages a year across WA.

Child psychologists have branded the move as "loony" and a possible contributor to psychological problems later in life.

Leading Australian psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said it was a "dreadful idea" that helped feed society's obsession with perfection in terms of body image.

"What this is saying to kids is that there's something wrong with them," Dr Carr-Gregg said. "We should be loving our children unconditionally - not based on what they look like."

But a spokesman for Fotoworks said the company was not doing anything wrong. He said the airbrushing only corrected minor skin issues and the company did not enhance photographs to remove braces or add missing teeth, for example.

"It's mainly for pimples or other marks," he said. "We leave it up to the parents and it's a very minimal thing that we do."

He said only a handful of parents each year chose the option.

Fotoworks photographers made every effort to fix imperfections during the photo shoot, such as asking children to face a different way or getting them to smile without showing their braces. "We would rather fix these things in camera than we would post-camera with photoshop and things like that," he said.

University of WA psychology professor Sue Byrne said airbrushing children was "ridiculous" and sent the wrong message to them about their bodies.

"It's saying we should buy into the media hype about the supposedly ideal body image - and from primary school," she said. "The last two Mission Australia surveys have found body image is the number one concern among young people, and this sort of thing doesn't help, especially at such a young age."

Other school photography businesses contacted by _The West Australian _did not offer the service, although some said they would consider correcting minor blemishes if a parent requested it.

MSP Photography franchisee Eli Greatley said he had always refused requests to alter pictures. "School photos are supposed to capture you as you are," he said.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/new...

How do you feel about this? Would you prefer school photos of your kids showing warts and all, or something that has been *airbrushed* to perfection?

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Lady Heather - posted on 03/29/2011

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I think that's pretty sad that someone wouldn't think an old friend was themselves without their acne. Teenagers are defined by their zits now? THAT is a feature that makes them who they are? Give me a break. I think my siblings looked more like themselves in their grad pics because they knew they were getting airbrushed so they had a hell of a lot more confidence. It was nice to see my sister actually smiling and feeling happy about having her picture taken for a change. They looked more like they did at home. My brother even did some cheesy poses because he was having so much fun. That is way more him than zits could ever be.

Jenny - posted on 03/28/2011

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NOt airbrushed to perfection but I do understand removing small blemishes, erasing a booger, covering a cold sore etc. I photoshop many of my pictures before posting.

[deleted account]

Thanks Nikki. I'm with you there--I don't think they should be hiding braces and such, that's a part of who the kids was at that time. Of course, when I had braces, I tried to hide them by not smiling, but that was MY decision, I would be offended if the photographer told me to do that!

Parents actually request it a lot here--We removed A TON of black eyes for parents of elementary school kids, always by request of the parent, not the kid. Kids that age could care less, but by the time they are teens, they are the ones requesting to have zits removed. I still don't see an issue with that, who wants to remember a zit??

Nikki - posted on 03/28/2011

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I could understand if they were professional family photos and your child had a big bump or bruise on their face. I just think it send the wrong message for school photo's. Kelly they said they try to hide braces while taking the photo.

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Jocelyn - posted on 03/29/2011

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Knowing people with severe acne isn't the same as having severe acne. My daughter has PCOS and had terrible acne until we got her on a good treatment program. She is 18 now, and if someone said to her: I want to remember you as you were, acne and all...well, let's just say I wouldn't blame her for whatever would happen next. She was so incredibly miserable that the thought of a photo that captured that sad time in her life might bring a smile to an old school friend's face because of the happy memories stirred by the acne is frankly absurd. "Oh, yes, I remember Blythe used to cry and cry about that darn acne! Good times...good times...". I'm pleased as punch that I don't remember who had acne in high school. Further, I hope everyone has forgotten mine, lol. We didn't have Photoshop or airbrushing, but we did have cover sticks. ^.~

Amy - posted on 03/29/2011

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I had classmates doing this 10 years ago, er 11, back when I was a senior. I could see doing it for a senior photo, but I may be the crazy one that loves the original kid school pictures.

YES, that's my daughter who fell off the monkey bars an hour before photo shoot. That's my son with the missing tooth and the mole on his cheek. I don't know. We are who we are - I agree with that.

But.....the photos in our house aren't school ones. It's the pictures grandpa takes or grandma takes or dad caught when they were being silly. Those are the ones we hang.

And..why can't it be free unless MAJOR touch ups needed? Most people fix things like that themselves on photoshop, right?

And my daughter's preschool picture was a whole body thing at a little desk and there was more books/desk than there was of my sweetie's face. Kinda ticked me off. I'd rather see her face close up with the little cut on her cheek than the picture be mostly "Stuff".

Jocelyn - posted on 03/29/2011

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Considering the fact that some kids get especially hammered by acne and suffer for it, the ability to soften their image via airbrushing seems a kindness, if that's what they choose. I just don't see the value in having reminder of something unhappy if there's an easy way to avoid it. Air brushing simply for the sake of air brushing is undoubtedly the photographer's way of paying his or her oil bill, and I can't begrudge them that.

Tracey - posted on 03/29/2011

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Considering the price of school photos they should do it for nothing.
My kids self esteem is going to be far more damaged if they see a school photo every day hanging on my wall with them having a massive zit on the end of their nose than by the idea of a photographer removing it.

[deleted account]

I know many who had bad acne.

I have to say if it was air brushed, they wouldn't be the people we grew up with in school.

We want to see them in the year book how they were & remember them as years go by and as friends drift apart.

If the felt the need to want to do it.I would be supportive but they never did.It wasn't an option so i guess they had no choice lol.

The looked great.All natural and happy.I know not all have that confidence so i won't knock others for using air brush.

Jocelyn - posted on 03/28/2011

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Who on earth wants to be remembered for having a giant pus-filled zit on their chin/nose etc in their hs senior picture? That sort of "perfection" I can live without, lmao. I've never once sat down by the fire in a comfy rocker with a brandy and chuckled with fondness over memories of teenage acne. Never once. My daughter removes every spot from her photos with iPhoto, so why not let the photographer do the same? Air brushing little kids - on the other hand - is just bizarre. Bizarre, but absolutely a matter of personal choice.

Iridescent - posted on 03/28/2011

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Lifetouch in the US offers it as well. I like the option, because it never fails one will end up with a black eye the day before or something ridiculous.

[deleted account]

I won't even pay for school photos anymore since I can get the same number of prints that I would pay $25 for through the photographer for $10 from Snapfish. I'm certainly NOT a photographer, but $50 (since I've got 2 in school) vs being able to get the same number of pics of all 3 of my kids for $30? It's a no brainer for me. ;)

If I did pay for the school photos.... I certainly wouldn't pay extra for airbrushing.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/28/2011

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See, there is acne and then there's ACNE. My poor siblings had it baaaad. It wasn't a few pimples here and there. It was mega ass crater face to the point where they are scarred today, especially my brother. As someone who didn't have this problem, I will hardly stand here and judge them for wanting one freaking picture without it. It's hard enough to have all your non-school photos turn out like that and having to go to school everyday that way. I can totally understand not wanting to be immortalized that way in the yearbook. If I got some crazy ass scar or burn or something no one would think I was wrong to try corrective surgery. But what? It's just who I am and I should be proud right? I don't think so.

LaCi - posted on 03/28/2011

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Yearbooks would be so much less interesting if we were all airbrushed. I'm guilty of a few absolutely hideous yearbook photos, it happens. Most kids looks horrible in their "awkward phase" it's normal. It's something to laugh at later ;p

[deleted account]

Take my children how they are,thank you very much.To me thats perfection.



Only time i found this okay though, was a wedding day were the brides little boy fell at her dads grave.

She went to visit her dads grave before and after the wedding .He fell and got a cut over his eye the second time at the grave.

The photographer touched it up in pictures.Her one big day i can understand that.Its done in the wedding album pictures.

[deleted account]

Eh, they've been offering this service at all my daughter's schools since Kindergarten. In fact, the last time my daughter's school picture got taken I noticed the company was even offering to airbrush braces out (for an extra $20). Personally? We've never chosen to use it, but I know some moms who do. It suck big time when your kid falls down and cuts their cheeck the day before picture day, so why not let the photo company airbrush it out? I actually liked having my braces in my school pictures. It was who I was at that time in my life (and it helps me itentify what year the picture was taken now when I was organising stuff for our big family scrapbook), but I know some people who would have given their left arm to get their braces photoshopped out.

IMO, it's an each to his own type of thing. A kid wants no acne in their picture? Fine by me. I wouldn't want acne in my picture eaither (in fact, I had my senior pictures airbrushed becasue I woke up the morning of the photoshoot with a big zit on my chin). I don't think the companies are trying to "airbrush to perfection," I think they're just trying to help kids took great in pictures that everyone sees... No harm in that.

Lindsay - posted on 03/28/2011

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I don't see a big deal in this. It is a service that is offered by the company that takes school pictures at my kids' school. While we haven't had the need to use it, I don't see any problem with a parent choosing to have a blemish or bruise removed from a picture. I wouldn't agree if it was major airbrushing going on but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Joanna - posted on 03/28/2011

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I have no problem with it. My daughter (3 1/2) just had her preschool picture taken. The company that did them says on their website that on request they will airbrush/photoshop out bumps/bruises/cuts, etc. What's the damage, really? So you don't want your child's school photo to include a bruise on their cheek (we all know they seem to get hurt right before pictures) - it doesn't say anything about how you parent or view body image. My girl had her worst cold ever right before pictures... Including a bright red, raw patch on her face from rubbing her snot away. Luckily it went away a few days before pics, otherwise, yes, I would have had it airbrushed out. Because that was the one time she had that, it's not who she is or what she looks like.

Desiree - posted on 03/28/2011

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I hate airbrushing, our imperfections make us who we are. Last year my childrens' photos came back airbrushed I was not impressed at all. I already think they are perfect why the hell would I care what any one else thinks. I know that they go to an Elite school but really...There are enough problems in the world without encoraging anymore crap about looks. Really the other day I opened a mag and there they had a guy dressed up in womans fashion walking down the fashion walk, its the latest craazy what are they trying to know say that boobs are out of fashion and we must not just look like we are suffering from some eating disorder but now boobs get in the way and men look better than us. Enough is enough.....

Jocelyn - posted on 03/28/2011

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I don't mind the air brushing. They aren't fucking with the proportions of the face, they are just removing zits, scratches etc.
I understand airbrushing a 5 yr old pic...my kids are not graceful in the least; my 4 yr old has a patch of rug burn covering his entire forehead (no lie) and my 18 month old's nose FINALLY healed after she took a header at the play centre.
I tend to be really anal about my pictures tho...

Lady Heather - posted on 03/28/2011

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Our high school grad photos were all airbrushed as a matter of course. I had great skin so it wasn't really a big deal to me, but my brother and sister were acne-ridden. I think they were pretty happy to have one pic without it.

Bonnie - posted on 03/28/2011

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For highschool kids, yeah I can see why it is a good option to have and teenagers are more picky with the way they look. But young kids, no I don't think they need airbrushed photos to remove redness, blemishes, etc. It's not like they are photos being entered into a modelling agency or something. Acne and minor skin irritations are a part of life and growning up. It makes a person who they are.

Jenn - posted on 03/28/2011

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I could see doing this if you had a giant zit at the time, or when I was a kid I had an impetego sore on my lip and it looked like shit - I would have loved to have that pic without the scabby pusy lip.

Nikki - posted on 03/28/2011

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I don't think I really get the whole air brushing concept in general. I didn't have any airbrushing on my wedding photo's because I don't want to look at myself and wish that it was really me, it would make me feel inadequate.

Sneaky - posted on 03/28/2011

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In the last family photos we took my two year old had a big clump of eczema under one eye. . . . and she looks bloody adorable - I wouldn't change it for the world.


In addition, I have some shocking photos of me as a teenager, zits and all, which I will be happy to show my girls when they are teenagers too - everyone goes through that, why should we pretend that we didn't?

So, I have to agree with Jodi on this one.

Jodi - posted on 03/28/2011

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Maybe ONLY if parents can also opt to have some that aren't airbrushed. I'd prefer pictures of my kids just the way they are.

Katherine - posted on 03/28/2011

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I think, like I was allowed, in their senior pictures they should be allowed to have them airbrushed.

Jodi - posted on 03/28/2011

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LOL, okay Emma. See, it's late here, I should be in bed :D. Yeah, I don't see why parents would want it done.

Stifler's - posted on 03/28/2011

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Oh I meant why would the parents want it done. The teenagers would be the ones requesting it more likely. it doesn't say they're offering it for if the kids ask. My parents would be all "what's airbrushing and why would I want it". I still have crap skin too :(

Jodi - posted on 03/28/2011

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But maybe I feel the way I do because I never had an acne problem and never had braces, I don't know.

Jodi - posted on 03/28/2011

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Emma, I LOVE the photos of my children with the blemishes. That is who my children are. In Taylah's first ever Christmas photo with Santa, she had a nasty big scab on her forehead because the week before she had crawled in behind out freezer and managed to get into the motor and burned herself. That is a memory I wouldn't have airbrushed in a million years even though it made the photo less than perfect (and at the time, I WAS disappointed). That's why parents care. I love my children better just the way they are.

Katherine - posted on 03/28/2011

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My senior year pictures were airbrushed. As far as letting 5yo's get airbrushing, THAT is ridiculous!
I remember looking at my picture thinking WOW, I can be that beautiful. No blemishes or anything. I don't think air brushing pimples is that big of a deal.

Stifler's - posted on 03/28/2011

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I don't understand why parents would care though. They aren't the ones in the picture with a face full of pimples. If as a teenager I'd known about airbrushing I would have demanded they do it! My parents are the type that think airbrushing is stupid even in wedding pics. My dad is still dumbfounded at how he got more hair and mum has no mole in their big portrait.

[deleted account]

Nikki, I thought it said they did NOT enhance photos to cover braces or fill in teeth. If they are going that far, then I think it is a bit absurd, but I think it is mostly used for removing blemishes.
It has been standard around here for a long time--it's a service we offered to pro photographers when I worked, and they never used it to remove braces, change hair, fill in teeth or anything big like that. They just clone out the cuts, scratches, black eyes or zits. They were even very careful to make sure freckles stay when we were doing it.

Nikki - posted on 03/28/2011

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I don't like my school pictures either, but it's who I was. By them being altered I think it would have cemented the fact that I wasn't pretty enough to have natural pictures.

Imagine if your mother requested air brushing, what kind of message does that send to the child?

Nikki - posted on 03/28/2011

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This is ridiculous, the schools should not allow it. I don't like the part where they state they try to avoid braces being shown, why? it's who the kid is they are school pics not glamour shots.

I think it's more disturbing the school is allowing it, the photography industry is expected to be vain, schools have a duty of care to protect these kids, that includes emotionally protecting them.

[deleted account]

I personally don't mind the air brushing. It's not like they are lengthening the neck, moving the eyes, plumping the lips, and all the stuff they do for models in magazines or even current bridal portraits. They are just blotting out cuts and zits--things that are not always there anyway and that you don't necessarily want to remember for ever--do you really want to remember that little J fell off the sofa the day before pictures? And do teens really want to be remembered in their yearbooks with a big zit plastered on their forehead? No. It's optional, so I think it's fine, parents who don't want it, don't have to buy it.

Stifler's - posted on 03/28/2011

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Does he remember what it's like to be a teenager? I wish they airbrushed the pics when I was at school! I hate looking at the yearbook, I want to burn it. This can only help their body image by not having pictures capturing the torture of teenage acne.

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