Friday, April 29, 2011

The Nicest Form of Extortion

A few times a year posters go up around daycare alerting us to "picture days".  On the bright side, only one of those is a formal school picture day.  I only have to obsess over Jacob's clothes and hair and facial wounds once per year.  The other days are theme days.  The photographer brings all sorts of props, so ultimately it's low maintenance for us and we just have to hope our kid smiles.  They did one a while back where Jacob was dressed up as a fireman.  Like most of his school pictures, they were pretty unsuccessful. 

Jacob's school pictures have been pretty awful.  His first ones were when he was maybe five months or so, and while there were one or two okay shots (which I vaguely considered buying since, you know, everything is special when you have your first baby), I decided against it because in the best shot he was drooling and the rest didn't look that much like him.  His second ones, a year later, were pretty bad.  He was not happy and they only got one shot before his crying ruined any chance for more.  The fireman pictures were pretty blah, and his school pictures this year were sort of okay but besmirched by a couple nasty scabs on his face from a recent fall, so there was nothing worth saving for posterity. 

This week they did vintage day.  They brought old clothes and took the pictures in sepia tones (although apparently they're available in B&W and color, too).  I saw the handful of proofs on Jacob's proof sheet (we'll see the rest online), and much to my surprise, there were good ones!  It was even more of a surprise since he had a bad day yesterday (yep, right on the heels of a good one), with only two stickers and a lot of not-so-great stories from the afternoon.  Apparently the lawn guys showed up early which woke the kids up, but still. 

I have yet to see the online proofs where I can really study them, but now I have a bit of a conundrum.  See, the pictures are expensive.  We could go get family shots done and get a decent number of prints far cheaper that what they're asking, but that assumes a couple things: 1) that I get my butt in gear and actually schedule something; and 2) that Jacob will actually smile and we'll all look good.  Pictures with kids are such a crapshoot because you never know what their mood is going to be or how they will behave in front of a stranger with a camera.  That's why I haven't done professional shots since Jacob's first Christmas.  Those didn't go well and I've been a bit gun-shy (or camera-shy?) ever since.  You can always find no sitting fee deals around, but it's still a lot of work and scheduling to just get there, so it's still a disappointment if it doesn't work out, even if it costs nothing.  The quandary with these pictures is that if they're as good as they appear, they're already done and we know they're good.  Should that be enough?  It pains me to think of great pictures of Jacob floating around out there that we don't own.  And it's not like I've spent a lot on pictures previously, so maybe we should just bite the bullet and buy some of these...maybe just an 8" x 10" to replace the picture from the last professional shots and a few 5" x 7"s for the important people.  But for that money I could certainly get more somewhere else...yet there's no guarantee we'd like them as much.  Ugh. 

Ironically, Jacob fell today at daycare and now has a brushburned chin.  At least he waited until picture day was past this time!  Regardless, I suppose I'll just have to look at the online proofs, get some other opinions, and stare at the prices a little longer to see what might be reasonable.  The downside of buying them is that it technically gets me off the hook for family pictures (which we really should do) for a little longer.  I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.  We obviously have a lot of pictures of Jacob floating around, but he's not really a smiler for the camera nor is he good at standing still, so we don't have a lot of good pictures where his face is clear and he looks picture perfect.  We probably owe it to the grandparents and aunts and uncles to get some of these once in a while for the frames we gave them at Jacob's first Christmas, so they're not staring at a six-month-old baby (or filling it with something else) all these many months later, but ugh...I don't know. 

These people just prey on parents who can't say no to the face of their adorable child, and it's so annoying.  Especially because I might be one of them.

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