When students normally head back to school, they're greeted with new teachers, classmates, and a new school picture. But professional school photos are either delayed or looking a little different this year because of the pandemic.
"It's very different. One of the things is we had a lot of schools that hadn't even started back yet, but a lot that have come back have pushed back their start date," explained Erin Middleton, the manager of operations for BPI Photography in Georgia.
Middleton says their company is working closely with schools to safely photograph students who are back in-person in the classroom and accommodate those who aren't. BPI Photography says it first works with schools--with social distancing and masks in mind--to take photos of students who are at the school.
"Then, we actually create a report that is a not-photographed report, and on that not-photographed report would be your students that are face-to-face that didn’t make it on the original picture day,” Middleton explained. “But we also are capturing our virtual students on the absentee day which is like a make-up or retake day.”
Middeton says sometimes the photos for virtual students take place after school hours. The company says they are doing everything they can to accommodate schools and families during this unprecedented time. A time some people are wanting to remember in their school picture. That means students and faculty taking their pictures while wearing a mask.
For families who are feeling a little lost at this time, Shutterfly and Lifetouch are offering a 2020 School Picture Day guide on their website, plus a new feature for students who are remote learning from home.
"What we wanted to do in this crazy year of COVID is be able to provide some options for parents and we are photographing at lots of schools around the US but also where picture day isn’t taking place,” said Stephanie Schmid, vice president of marketing and merchandising for Lifetouch. “We wanted to provide a really flexible option for families and meet them where they are, and oftentimes, that's in their living room or their kitchen."
Lifetouch launched a new feature through Shutterfly's app, where parents can upload a photo of their child and choose a professional background that they'd normally see in school photos. This allows them to order a school photo that looks just like the one they'd have taken at school.
"We know families like to have a collection, so you have that child and you want that kindergarten through 8th grade collection and sometimes families order the same background every year. What we did is we offered blue, which is the iconic Lifetouch Picture Day background along with a number of other best sellers so that families can continue their collection and not miss a beat even with a year like this, with COVID-19," said Schmid.
Capturing the smiles on children's faces, even if they've had a rocky start to the school year.