Is it normal that... I'm freaking out about school photos

After three years of awkward school photos, Jo Abi is desperate for one great photo of her son Philip. And you’ll never believe the lengths she’s going to…

I’m not normally too fussed about my children’s school photos. I look back on my own and it’s the ones where I am at my most awkward that provoke the fondest memories of school.

At first I was proud that my first-born was following my tradition of not quite nailing the smile. He was perfectly copying my childhood habit of smiling with my mouth only, the light not quite reaching my eyes, leaving me looking a bit vacant and forced.

However the past four years now have only produced awkward photos of Philip.

Most parents will at least cut their child's hair ahead of school photos

I want a photo I can display on the mantel at home without Philip feeling embarrassed. Imagine how he feels at nine-years-of-age when guests come over, spot the photos and laugh at the deranged expression on his face? I've had to hide them all. The most recent photo I have from him is his final preschool photo when he was five. He's changed a lot. He's so cute and has amazing dimples.

Can I just get one good photo of him please?

Making matters worse, he has food allergies, so each year I have to update his 'allergy action plan' which is displayed in his classroom, the school office and in the school tuckshop. The photo is meant to be a recent one and the school insisted I update it. Philip is mortified. It's right there in the school classroom for everyone to make fun of. He also needs one for his annual soccer club card.

We need just one good photo, where Philip is smiling naturally.


Last year, Philip and I spent the week before school photos practising executing a natural smile at will. He did really well.

Last year's school photo was the worst one yet.

The day he received them he asked me to wait til we got home to open them. He looks like he needs to use the bathroom, his eyebrows are unnaturally high, his smile too wide and his eyes are saying, "Please let this look normal".

This year, I have a new plan in place. I spoke with my friend who used to model and she suggested that the best way to execute a natural smile in front of the camera is to gasp or laugh out loud.

So we're practising both techniques this week.

We would both be so delighted to see a natural, usable photo resulting from school photo day. But I'm feeling conflicted about how much focus I've placed on getting a good result.

Images courtesy of and Pinterest.

Have you got any tips for great school pictures, or do you think that Jo should stop worrying about getting the perfect pic?

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Big hair, deranged smiles, and lasers. CLICK THROUGH these hilariously awkward school photos and be thankful those days are behind you:

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