Opt Out of School Pictures? Can you do that?!?

We have been getting school pictures every year since our first minion started Kindergarten, as you are supposed to do. It is not the best “frugal” option and this year, I think we found a very solid alternative.

Cost savings

At our previous school, we had the option of purchasing a picture package and/or the file alone which they would email. There were cute backgrounds ranging from a plain color to a pretty garden. These were all pretty reasonably priced and so it was not absurd for us to do this. We could purchase the file alone for $10 and then print them ourselves. More info on that below.

At our new school, the background options are restricted to a blue-grey background unless you upgrade (i.e. pay more) and even then it is simply for a different color. The most basic package without the file costs $22 per child, with the “Most Popular Package” coming in at about $55… per child. I have three children. I do not plan to pay $165 for so-so pictures, especially when minion 2 comes into play. Which brings me to my next reason for opting out.

More options

Minion 2’s Kindergarten pictures were… well… how do I put this gently? She looked like she was going to stab the camera man. My husband and I have purposely not shared the photo online because we both firmly believe that it would turn into a McKayla Maroney-type meme. It looked as though she was thinking, “Take the d@m^ picture now so I can get the h3!! out of here!”

I love my daughter very much, but if she is not in the mood to do something, there is no way in h3!! you are going to get her to do it. Oh, you may try all you like. But as my family learned in the 45 minute wait for my daughter in the bathroom at Animal Kingdom at Disney World, if you ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do, you simply have to wait out the storm.

At an event for school this year, her 1st grade teacher pulled me aside to “warn” me that her pictures might not turn out. I simply started laughing and shared with her that it was a main reason we opted out of purchasing pictures this year. Her teacher even asked the photographer if they could skip Minion 2 and they informed her that they needed a photo for the yearbook. Oh my. We are still waiting to see the lovely picture they got this year!

Anyway, the ability to actually be with my children and select the background actually became a very fun activity for us.

My husband and I are not photographers, but we enjoy taking pictures. We took our minions to a park last weekend and we had so much fun finding places to photograph. If you aren’t confident in your photography skills, ask a friend or set up an appointment with a local photographer. In some cases, it may be cheaper than school photos.

Disclaimer: We have a Nikon camera with a couple of lenses for our use. This helps in achieving the professional results, but I do think you might be able to achieve similar results from an iPhone or Android phone.

Printing Options

*** Editor’s Note *** Apparently, Walgreens and CVS have both updated their photo systems to no longer allow for “Ultimate Value Pack” purchases. I am investigating an alternative at this time.

Did you know that Walgreens actually has an option to purchase a picture in a package that is very similar to the school packages?

Upload your photos to Walgreens.com (other sites might have similar features, this is our experience using Walgreens), then go to the page to “Choose Sizes and Quantities” and select the link below “Wallets” that reads “More Sizes.”

Note: Walgreen’s cropping tool does not work for the packs. For best results, upload portrait photos (not landscape) and crop before you upload.


Here, you will see additional “Packs.” For just $9.99, you can get:

  • 3 8×10
  • 3 5×7
  • 5 Wallet Sets (so the kids can pass out their pics to friends like all the others), and
  • 20 4×6 screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-2-12-58-pm

Added Bonus! There are ALWAYS coupon codes for Walgreen photos online (just google “Walgreens Coupon Code”) AND you get them within a day. We ended up getting three Ultimate Value Packs (one for each minion) plus some other 4×6 photos for us for less than $20. Compare that to the fact that the starting price at the school was $22, this was a no-brainer for us.

For our family, this allowed us to take a day and devote it to achieving the photos that the kids and we wanted. We were very pleased with the results and ended up with really cute photos of the kids altogether as well.

And, you can’t really deny the adorable results!

dsc_1309  dsc_1452  dsc_1294

I hope this inspires you as well! Enjoy the day as a family and be in charge of what pictures you hand out this year 🙂

Have a great day!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s