Aidan's 2008 Preschool PhotoSo as you can see in the previous post, we bought prints of the pictures taken of Aidan at his preschool.

I’m of two minds about this, but mostly I’m not happy about it.

First, pricing of the prints is a scam. Let me back up a bit. *First* you get to see the final product. No proof, no selection of poses, they just hand you the whole package of prints, fully printed, full package (8×10, some 5x7s, multiple 4x6s, many wallets + full class shot). At the classroom. You cannot take them home, you cannot show them to a spouse. Instead, you get a peek at the whole package and they hand you an order form.

The form shows that for a single sheet of prints, the cost was $20. For two sheets, the cost was $32. For 3 sheets, $48. The whole package (already printed mind you) was $50 and contained 5 sheets + the class photo. So, they pretty much guarantee that everyone will go for the $50 package, since at a minimum you want the class photo plus two sheets, and if you’re doling out $48, why not $50.

Hello, what? These prices are crazy. To not be able to consider a proof is unconsciencable. To preprint a full package and dangle it in front of you is high-pressure sales.

And then there’s the copyright issue.

We did not sign a contract. We did not sign a photo release. The school invited this photographer into the class to take pictures of the children.

Who has the copyright?

The photographer claims that he does, and has stamped everything with copyright notices. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a commissioned photography of my child and nobody has the right to use the image of my child except me (unless I explicitly grant permission). Further, I have the right to do with what I will with the image, although I will grant that I probably should attribute the photograph (but of course I have no idea who the actual photographer is).  As such, I have no problem scanning the print and posting it to this blog. As such, I do have a problem with the idea that the photographer can do whatever they like with this image. Fortunately the photography company recognizes some of these issues and included a notice with the prints that if you did not want images of your child to be used elsewhere you could call the company and specifically direct them not to. Which Gwen promptly did at my request. It turned out that it meant they would use none of the photos from the entire class as a result. I expect fan mail.

Copyright assignment for commissioned photography is a contentious subject.  See for example.

And you know what else? It’s not even a good picture! I mean, the pose is great but the processing of the photo is awful! His hair colour is actually might lighter than the picture shows, and the colour range is awful. It should be properly balanced, sharpened, and the saturation punched up a bit.

I only seem to remember school pictures in elementary school. Great, only another 7 years of this to grumble about for Aidan. Oh yeah, Quinlan’s 3 years behind. 10 years I guess.

What do you think? Is it all just a racket?