We were disappointed when we read “School photos in focus” (FCN March 24) and the lack of probing into an issue that affects schools, families, and local businesses.
In and Out Photo’s statements in the article did not paint an accurate picture of the school photography industry in Forsyth County, particularly the example of high school senior portraits. Just like underclassmen, high school seniors are required to have a picture taken by the school’s photographer to appear in their school’s yearbook, however schools require a free option for seniors who are choosing an alternative photographer.
Photographers have the responsibility to educate senior families about all options that are available, even those that are not profitable to their business.
Regarding the commissions that schools receive from photography companies, it was in poor taste to infer that schools are forcing parents to make “involuntary contributions.”
We personally know that some schools in Forsyth County receive a detailed report of how the commission dollars are derived. Schools allocate this money to what best serves the students and the student families, whether it is helping less fortunate athletse who cannot pay their athletic fees, helping supplement the prom budget, or assisting in the astronomical cost associated with graduation.
If families are interested in this information, they should request it from their school. If families are truly concerned about being forced to contribute, they should remember that they have the choice on whether or not to purchase from the photographer the school has chosen. In our experience, when families are aware that their purchases are being used to benefit their child’s school experience, they are more likely to purchase and feel good about their decision.
In closing, we can only hope that the coverage of the school board’s decision regarding school photography will be more balanced and factual in the future. It is in the interest of families to ask questions of any business that is in partnership with a Forsyth County school. We feel that the answers will be much more positive than what has been presented by last Sunday’s article.
David and Lily McGregor
Editor’s note: The McGregors are owners of a local photography business.