I was at the local high school to judge an oratory contest when I picked up a senior portrait brochure. I don’t have a senior, but I advised yearbooks so long I can’t resist picking up a photo flyer — especially with a name like Gumbo Photeaux.
Great name, but could their photos match the creativity of the portrait service that took senior portraits of my son with his friend — the one from the pet shop where he worked? No, not a co-worker or cuddly kitten, but a long, very creepy, boa constrictor. Clever, memorable, individual.
The name Gumbo Photeaux is memorable – unique, clever, out of the ordinary. And that’s what you want photos to be when you select them for publication – just not too clever, unique or out of the ordinary. When it comes to yearbooks, professional photographers have an innate sense of good shots. It’s not the same, though, with family snapshots, especially when it comes to selecting them for yearbook tribute ads.
As a yearbook adviser, I saw some shocking baby photos over the years. In fact, I could write a long list of Photeaux No Geaux! tips for parents making student ads – whether it’s for fifth graders or graduating seniors.
Instead I‘ll ask two questions —
1) Will the photos make your kid the laughing stock of the school? Example: Is the naked baby in the bathtub cute enough to survive the heckling in the halls? Hold it, not that Halloween costume, either.
2) Is there anything in the background that will come back to haunt the family? Example: Is that a fifth of Jack Daniel’s next to the baby bottle? Look closer, that pink blur is Aunt Myrna’s backside in a bikini. Yikes!
Adviser’s secret advice to parents: Avoid surprise ads. Ask your student if they want an ad and, if so, ask them to choose the photos. And, please appreciate the fact that some kids don’t want the attention ads bring. When they say they don’t want an ad, they probably mean it.
If you get the go-ahead, you’ll appreciate the wording and photo advice from this California senior photography service. It’s some of the best I’ve seen.
One thing’s for sure, choosing the right memories to preserve, whether in print or online, is every bit as serious as choosing the right name for a business. By the way, I emailed Gumbo Photeaux’s owner for an interview. He’s a college student and wrote he was closing the business to concentrate full time on his education. I should have asked if he’d like to sell me his business name.