23 Photographers Share the Most Cringeworthy School Portraits They’ve Taken

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When are school photos ever fun? And who are school photos for, anyway? It certainly isn’t for the kids taking them and parents probably hate school photo day, too. Our parents put so much effort into hoping that we look good for photos or maybe there’s the parents that just don’t give a f*ck but one thing’s for certain, they almost always look bad.

Seriously though, when do school portraits ever look good? I remember dreading school photo day because my mom would dress me up in the most ridiculous outfits. I still remember the oversized Mickey Mouse t-shirt and bright striped shorts that I had to wear one year. Really, mom? Who thought that was cute? No one. Ever.

The people that  had the most fun during school photo day were probably the photographers. They’ve probably seen some sh*t. Kids are weirdos, let’s admit it. There’s a large amount of weirdo kids that school photographers may have a list of over the years that they’ve been doing this and the stories they’ve accumulated are at least entertaining.

These 23 photographers admit cringeworthy moments while taking school portraits:


Some kid showed up in a fursuit. Like, full on fursuit. A bright blue fox, and he ended up having a half hour long argument with the photographer and assistant principal over it.


I did senior portraits and this really nerdy lookin kid wanted photos with his two samurai swords. I tried my best to make it look cool but… I just… couldn’t.


Spent 15 min with a guy because he blinked every time I took the photo. I tried everything in my book, making him close and open his eyes before snapping the picture, delaying the flash, shooting without flash, taking the picture while talking to him so he’ll be distracted. Nothing worked.


One of the people I work with was shooting a little girl per request of mom. She tried like hell to make her smile but she refused. She wasn’t rude or upset, just very shy and quiet and uncomfortable taking photos. Mom told the photographer that a week prior the photographer at her school told her she had a weird/funny/ugly looking smile and to learn to smile better. Since then the little girl refused to smile in any picture. Mom brought her in to see if our photographers could change that. I think she got some decent shots but man, I remember what it was like getting shut down like that as a kid, it was devastating.

Written by Irvi Torremoro

Irvi Torremoro is an Austinite by way of Las Vegas. She's worked in various outlets in food & beverage and is now focused on writing, eating all the things, talking about Beyonce, and petting all the puppies. She runs, a lifestyle blog about people in the service industry.