Parents Outraged After Shocking ‘Retouch’ Trend Impacts School Pictures

by : Cameron Frew on : 27 Oct 2021 18:41
Parents Outraged After Shocking 'Retouch' Trend Impacts School PicturesAlamy/@giselefetterman/Twitter

A shocking trend has emerged with businesses offering ‘retouching’ services for children’s photos.

We’ve all looked back on photos from our childhoods and cringed; it’s part of growing up, particularly questioning those dodgy hairdos from way back when. There’s always been pressure to look ‘good’ for school photos, but in the age of Instagram and editing software at the tap of a finger, it’s a different game altogether.


For example, Lifetouch offers parents the option of paying $12 for teeth whitening, skin-tone evening and blemish removal on their children’s photos.

Jennifer Greene, a mother from Maryland with a 12-year-old daughter, told the New York Post she was ‘shocked’ when she discovered the firm. ‘I completely disagree with it, because it’s teaching kids that they need to look perfect all the time and that they can change [a perceived flaw] with the click of a mouse,’ she said.

Greene took aim at the company on Twitter, writing, ‘I’m going to need someone to explain to me why @Lifetouch offers PHOTO RETOUCH for KIDS school pics?! What the hell?’


Kristin Loerns, a Florida mum, gave permission to Lifetouch for ‘basic retouching, which would be removing blemishes, and they removed all of his freckles instead’. She complained to the company, which then sent her the original photos of her son back.

In a viral TikTok, Whitney Rose, whose children are hearing-impaired, accused Lifetouch of removing her three-year-old son’s hearing aids. ‘It’s sending a message to him that part of who he is, his hearing loss, is something he should be ashamed of,’ she said.


Yamalis Diaz, a child psychologist at NYU Langone, warned that such editing could lead to children feeling ‘inadequate… Can that lead to some anxiety and depressed mood, eating disorders, body dysmorphia? Absolutely.’

In a statement, Lifetouch said, ‘Our goal is always to authentically capture each child we photograph. Photo retouch is an entirely opt-in service that customers choose to add on to photo packages. Most, if not all, school photography companies offer this service and it’s an expectation as an available option for schools.’

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Life, children, US


New York Post
  1. New York Post

    Parents outraged over school picture day ‘retouch’ trend