Why You Should Spend More for these Backgrounds in your Lifetouch School Photos

by Barrett

It’s another Picture Day! Here’s why choosing the right background is the most important part of your kid’s Lifetouch Picture Day portrait. And what exactly is the right background…?

Our son’s 7th grade school ‘Picture Day’ is coming up, and it’s time again to decide which Lifetouch photo package to order. Sure, it’s nice to have another official ‘portrait,’ but I’ve already got plenty of photos of our twelve year old. For me, the reason to pay for yet another Lifetouch picture is only if it visually represents a specific moment in time. If you can’t tell it’s his 7th grade photo, what’s really the point?

While you can also write that detail on the back of a physical print, it’s best if the photograph itself displays the year or his grade.

The Two Best Digital Backgrounds
The ‘standard’ background offered in the less expensive photo packages is relatively useless. It’s just a colored background. That gives no indication that it’s a school portrait from a specific year.

In the old days, it may have been worth it to have one of these generic ‘professional photos’ for the coffee table. But today, come on… aren’t we all photographers who are capable of capturing countless amazing moments of our children to frame?

The standard background is a non-starter… I don’t need it. Don’t want it. Not worth it.

And remember, the portrait is shot on a green screen. In the post production process, the digital backgrounds can be easily changed with a click of a button. It really costs nothing to switch them around. (This is all about the perceived value of something, and what people will pay for it.)

Here are the two best digital backgrounds:

  • 7th Grade
  • 2022-2023

Either of those backgrounds provide the critical context. Without context, the photos aren’t school photos.

So, will you pay more for the right background in your kid’s Picture Day photo?

That’s certainly the hook for me.

The Digital-Only Package
I really only require the digital file of the portrait. (I can print out my own photos, thank you very much.) There’s no need to pay a premium for a physical print.

Clearly Lifetouch knows this, and they’ve been pretty stingy over the years giving up digital files, and they baked them into the more expensive packages.

Happily, this year, Lifetouch offers a Digital-Only Package for $34.99.

For that price, you get two digital files and no physical prints. It’s actually the same photo, but you get that generic background with the first photo file. Fortunately, the second photo file can have the background of your choice.

So really, you’re getting one jpeg for thirty five bucks.
(Then, you’ve got to print it out yourself, if you want a hard copy.)

The Basic Package
By comparison:

The least expensive Basic Package is $19.99.

  • You get one digital file with the awful standard background
  • And a few physical pics with the same standard background

Not interested.

And what do the more expensive packages get you?

The Plus Package
The $49.99 ‘Plus Package’ provides:

  • A whopping 5 digital files with the background of your choice
  • Plus your kid’s name and grade listed on the bottom of the photo
  • And all of the prints you’ll never really need (1 8×10, 4 5×7, 2 3×5, 8 2×3 wallets)

Do I need 5 digital backgrounds? No, not at all. (Only the two matter to me.)
Do I need all of those prints? Nope.

All that said, is it nice to have a couple prints? Sure. That way, I don’t have make the effort to print anything out. It’s delivered and done.

Delivered and Done
Is it worth $15 more to get what I really want and not have to boot up the Lester Printing Factory?

Or should I just spend $35 on the Digital-Only Package to get the one usable file and call it a day?

I’m sure the execs at Lifetouch have spent a fair amount of time noodling over this exact question.

$50 for what you want or $35 for what you need?

On mylifetouch.com, the Plus Package is promoted as “Best Value.”
After all of my griping on this topic, I must admit…that much is absolutely true.

Plus it is.


Fifty Bucks a Year?
Will I ever break free from my annual spend for Picture Day?

(I certainly haven’t reached escape velocity yet.)

But here’s one way to resolve my ongoing dilemma, if at least at least for another year…

At the end of the day, all I really want are the digital files with the background of my choice. Plus.. maybe one physical print for the convenience of not having to do it myself.

And how much does Lifetouch charge for an extra 8×10?

So by choosing the Plus Package for $49.99, I’ve actually saved myself two bucks!
(By comparison, the Digital Package plus the à la carte 8×10 print = $52)

I call that Lester Math Logic.

Happy Picture Day. And don’t forget to smile.