When I was a kid, this is how school pictures went down. It was the one - ONE - day a year that we got to wear civilian clothes instead of our uniforms, which made it the most glorious day next to Christmas. The most important part of ordering your package, prior to actual picture taking, was how many wallet size prints you got, for sharing with your friends. You sat down, hoped you didn't blink, and proceeded to wait for 4-6 weeks.
Nowadays, picture day is twice a year, for reasons I cannot imagine except photographer prosperity. My kids don't wear uniforms, so this is just another day, albeit one where Mom admonishes them to please stay clean as long as possible more fervently. And in this era of digital photography, it wouldn't be uncommon to see a proof fairly quickly and then decide whether to buy.
Except, that's not how it happens, at least in the fall. I still have to order a package before the pictures are snapped, and the cost has jumped considerably (I'm talking $20 for 2 prints total, at a minimum), despite the fact that processing is a whole lot simpler than it was in the days of film development. But these are the photos they will use in the yearbook, so I feel compelled to have them so I can see what's going down for posterity.
This does not hold true for spring pictures. I usually opt out of purchasing these, but still a few weeks after picture day, here comes an order sheet with a proof. Why can't they do that in the fall as well? I might actually want to buy both pictures if I can see their cuteness level before forking over the cash, instead of being enraged and solidly against ordering the second set purely based on this inane process.
Well, this rant is all to say, here are my kids this fall. They remain as cute as always. I'm still not enamored with the robo-smile stance that remains school picture default mode, but that's a tradition by now, right?