A Maryland mother was 'shocked' after finding out that the company in charge of taking her daughter's school pictures was urging parents to pay an extra $12 fee for retouching.
Jennifer Greene, 43, a travel blogger and social media administrator, said she was concerned about the affect that the services could have on her 12-year-old daughter Madeline.
'I completely disagree with it,' she told The New York Post. 'It's teaching kids that they need to look perfect all the time and that they can change with the click of a mouse.'
The services include digital teeth whitening, skin-tone evening, and blemish removal and are even offered to parents of pre-K children.
After reviewing the options on her seventh-grader daughter package, Greene shared her frustration on Twitter.
Jennifer Greene, 43, a travel blogger and social media administrator, said she was concerned about the affect that the services could have on her 12-year-old daughter Madeline
'I'm going to need someone to explain to me why @Lifetouch offers PHOTO RETOUCH for KIDS school pics?! What the hell?!',' she wrote.
Lifetouch did not answer Greene, but in a statement to The Post the company said that their goal 'is always to authentically capture each child we photograph.'
The company added that retouching services are offered on an opt-in basis and parents are under no obligation to pay for it.
Tampa mother and photographer Kristin Loerns went through a similar situation with Lifetouch in November 2020.
When she received her son Kieran's school pictures, his freckles were nowhere to be seen in the little boy's face.
'I gave permission for 'basic retouching,' which would be removing blemishes, and they removed all of his freckles instead,' she told The Post.
After complaining to the company, she received a new set of pictures with her son's freckles.
Meanwhile, another mother became viral on TikTok after sharing a video in which she claimed her three-year-old son's hearing aids had been edited out from her school pictures.
BEFORE RETOUCHING (left) and AFTER (right): Ten-year-old Kieran Loerns' freckles have been removed in his school photos
Tampa mother and photographer Kristin Loerns was outraged with the touchup
The retouching services offered to parents include teeth whitening, skin-tone evening, and blemish removal and are even offered to parents of pre-K children
Whitney Rose said that the editing was sending the message that her son's hearing loss was something he should be ashamed of.
'My son's hearing aids were photoshopped out of his school photos. Is he ok right now? Technically yes, he's 3 years old, he doesn't understand what it means,' Rose said in another TikTok.
'Does it really matter if it's edited or not? Absolutely. How would you like it if somebody edited your nose off your face? That's kind of part of you. It's crucial to you in your development.
'I completely disagree with, because it's teaching kids that they need to look and that they can change with the click of a mouse,' Greene said
After complaining to the company, Loerns received a new set of pictures with her son's freckles
'These are my son's hearing aids, they help him hear. They're part of who he is, he likes them. He likes the color of them, he asks for them.
'If they continue to take those photos and edit them like that, he's eventually going to catch on, and eventually, it is going to affect him,' she added.
In the comment section, parents agreed with Rose's concerns.
Rebecca Beams, a graphic designer, said: 'This is so wrong! As a graphic designer, we learned photo editing and were taught to never take away anything that made the person unique...'
Child psychologist Yamalis Diaz told The Post that children are yet to develop a deep understanding of themselves and seeing their faces and bodies severely retouched in pictures could be damaging for their self-image.
'Could that start to make them feel inadequate? … Can that lead to some anxiety and depressed mood, eating disorders, body dysmorphia? Absolutely,' she said.