Businesses are offering ‘retouch’ services so parents can edit their children’s school photographs to remove blemishes and whiten teeth, it has emerged.

Jennifer Greene told the New York Post she noticed US company Lifetouch charging $12 to remove so-called imperfections when they were hired by her child’s school in Maryland to take photos.

She said: “I completely disagree with [retouching a child’s school picture], 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.”

Meanwhile, in November, Florida based mother Kristin Loerns said the company removed her son’s freckles when she “gave permission for ‘basic retouching’”.

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She complained to Lifetouch who realtered the photos to her wishes.

Another mother, Whitney Rose, went viral on TikTok after sharing a video in which she claimed her three-year-old son’s hearing aids had been edited out from school pictures by a different unnamed company.


Maybe it was the lighting with new ear molds? #sahm #sahd #mom #deaf #hearingaids #asl #schoolphoto #photoediting #greenscreen

“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.

“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.”

And in 2019, Arizona based Sam Walker complained that her then 8-year-old’s school hired a company that “whitens teeth and evens skin tone”

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,” she said.

In a statement to The Post, 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.”

Indy100 has also contacted the company to comment on this story.

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