Students get portrait pictures taken while in pandemic

Katya Tarabrina, Blue M Editor-and-Chief

With the new hybrid and remote learning, picture day looked a lot different last week than in prior years.

Presented with the new normal following the pandemic, the conditions of taking school photos changed drastically.

“For the sophomores [the process], it was very chaotic,” principal’s secretary Barbara Clark said. “The names weren’t alphabetized, and so … it took us a lot of time…but as soon as the company reprinted their list alphabetically… and then it went real well. And I thought the photographers did a nice job.”

This year, the on-site students’ pictures were taken while students were socially distanced according to safety guidelines. The amount of people in line was also cut short to prevent overcrowding. Though there is still a pandemic, the photos were taken with masks off. 

Besides the rules for social distancing and sanitation, everything else remained the same for picture day. Students got a packet in Advisory, and they had the choice to pay online or pay via the order form. 

Remote students came to the East Campus gymnasium to have their pictures taken last Wednesday.

“It brings on a set of unique challenges,” local Strawbridge Studios representative Scott Shanks said. “I’ve done this for 35 years and I’m used to interacting with the children and having some fun with them, and it’s harder to do that with the social distancing.”

Strawbridge Studios, a family owned studio going back 95 years, is new to USD 383 this year, replacing LifeTouch.

“It’s spectacular [working with Manhattan High],” Shanks said. “Everyone is wonderful and friendly.” 

The company was changed from Lifetouch to Strawbridge due to multiple complaints from students, parents and faculty about slow and low quality service. 

“With LifeTouch we had a lot of issues,” Clark said. “With cameras failing and iPads failing and so it took a lot of time and it was very frustrating.”

Those difficulties didn’t show up with the new company, though social distanced and done with new guidelines, the work they did impressed the people at MHS.

“Everything went smoothly, they were ready, they got us in, got us out and took care of it,” Clark said.

The company itself is very local and not a corporation, which makes the work quality a lot better.

“[Strawbridge Studios is] about the people,” Shanks said. “When you stop and think about it, a school picture is a school picture. It’s about the people we employ, nice people, [people that] really care about the students.”