What Your Grade School Picture Day Backdrop Says About You

Picture Day, aka The Worst Day Of Every Child’s Life, is a staple in American culture. While kids are forced to participate in this vain tradition well into college, the celebration of Picture Day is most egregious during elementary school. This is true for any number of reasons; the little black combs that screamed “You’re not good enough, fix up you little slob;” the photo assistant forcing a mirror into your gawky, loose-toothed face (what a nightmare); the dressing up in your asinine Sunday’s Best for an entire school day. Worst (or best) of all – choosing your Picture Day backdrop. Who knew that in choosing a Picture Day backdrop, you were choosing your destiny? Behold, what your grade school Picture Day backdrop says about you. Probably. Maybe.

Bursting Stars – You were really into making peace signs and wearing mood rings. Your parents let you do your own hair. You owned too many friendship bracelets and will one day own too many hemp bracelets. Your parents probably smoke weed, and you’ll follow in their footsteps.

Bookshelf – Your parents were sentenced to reading to you every night as soon as you learned how to speak, so naturally, they chose the book backdrop on your behalf. You loved reading, but felt like perhaps that wasn’t the most defining aspect of your personality. You were a star who didn’t get to burst (blame your parents). One day, you’ll learn that namedropping classic novels will earn hesitant respect from whoever you’re holding conversationally hostage, and maybe even sex.

Foliage – You were probably born in autumn, the superior season, and you’ll never let anyone forget it. You probably have brown hair and eyes. Back-to-school shopping used to give you a boner. In a few years, you will own a pair of Birkenstocks. You’ll be classified as Bohemian later on in life.

Forestry – You’re going to play sports, soccer most likely. You have strong calves. If you’re a boy, you have a mushroom cut. You’re probably wearing one of those fake letterman jackets with a royal blue body and white leather sleeves. You’ve been fishing at least once in your young life. You will have no trouble getting laid, at least until after college when your jock-like charm fails to translate into the real world.

Lasers – You were born between the late ‘70s and the mid ‘80s. Your parents were obsessed with Star Trek. You’d consume way too much sugar at lunchtime and perhaps not coincidentally, you were the first in your class to be prescribed Ritalin. During your adolescence, you created a bunch of websites which you later abandoned, leaving Geocities graveyards all over the internet. You will grow up to be an engineer of some sort; perhaps you’ll head a tech startup.

Chalkboard – You were kind of dorky, and this backdrop did nothing to help your cause. Of course, you would’ve chosen Lasers—it was your dweeb parents who checked off the ‘Chalkboard’ box on the Picture Day questionnaire. One day, you’ll lose the glasses and the rat-tail and your Chalkboard picture will make members of the preferred sex swoon. Early-onset intellectuality and the ability to embrace your inner nerd will save the day! (Like… 15 years later.)

Blue Skies – Your parents remembered it was Picture Day at the last second. They will not be ordering additional wallet-sized photos. You will likely forget to invite them to your wedding.

All of the Above – Because we’ve endured almost twenty years of Picture Day, it’s likely that we’ve all been Laser Kid or Foliage Guy at some point in our lives. You explored your options at a time when being a chameleon was cute and expected, not indicative of some sort of personality disorder. You’re probably a well-rounded adult who cringes at the sight of your Picture Day photos. Congratulations. TC mark


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1552230509 Blake Austin

    “Back-to-school shopping used to give you a boner.” It still does. 

  • ME


  • Anonymous

    What about the brick wall? There was always a brick wall!

  • http://twitter.com/Little_d33 Daniella Gullo

    Photos would have added a certain something to this post

    • http://omgstephlol.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      Too many copyright issues, though commenting with attachments of your own terrible school photos is highly encouraged. Or, you can just settle for my embarrassing photo that accompanies the article.

    • http://omgstephlol.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      Too many copyright issues, though commenting with attachments of your own terrible school photos is highly encouraged. Or, you can just settle for my embarrassing photo that accompanies the article.

  • The Middle Child

    BAHAHA. yes, blue skies.

  • anon

    What about getting Lifetouch photos? You could only pick from four or five different colored backgrounds….grayish blue was standard (and least expensive), then there was purple, royal blue, an amber-brown, and green. Only the “rich” kids got colors. And it always matched their eyes.

    • dechonmustard

      Yeah, I only had grayish-blue :( I think I was allowed to choose royal blue one year, which matched my eyes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=46601588 Meghan McCrimmon

      Grey-ish blue was my middle-class family’s portrait background color of choice.  I used to HATE those kids who got the different colored backgrounds that matched their eyes.  Those kids lived in the McMansion newer developments that were built ca. 1994 on streets called “Woodbrook View” or “Meadowcreek Lane”.  I only lived in a neighborhood of houses that were built in 1971 and sat on streets named after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

  • http://www.twitter.com/kkasie19 kasie

    Foliage? Bookshelf? Did you go to some private school or some shit? My public ass school used LifeTouch and we had to choose from colors like  Amber, Jade, Amethyst, Grey, and Blue. Am I alone on this? lol

    • http://omgstephlol.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      Haha, no, I went to public school. I had LifeTouch in Jr. High, when we were too mature for bookshelves and foliage. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001702321197 Sasha Jones

      Our school lets us choose between blue and blue!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    Pink background, purple sweater. Every year forever.

  • shorepound

    Lasers all day long. And yes I’m a web developer now. No ritalin for me, though, I used it recreationally in college.

  • Alex

    I always had to get the bookshelf, but always wanted to get the lasers. And my parents started reading to me before I could speak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/t.jason.ham Jason Ham


    I cannot relate to this article or any of these comments AT ALL. And we HAD LifeTouch. Wtffffff.


    • a.

      Or you just grew up in the early 90’s… 

  • Anonymous

    For my kindergarten picture, they made us all individually stand in front of a white background that had been splattered with paint and then we had to hold a paintbrush to give the ~illusion~ that we’d done it. My parents LOVED it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ecnadac11 Constant Writer

    This is amazing! Choosing your picture backdrops?? Catholic school did not allow us or could not afford to allow us to do this until we were on the way out. We got to pick them once for our eighth grade photos, but that was the one and only time. And yes, I’m sure with my choice, bohemian is probably pretty accurate :)

  • CausticWit

    Always with the blue skies. Damn you, single mothers.

    • http://omgstephlol.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

      Um… this is the best comment ever.

  • CausticWit

    Always with the blue skies. Damn you, single mothers.

  • EP

    I’m so angry with my elementary and junior high schools for not allowing us to pick our background. Sometimes I had a tree behind me, sometimes it was a bookshelf.

    Hate you, LifeTouch and middle class suburban elementary school.

  • Anonymous


  • Sophia

    My backdrop was always grey. What does that say about me?

  • Anonymous


  • http://twitter.com/Raconteur21 Vicky Rose

    My schools always had the same background for everyone.  I would have to stand awkwardly, with my arm around my little brother, in front of some awful autumnal/woodland/countryside backdrop.  No matter how hideous it looked my gran would still want a copy every year.  Even the year I cut my own fringe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1604632544 Madison White

    Everyone at my school had the same foliage background, but DAMN that description is accurate!

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