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It's not every day that your child's school pictures feature nothing but their floating head and arms...
But that's exactly what Laurel Boone Hutsell experienced when her son Carter, a 7th grader this year, had an interesting school picture fail.
As Laurel recounts in an article she wrote for Love What Matters, though Carter is growing up, he still talks to her about everything and allows her to have input on important things, like what to wear for picture day. This year, they selected a green dry-fit polo shirt.
Their conversations about the shirt he should wear went as follows:
Me: ‘You have the dark gray, but that might blend in with the gray background they used in last year’s picture.’
Me: ‘You also have the navy, but you have already worn that one before. And last year you had this darker turquoise color on.’ We referred back to the 6th grade ‘head and shoulders only’ picture that is proudly hung in our foyer.
Carter: ‘Yeah, okay. So what do we have left?’
Me: ‘Well, this green one. That should look great against the gray or taupe background. Whatever they use.’
So, it's not like Carter threw on whatever shirt he could grab first from his closet. He and his mother really thought things through based on past picture day experiences.
Little did they know that they were setting themselves up for a big surprise (and a viral one, at that!).
After picture day, Carter came home and said, "Mom, I shouldn’t have worn the green shirt for pictures. It will blend in with the green screen they used."
Since past experience told her that there was no green screen (and since there was no fine print indicating that a green screen would be used this go-round), you can imagine Laurel's surprise upon hearing the news.
Nevertheless, Laurel didn't worry too much about it, thinking that perhaps the photos would be okay.
Two days later when she received the proofs via email, Laurel realized that the photos were not okay!
As you can see, Carter's green shirt blended in perfectly with the green screen the photographer used, just as Carter feared when he came home from school on picture day.
The floating head and arms weren't what Laurel (or Carter, for that matter) were looking for, but you have to admit it makes for quite the funny story.
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Even better, Carter looks great in the photos!
Laurel coached her son on how to smile and make sure his hair looked good, too.
As Laurel recalls, upon seeing the proofs, "I could not stop laughing. Each picture was better than the next. The flags? That autumn scene with the fence? I really couldn’t believe my handsome boy’s head and arms were just floating there. I showed my husband and we got such a good laugh from it. And guess what? His smile and hair are PERFECT! HA!"
Asked what her favorite photo of the bunch was, Laurel picked the patriotic flag theme. That's not a bad choice!
And Carter's reaction upon seeing the photos?
"I told you so," he said with a big smile.
The Hutsell's experience underscores the incredible power of photography, and that even when things do go quite as planned, photos still have the capacity to make someone's day and make the world just a little bit better.
After a few days of getting tons of messages from friends and strangers alike and having her Facebook post on the matter go viral, Laurel no doubt understands how this #MomFail has brought so many people joy.
"As moms, we do the best we can," she says. "We love our kids. We support. We encourage. And we try to prepare. But in the end, there’s a chance our kids will still have a floating head in a flag, autumn scene or brick wall. And that my friends, is a hilarious thing to be okay with.”
After an employee of the picture company was tagged in her Facebook post, Laurel has been reassured that the company will key out a different color so that Carter's shirt actually appears in the photos.
I don't know about you, but I think these photos are fine just the way they are!
Laurel has been married to her husband, Brian, for 14 years. They have two sons, Carter, 12, and Keaton, 9. Both boys are very involved in sports, particularly baseball and soccer.
All images courtesy of Laurel Boone Hutsell and are used with permission.