Photographer Kim Brooks stands patiently among a row of cameras and lights as her first customer arrives. Brooks walks over, smooths the young girl's long, straight hair and tells her to raise her chin. She clicks the camera shutter. The lights flash from under the studio umbrellas set up in the school gym. She clicks it again. She'll take several hundred before the day is done.
"You look like you were trying to do a math problem," Brooks tells the student. "Want to try smiling next time?"
But on school picture day, these students at Pinellas Park Middle aren't always into smiling. To many, it's embarrassing. So some frown a little. Some try to look dead serious.
Some parents want to show off their kids no matter how the photo turns out.
"Last year I was really nervous because I didn't like my pictures," said Princess Ina Gonzales. "But my mom put them on Facebook."
Michelle Hoffman said she usually doesn't like her pictures either. "My mom just throws my pictures in a drawer."
Elizabeth Berry steps in front of the camera. But before smiling, she has a question for the photographer. "Can I see my picture after so I can make sure I look good?" After the click, she stands up and leans over the playback screen.
Savannah Curry also wanted to see the end result.
"I like that one," she said, pointing to her favorite of the two taken.
"I look pretty in it. Which is saying a lot because I'm usually self-conscious."