Parent takes free school photos for students during pandemic

Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 10:38 PM CST
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NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (KCRG) - One parent in the Iowa City Community School District is working to give families a snapshot of normal.

Early fall is the time of school pictures, but some districts haven’t been able to offer them yet, because of the pandemic.

Kristin Edwards, a mom in the Iowa City Community School District, found out about the opportunity to get school pictures over Facebook. She said she’s excited to get school photos taken for her two kids after the official pictures got postponed due to COVID-19.

“I think the kids look forward to being able to look back on pictures and see how they’ve grown, and it’s good for parents and grandparents and relatives, to you know, have milestones to go back and look at,” Edwards said.

Ottis Bunning lives in North Liberty and has two children in the Iowa City Community School District. He got the idea when he realized his own children hadn’t gotten any news of a school picture day: an idea to give families something positive to remember from 2020.

“I’m not a professional photographer by any means, but I am a full-time parent, and I know what everyone is going through, so anything I can do to shed a little light and happiness on 2020 is a good thing," Bunning said.

Bunning set up a studio in his garage with a golf tent and a sheet of fabric and used his children as models to make sure the photos were as close to the real thing as possible. Bunning started taking the free pictures last week, and so far he’s had almost 50 students come in.

“It’s time that I have, and I want to help. I like photography, I like editing photos, and I really like making people happy. That’s the biggest thing," Bunning said.

The Iowa City Community School District said it did delay school pictures because of COVID-19, but it will be revisiting options for offering them sometime later this year.

Bunning is currently booked through next week, and he’s planning to keep his studio up and running for as long as people want the portraits. Any families in the Iowa City Community School District who would like to learn more can find information on signing up here.

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