A spokeswoman for Lifetouch National School Studios Inc. said Saturday that the company sometimes touches up photos to cover blemishes and the like.
"What's different in this case is that Lifetouch staff altered the images they sent to the yearbook company," spokeswoman Sara Thurin Rollin said. "That doesn't happen."
The high school in a Dallas suburb had required Lifetouch to make heads the same size and eyes at the same level in all student photos. Rollin said the request was "unusual and definitely very particular, but that's not to suggest what happened here is acceptable."
Rollin declined to say if the company fired or reprimanded the employee who altered the images. She said the alterations were "an unfortunate lapse in judgment" but didn't believe it was malicious.
Rollin said Lifetouch will bear the full price of reprinting the yearbooks, which she estimated at $75,000, and get the new books in students' hands before they leave for the summer.
Lifetouch, based in Eden Prairie, Minn., takes photos for 28,000 schools and had never run into this kind of problem, she said.
More than 30 students had their photos altered in the yearbooks that were handed out this week. Several heads were atop bodies wearing the same clothes. Some students' necks were stretched, one girl's arm was missing, and another girl's head was placed on what appeared to be a nude body, with the chest blurred.
Lori Oglesbee, the school's yearbook, said the yearbook staff would spend the weekend rebuilding the yearbook.