In the age of selfies, we can often overlook the value in family portraits. With our busy schedules and distractions everywhere, setting up a family portrait session can seem like a burden and just another task on our to-do list. It is easy to focus on the negative aspects when booking a family portrait session, but we rarely consider the benefits that family portraits can offer by boosting your child's self-esteem.
The Murfreesboro Study
In 1975, a well-known study was conducted with a group of fourth graders in a Murfreesboro, Tennessee school by Tulane University. The children were selected to participate based on low scores on a self-esteem test. They were given Polaroid cameras with an assignment to take pictures of themselves in a variety of poses that expressed both different and specific emotions they were experiencing. Over the course of five-week study, the children used those 60 photographs of themselves to create scrapbooks. After the five weeks had passed, the students were tested once more. Not surprisingly, the students' test scores showed a significant increase in their behavioral self-esteem.
Why Family Portraits?
The Murfreesboro study underscores that just being surrounded by pictures of themselves can encourage children to have higher levels of self-esteem. The book, “Photo Therapy and Mental Health” co-authored by Dr. David Krauss and Jerry Fryrear is considered a founding text for the use of photography in therapy. Dr. Krauss strongly advocates for having family photos displayed in a gallery within the home. This shows children that they are important to this family.
Photographs Strengthen a Family
Family photo sessions help to create a stronger bond within families. They allow children to see and feel the security and their place within the family. Taking these pictures and displaying them prominently throughout the home can show children how valuable they are to the family unit. Being able to look at their photographs allows a child (even a young child) to comprehend where they fit in and the importance they bring to the whole family.
"It's important not only to be photographed in ways that indicate caring, nurturing, love and success but also to see those images and take them in," Dr. Krauss had stated.
When portraits are displayed in the home the this love and compassion within the family is displayed for all to see.
Instill a Sense of Self
Even babies can recognize themselves in a mirror or photograph. Their faces light up in a moment of delight. Being able to look at and see pictures of themselves in the home can help instill a sense of self and to reinforce they are valued members of the family.
Print Your Photos
As a photographer, I always advocate to print your photographs. I know that we live in a digital age, where 99% of our photos are taken on a smart phone and instantly shared on our favorite social media platform. For this reason, I include high resolution digital images in all of my portrait sessions. However, I feel like the portrait session is merely the first step. It is essential to print those photographs. Display the love within your family throughout your home and show your children what they mean to your family.