WHY ARE FAMILY PORTRAITS SO IMPORTANT??
Tell Your Story!
I recently surveyed my friends and clients about their experiences and opinions on photography. One of the questions in the survey asked if they had taken a photo with their child/family. I was pleasantly surprised to see that majority of those who completed the survey had in fact answered Yes to this question. My heart swelled at this information. You'll often hear me preach about the importance of photography, but I'm a photographer so DUH Of course I feel it's important! Through the survey though I found that so many of you also see this importance.
Now on the Flip-side I was also rather disappointed in some of the answers, one in particular hit home for me, the question was " As a woman I would invest in photos of myself to pass down to my Children. True or False". The result was about an even split ( actually 45% Yes and 55% No). Many have heard the story of why I set out at a young age to be a photographer. When I was about 11 years old a Family member lost her mother to Cancer, she only had one photo of her mother. In the Photo her mother was hiding behind someone else trying to avoid the camera, because "she hated to have her picture taken". Even at the age of 11 I felt this family member's sadness at the fact this was all she had left.
I make sure my husband and I have our Portraits Made at least Bi-annually. No we don't have kids yet, but I want to make sure they know the love that they came from when they finally do arrive. Once we have a child I will make our Family Portraits an annual occurrence. I know that might be a pipe dream right now, I know that life with kids gets crazy and busy. I know that money will be tight in those first few years, but I also know that the money spent on portraits will be an afterthought when I'm sending my son or daughter off to college. I know that I will miss the tiny baby curls after their first haircut, and the missing front teeth once the big kid teeth come in. I know I'll miss all these things about my kids when they have far surpassed these life stages, but what will my kids miss of me if I'm not in any of those pictures with them? Will they miss that time I had that really weird haircut when they were 3 years old? Will they miss the way that their chubby little baby legs wrap my waist as I hold them at a Year old? Will they know how important their father is to me now, before they were even here? No. They aren't going to remember these things, because they will be too young to remember these things. A photograph can remind them. A photograph can help them see. They'll be able to see who we are before, during and after them.
Your Children LOVE YOU!
Do you know the biggest reason moms give me for booking a family portrait session?
"I'm never in any of the pictures, it's always the baby/kids and my husband."
"I'm never in any of the pictures"
Just let that sink in a moment. I applaud these Mamas for realizing that they were missing and for doing something about it. I know I will be that mom. This may surprise some of you, knowing my husband is an amazing artist, but he refuses to learn how to use my SLR. Already the ratio of pictures of him is way higher than pictures of me. Now in all fairness he's more worried he will break it than actually refusing the knowledge, but still. So ladies I feel you, my scrapbooks are uneven too. Having someone else take the picture is the best way I can figure to show up in pictures in those first few years.
In the last year I've seen this article pop up in my Facebook timeline more than a few times. If you have never read it, it's basically about how much your child loves you in spite of the flaws mothers see physically in themselves. ( I warn you now you might cry reading it).
After moms tell me they are never in the pictures I tell them how a family session with Wonderland Portrait Boutique works. I always start off with the family shots then move on to each parent with the kids, the kids together and individually and then mom and dad together. 'Mom and Dad together' is probably the biggest objection I get for small family sessions "Oh we don't need that" "I'd rather the rest just be the kids". I don't know if people feel silly or what, but the Parents together is always a favorite shot during my extended family sessions. During these sessions generally Mom and Dad are now grandparents with older kids, it's the older "kids" (who are now parents themselves) that encourage their parents (grandmom and grandpop at this point) to get a photo together. So obviously it's important to the children that they have a nice photo of their parents. So when you say to me "we" don't need that, don't be surprised if I tell you, It's not for you, it's for the kids when they are older.
It's Good for your Kids!
The reasons to schedule an annual family portrait far out weigh capturing this moment in time.
There is also the fact that displaying family photos in your home improves your child's self esteem and gives them a sense of place and purpose. This past February Design Aglow posted an article to their blog on this very subject. Here are a few quotes:
“I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit."
“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced,“
“It says we love you and care about you. You’re important.” '
You can read the rest of this article here
A LOT Changes in a Year!
The photos below are from two sessions, almost a full year apart. The Family session with the pink outfits is from May 2014 and the mommy and me session in teal is from this past June (2015). I looked at these together for the first time today, and this is a perfect example of how much changes in a year. Although dad isn't in the second session, because it was a special for mother's day, he came to the session, so I can tell you he looks pretty much the same, as does mom. Their Daughter though almost looks like a totally different kid. Look at the little sass and attitude she has now and THAT HAIR!! Seriously the cutest little personality, and so funny! Last year at around 1 she wasn't as responsive to me, which I'm not ashamed to admit, that is just how it goes some days. One year olds sometimes just don't care that I am there and on a mission to photograph them. This year though she was my best pal, and posed. In just a year, actually 11 months, her personality has blossomed and really started to show to the point I was able to capture it in Photographs. Now lets not count out that first session. It really shows how she loved to interact with her parent at that age, which will be huge to her when she is going off to college.
Get in the Picture, Your children will thank you for it!