If you shiver at the idea of being in a family photograph, you are not alone! I’d say nine out of the ten parents that come to my photography studio would rather shy away from being in any of the photographs we create.
But for the sake of our children, it seems we all need to be a bit braver and get in front of the camera. Professor Geoff Beattie, Dean of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester says “We cannot underestimate the power of photographs to keep us feeling linked to others and belonging. They cement us into our networks. For children in particular, looking at a photograph is part of the socialising process. ”
And these days, with so much media and imagery around us, it’s easy to see how big a part of our children’s lives photography and imagery has become.
“By displaying photographs of our children,” Beattie says “We are making a very public statement that we are proud of them. Photographs are an incredibly important way of connecting with our sense of self, with each other and with times gone by.”
Making a family photograph is certainly a public statement about your family and also a wonderful way to enjoy quality family time. The event itself is fun and the photograph is a permanent reminder that you all enjoyed this great time together. The Child Development Institute lists family time as essential in ensuring that a child feels important and loved and to ensure that the parent and child develop a stronger bond. The US Department of Health report seven steps to healthy parenting, and top of their list is spending time together as a family.
When I ask clients why they don’t want to be in a family photograph, they often talk about their current weight or their hair, but as one of my clients Nicola Loat said when she visited me recently for her family photograph “This is how we look”.
There will always be a dozen reasons we can give for not getting in front of the camera, but they’re all superficial. What we need to remember is our children love us unconditionally, however we look. By making a family photograph, we are telling our children that we love them, that they are important and we want to spend time with them. And at the end of the day that is going to make your child into a better person whether your hair is perfect or not!