The value of a family portrait
Let’s talk family photos. Moms want them, Dads hate them, kids don’t want to smile or look at the camera at any age, so why even bother? Trust me, my wife will be the first to point fingers at me as “that Dad” that hates getting photos taken, and sadly, it’s true! I give her grief each year that she gives me the proverbial “let’s take some photos” speech. I hear from a lot of people that they will get photos once they’ve lost that last bit of weight and feel better about themselves, but I think what we don’t realize is how precious and few our time together is, and it is so important that we capture it for now and future generations.
I had an epiphany about 3 months ago – no joke – it was an eye opener. I am so passionate about what I do, but was trying to figure out exactly what my “why” was. Why do I do what I do? I was reading studies about the the therapeutic value of portraiture, and how it boosts the levels of confidence and acceptance in our children when portraits are displayed in our homes. Since I work so closely with youth in our high school senior market, it occurred to me that their need for approval and acceptance is a big reason why our kids post photos to social media. Seriously, just ask your kids or other youth that you know what they get from posting their lives on social media. I guarantee that the answer will be something about the excitement of people’s reactions and the interactions they have with their peers. They want to see how many great comments or likes they can get. Essentially, they want affirmation that they are important. So I read this, and I asked myself the question that if our kids are needing affirmation and the feeling of importance through social media, why are there so many of us not displaying family or other such portraits in our own homes to let them know they are important to us? Mind. Blown. This is my why. My why is to provide beautiful artwork for people and families that tells a story, but not one that just sits in a drawer, on a disc, or is lost in countless files on your computer. A story that can be treasured, looked at, and loved for years to come. A story that makes the most important people in our whole world feel like they matter at such a crucial time in their lives.
I imagine that so many of you have gotten photos in the past, and they were beautiful, but perhaps they are sitting on a computer, or on a disk of some sort in your drawer. No judgements here, but our family photos belong on display! Isn’t that why we got them in the first place? Surely it wasn’t just to post them online to get likes and then forget about it. We spend thousands of dollars on furniture, televisions, or art and decor pieces that are hung or proudly displayed in our homes. Of course we want people to come into our homes and ogle over that new living room set or 85” TV we bought, but what’s really important to us is our family and showing off the amazing people in our lives. I know that sometimes large portraits on our walls are just not for everyone, and I totally respect that. If that hits home with you, albums have become a popular option to preserve memories, so that you can pick it up and reminisce anytime you want. The important thing is to have something tangible that can be looked at, loved, and passed down for years to come.
The time we have with our children at home is only 18 years. I know that sounds like a lot, but I also know that as a parent, it flies by faster than anything. As a photographer, it is my responsibility to make the process as painless, fun, and unforgettable as possible – even for Dad.