The Real Value of Portrait Photography

25 Nov 2020


What will your children find when they look for photos of you?  The back of a head?  Some hands, supporting them taking their first steps?  Some legs at the side of the image?  So often, mum’s are the ones saying ‘no, don’t get me in the picture’ or are the ones taking the photo.  They are there to support their children, and often do not think about the memories being recorded.  Make sure you exist in photos!  For your own memories, and for the memories that you leave behind.  

A lot of women object to being in photographs because of what they look like at the time.  But it doesn’t matter how much you weigh or what your size is – these factors do not impact on how much you are loved.  You can be big, curvy, fat, slim, skinny, flat and still be beautiful and deserving of love.  To your children, you are the most beautiful person in the world.  They love you unconditionally; it doesn’t matter what you look like.  And when you are gone, I bet they would give anything for a photograph of you, be it smiling and having fun with them, all snuggled up and having a nap with them, or just sitting and having a cup of tea.  Photographs and memories don’t have to be professional portraits.  Although this is a nice thing to do and has it’s own benefits, sometimes the most beautiful portrait can just be photograph capturing someone going about their day-to-day life. 


Research has shown that children that grow up in family homes and have photographs of them on the walls / on display, have increased self-worth.  

David Krauss, a psychologist from Cleveland, Ohio says, 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.”  Krauss is one of the earliest pioneers of PhotoTherapy, which is the use of family photography within mental health therapy.  

With regards to whether print or digital has the greatest positive impact on a child, Krauss says, “My bias is very simple. I think they (family photographs) should be on the wall.”  “I am very conservative about self-esteem and I think placing a family photo someplace in the home where the child can see it every day without having to turn on a device or click around on a computer to find it really hits home for that child this sense of reassurance and comfort.”  Krauss believes that we should place family portraits in the child’s bedroom so that it is one of the last things they see before sleep and one of the first things they see when they wake up.  “It says we love you and care about you. You’re important.”

As well as children, this works in a similar vein for adults.  Although you may not like your photograph being taken because you’ve never seen a portrait of yourself that you like, it stands to reason that if you have a portrait of yourself that you love and you display on your wall at home, your feeling of self-worth and self-respect will increase every time you see that photograph, and if you don’t already, you will soon start to believe that you matter, and deserve to be seen!

So with that in mind, schedule some time to sort through all your photos (and get some updated portraits if necessary) AND send some to print – be it in the form of a few small prints, an enlargement or a collection for the walls, or an album or book.  If you’d like any help with ideas for wall collections, I have a great board on Pinterest (click here).  And if you’d like any help with updating your portraits, you know who to call!