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Virtually everyone has a camera in their pocket these days, but it’s no substitute for a professional family portrait you can hang proudly in your home. When you think of your own childhood home, you can probably visualise the family portraits, right down to the clothing you wore and your family’s expressions. The truth is, these photos become an important reference point in knowing your ties to the family, and hold memories that stand the test of time. The legacy of family portraits may carry through for your children’s own families too, so it’s important to make time for them! Our friends at Flat-Rate Photography canvass the reasons why professional family portraits are relevant for children’s development and offer some handy tips for taking the perfect family portrait.
1- Boosts a child’s self-esteem
Judy Weiser, an American psychologist and art therapist, is a premier authority on the use of photo-based therapy and affirms that “family portraiture lets children learn who they are and where they fit”. Portraits allow children to develop a sense of self-awareness in an intuitive way – encouraging feelings of love and belonging beyond their physical presence. To help boost your child’s self-esteem in a practical way, it’s a great idea to have photographs/portraits displayed in your child’s bedroom, so it can be among the last things they see before sleep and among the first things they see before beginning their day. These visual reminders will comfort them in the knowledge that their family is always there to support them through life, no matter what difficulties arise.
2- Helps kids understand their place in the family
Parents shouldn’t underestimate the importance of visual cues in reinforcing the family unit – especially when kids are younger and still learning about the significance of family. Sure, you may have plenty of happy snaps stored within photo albums or on your computer/hard drive, but these are only accessible once prompted. A framed portrait positioned in the home serves as a brief yet constant daily reminder of ‘this is where I come from, and this is where I belong.’ The act of coming together to take a photo will also give your children an appreciation for the concept of family lineage and prompt their curiosity. This is especially so if you have additional photos of relatives located around the living room, which can help kids situate their own generation in this family order and prompt you to share stories.
3- Documents their growth
Yearly photographs are embraced when it comes to school photos – so why not family portraits? Kids grow and mature so quickly, and the ability to capture those changes as they happen, and as a group (instead of piecing together a series of disjointed, separate photos), is such an important keepsake. A regret for many families down the track is that they didn’t take enough photos together – it’s never the other way around! Each family adopts their own unique traditions in capturing milestones – you may have even heard about parents taking a photo of their kids every single day in the same pose until their pre-teens, to document growth. Whilst taking a photo every single day is bordering on overkill, a yearly or bi-yearly family portrait is an excellent way to capture the likeness and personality of your family as it grows and evolves together.
4- Teaches them family values
Taking photos for posterity and to commemorate family, offers kids a healthy element of sentimentality, togetherness and family pride. Especially for older kids growing up in today’s ‘selfie’ culture, photography tends not to be associated with the family unit as much. Therefore, portraits are an ideal way to restore that link between family and photos and preserve those connections. Depending on their age, your kids might resist photos at the time, but they will surely come to treasure them dearly as they get older. Furthermore, establishing a portrait tradition in your family is likely to carry through into your kids’ future and be applied to their own families.
Tips for taking a great family portrait
- Make sure everyone is well-rested and well-fed before you arrive at the studio – fatigue and hunger will cause restlessness and impatience that will set the tone for the photoshoot.
- When choosing outfits, aim for complementing colours and prints instead of completely matching clothing. You can’t go wrong by sticking to colours that suit yours and your kids’ complexion, and by adding a bright pop of colour here and there for contrast.
- Reconsider the ‘say cheese’ tradition – remember, not everyone has to be looking and smiling directly at the camera at the same time for a successful photo.
- It’s okay to have fun with your family – a portrait is not meant to be a military exercise! The more fun you are having, the less staged and forced your photos will look, and the more your personality and bond will shine through.
Making family portraits accessible for all
An obstacle to regular, professional family portraits is often the price tag associated with photography studios and the fact you generally need to pay for extra shots you’re truly happy with.
Flat Rate Photography is disrupting the family photography industry by offering the upfront, low flat-rate pricing for the entire photography session instead of per-image pricing. They use top-level commercial-grade cameras, lenses and lighting systems, and all their photographers are award-winning professionals with a combined 20 years’ experience in delivering amazing imagery.
If you’re based in Sydney, check out their studio: https://www.flatratephotography.com.au/