I often talk about my days as a public school teacher here in Los Angeles. But many of my experiences are related now that I am a newborn and child photographer. Sadly, I have to admit that I saw hundreds of terrible things during my long teaching stint. But, I did have my share of good things that happened, or that I noticed. And I have taken those and tried to repeat them, or make the conditions arise so that other kids and families can benefit from what I learned in the trenches, literally, of teaching in the inner city of Los Angeles. One of those good things is newborn photographs and the child portraits you take and hang up in your home. Yes, seriously. This small thing helps kids a lot.
Why Do Newborn Photographs and Child Portraits Matter?
- Kids learn by relating to themselves first. If you already have kids who are old enough to talk, you know that they are total egoists. You know that learning to think and care for others is a skill that you, as a mom or dad, teach. But to be fair, the Self is all a kid has really, to try and learn enough to navigate this complicated world. This is one place where newborn photography and child portraits come into play. Kids love to keep track of how they look and change over time. They enjoy getting taller, stronger, getting teeth and being able to do "big kid" activities. Child photographs document these changes. They also help to mould the image a child has of herself as she grows up. As a teacher I saw the difference in self-esteem in a kid whose mom dressed them all up specially for picture day, then bought a print and actually framed it and hung it up at home. And I saw how kids whose moms did not even acknowledge picture day felt. The effects seemed to be strong and negative. Inevitably, kids who did not participate in picture day had worse behavior and more social skill problems than kids who did. Just the event of getting dressed up special, getting a hair trim, wearing different clothes is all a kid needed to feel great about themselves. I do not think it mattered whether mom and dad bought the most expensive picture package. It seemed to me that kids who did not even the chance to look their best on that day, paid a large debt for a long time after.
- Newborn and Child Photography seems to affect school performance. Of course, what I am saying is totally anecdotal, and merely my experience over 20 years. But 20 years is a lot of time to notice trends. Kids who had printed images of themselves and their family to bring to school and share were happier kids. And happier kids got better grades and had a higher graduation rate it seemed to me. Plain. Simple. True. Even for kids who had a lot going on in their life, to have a photo slipped under the plastic coating of their school binder meant a lot. And this was for little kids, all the way up to high school kids.
- Newborn Photography and Child Portraits Increase Self-Esteem. I do not think a lot of research has been done on this. But there has been some. What has been found is that there is positive correlation between kids whose family displays printed child photographs in their home and how a kid feels about herself. You can see an article here. And there is another one here.
While it may seem like an inconsequential thing, hanging printed and framed images of your child impacts their life in a positive way. It says that they are important, that they are special in your life, that you value them, that you like how they look and a million other subtle things that tells kids they matter. So, if you have been holding out on getting professional newborn, infant, or child photographs taken, the time is now to get your kids all spiffed up, hair coiffed, and get them to the portrait studio. It matters and it's time.
Katie is a maternity, newborn, infant and child photographer in Tujunga, CA 91042 of Los Angeles.