Sometimes parents ask me to only photograph their kids during their family photo session. I’ve had moms and dads tell me when I arrive at their front door, “I’m not going to be in any pictures, so don’t try to get me in them.” I press gently, reminding them that this is a family session, and asking them to remember all the details we discussed in preparation for their family to hang out with my camera around.

Your Kids Need YOU in Pictures

“This is a family session. These are your children. This is your family, and they actually need you in pictures. They need to be able to look at these pictures and see their mom, their dad in them. They need to visually be able to see these expressions of your love towards them. Your kids need YOU in pictures.”

Usually, parents come around and enjoy the rest of the session with their kids, but the conversation always makes me a little sad. I know the parent’s desire to stay out of the picture doesn’t mean they dislike their children, but it saddens me. Dear Parent, your kids need you. You kids need YOU in pictures.

The Big Picture

As a child, our self-image, insecurities, and confidence begin forming at a young age and are heavily influenced by the people we love and trust the most. For the majority of children, this is a parent. If you are uncomfortable with some part of you, if you make comments about a part of your personality, body or something else you dislike about yourself, your kids will notice.

It’s not about being perfect. Your children already think you are. It’s about being their mom, their dad, and loving yourself. It’s about accepting yourself for who you are. Seeing you involved in activities, willing to be a little silly, willing to play and laugh, will help your entire family feel secure in who they are.

Be Kind to Yourself

Your kids need to see you in real life situations being yourself. They know when you’re faking it, they know when you’re uncomfortable, and they need to see you enjoying life more than just when you have perfect hair and/or perfect makeup. They need YOU.

If your kids hear you worrying, commenting and complaining about your appearance over and over again, they will begin to think that such commentary is not only normal but that there must be something wrong with them, too. We know that’s not true.

What is true is that you are beautiful without makeup, you are beautiful in this season of your life, and most importantly – you. are. loved. Embrace that truth. Take that confidence, and let your kids see you enjoying life without picking yourself apart.

Your Family Loves You

Your family loves you. You. They love you in makeup and out of makeup, they love you with your hair in a messy bun or intricately done. They don’t love you for how you look, but for who you are. Give them the gift of being present in their lives, of being in pictures with them. Give your children the gift of having images of you to cherish after you’re gone.

I know that sounds a little sad, but think about it. When you look at pictures of you and your parents, you and your grandparents, do you notice their attire, their hair, makeup, etc, or do you notice the moment together? Where you were? Do you think about who your mom/dad was?

Your kids need YOU in pictures because you matter dearly to them.