There's been an article recently doing the Facebook rounds about how important it is to have family photos around your house as a means of boosting your child's self esteem and their sense of importance and belonging. As someone who grew up in a house with no family photos on the wall at all, I can only agree 100% with the ideas behind the article and similar findings. The benefits are really inspiring, and it is such a simple way of creating a strong sense of identity and family around your children. But I wanted to take a quick look it from another side too, because while it is amazing and lovely to have a strong family unit - not everyone does.
A lot of kids these days, including my own - have parents that are no longer together. And sometimes when I find myself posting the beautiful families who I've photographed or advertising for new families, I find myself wondering how many people are not getting 'family' photos done because they are now single or in a blended family or in any kind of family that isn't the 'norm'.
This is how I feel, as a mum and as a photographer - it still very much matters to most children to see their parents as their 'family', whether they are officially or not. We can separate or divorce legally all we like - but we are always mummy and daddy to our kids.
While sometimes it's not possible to remain on good terms with your child's other parent - if you are, I strongly recommend at least considering having a session together if you didn't manage to get some family photos while together.
I can hear the cries of "no way! How awkward!" coming from many of you - and sure it can be awkward, but it's also really lovely for a child to exist in photos of mummy and daddy and him/herself together.
I did this very thing in May last year. I never quite managed to get around to it while we were all together - but the idea of my son never having some nice photos of his parents together made me sad but also motivated to organise it.
So I did!
Single, together, not a perfect weight, busy - it doesn't matter! Kids will LOVE these photos in years to come. My little boy's bedroom will have photos of everyone who matters to him in his life, and that's a lot of love to be surrounded by when you're going to sleep.
If you can't organise it? Just get in there yourself. Photos of our child looking gorgeous are for us, but photos with mum or dad will be priceless to your kids.