How to boost your child's self esteem

Boosting Self Esteem

Did you know that displaying images of your children at home can increase their self esteem and well-being?

“When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph they say to themselves: ‘These people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.”
Judy Weiser, Psychologist.


family on the beach

family walking the forest

Show how much you love them

In this digital age, with social media taking up a large part of our children's lives there's a tendency forget the importance of printing family photos. I have a teenage daughter and I can tell you that a 5 minute scroll through her Instagram feed does worry me. As a photographer, I want to use images in a positive way - to promote happiness and security, not insecurity.

When I take photos of her with her family and friends and put them on the walls, in a photo book or in our annual family calendar, images take on a magical quality. They become a prompt to all of us to remember the fantastic times we've had a family. The images of her walking with her brother, hugging him or laughing with him make us all feel wonderful. Family selfies whilst out on a walk let us remember the day we had (and how we all have to bend down so my son's head is not cut off). The family images give my kids a sense of belonging, a secure feeling of knowing that they are loved.

sibling photo shoot

sibling photo shoot

A family bond

We had our own family photo shoot a couple of years ago (and I have another one planned soon too!) and we have the images all over the house. We have a multi-aperture frame in hall, which I look at every day. I have pictures in my office and the kids have them in their bedrooms too, along with other pictures that make them feel good about themselves. My daughter has images from a surf photo shoot with her friends on her wall and my son has some from his gymnastics competitions and ballet classes.

ballet class

friends photo shoot

Building self esteem

As a photographer, exploring the psychology of displaying images is really interesting. I've been reading about it online and I've come across some interesting research.

Psychologist Dr David Krauss says, “My bias is very simple. I think 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. They have a certainty about them and a protecting quality that nurtures a child. It let’s them know where they are in the pecking order and that they are loved and cared for.”


autumn family photo shoot

family photo shoot on beach

Get in the frame

I've been a family photographer for 13 years now and it's very common for parents to ask about a photo shoot for their kids but not be so keen to get in the images themselves. Anyone that has ever had a shoot with me will know that I actively encourage parents to get in the frame. There's always a million excuses - not having the right hair, clothes, make-up, wanting to lose a few pounds, but I try to explain that nothing is more important that existing in images with your children.

Dr Krauss also says, ”I think it's 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. A photographer’s job is to make and create the image to look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level.”

The pure emotional connection with your kids becomes the only thing that you'll feel when looking back at the photos. Not your flyaway hair or double chin.

family photo shoottwin brothers

They will cherish the images when they are older

My kids are only 10 and 13, so not really old enough to look back on their childhood with nostalgia just yet, but they LOVE looking through old photo albums. A while back we had some friends over, friends that we met when we moved to Wales, through our local NCT group. I've been photographing my kids and their kids for the last 13 years and it was so lovely to look through all the memories together. Trips to the beach, potty training, BBQ's, days out, sleepovers - they are all documented and looking at the images increases our sense of belonging and well-being.

“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced,“ says Cathy Lander-Goldberg a licensed clinical social worker and a professional photographer and director of Photo Explorations.

display of framed images

Print your photos

We all have images on our phones, in fact, my son always asks to look at my phone so he can scroll through images of past holidays, but having the images printed and displayed has a much bigger impact.

Dr. Krauss believes that images should be displayed around the home. "What it says to a child is, 'I'm important in this family,'"

I understand that in this day and age people like having digital copies of images. That is why I include digital images in all of my packages. But, I also encourage families to print and frame images from their family photo sessions. It could be a large photo wall, or a multi-aperture frame or a few smaller prints displayed around the house on window sills. The important thing is that you and your children see them every day. It will promote a feeling of togetherness and a family bond full of memories.

display of family imagesfamily photo shoot

Get snapping and printing!

So, go off and increase the feel good factor in your families. Make your kids feel secure and loved. Display the images of your family that you have, instead of leaving them on your phone.

If you want to update your family photos - you can always book a family photo session with me!

Find out more about family shoots and have a look at my family portfolio.

Gem x

Products explained...

I'm not one for using jargon, honestly, but occasionally the word triptych will slip out and clients will look at me like I've started speaking another language. So, with that in mind and following on from my blog post encouraging you all to start printing, I thought I'd write a handy guide to my own products and explain what they all are.

I don't have a massive selection of products as I don't want to overwhelm clients at their viewing session. Often with over 50 images to view and lots of choices we have our work cut out choosing packages and narrowing down favourite images. Most clients spend at least 2 hours choosing their favourite images and then we get onto the job of creating a collage together, or deciding which image in which size for grandparents and other family members. I love viewing sessions! Not just because it's lovely to see the reaction of clients to their images (feel free to cry!) but because I know at the end of the viewing session they will be going home with a selection of printed goodies that will last them a lifetime - printed images that will give them so much joy each time they look at them. And that's what it's all about!

So, lets get down to business. What products am I offering? Well, it's quite simple really! Printed images, canvas wraps and a gorgeous deep set framed product that can come with a single image, or three images (yep, a triptych).

The smaller print sizes I offer are 5x7 and 10x8 as they are the most common frame sizes that you can buy easily. Nip down to M&S and boom, you've got a selection of frames straight away. I don't want to make life difficult for you offering strange sizes, I want you to get the prints framed and up on the mantelpiece so you can see them! Other sizes are A4 and A3 - you can buy off the shelf frames in these sizes too or take them to frame shop, add a lovely mount, choose a frame you love and Bob's your uncle.

My most popular printed product is my 9 image collage. It's a great way to display all your favourite images from the session. It comes in 2 sizes, 30x30 or 24x24 but because I create them myself, you can really have any size that you like! The print comes rolled up in a tube, so you will need to go and get this one framed.

My canvas wraps come in three sizes, 20x16, 20x30 and 30x40. You can combine them to create a wall collage, for example, 3 20x16 canvas wraps in a row (yes, the t word again!). The canvas wraps are beautifully finished and come ready to hang straight away, so there won't be any need for faffing about adding fixings to the back of them. It's all done for you.

Finally, I have a gorgeous framed product. It's exclusively made by my lab, so you won't find it anywhere on the high street or online. In fact, you'll probably be the only person you know with one (unless you know lots of my clients...). You can have a single image or three images in a row. They are mounted on a board and placed in a deep set double mount. The frames are clean and stylish and the whole thing just looks incredibly gorgeous. You have to see it in person to really appreciate it but I've taken some photos to give you and idea.

So that's it! It's not scary and now when you're out and about having a coffee with friends, you can say, "I'm just nipping to M&S to buy three frames so I can have a triptych on my wall..." :)

 A lovely selection of printed images.A 20x30 canvas wrap.A 20x16 canvas wrap.A 30x40 image.An A4 print, a 10x8 print and a 5x7 print. A 30x30 9 image collage. A framed triptych.Combining canvas wraps to create a wall collage.

Print your images


Photography is not just my job. It’s my passion. I truly love the capturing moments in time and having them to look back on, not just for my own family but clients too. As all my clients will know, I work on a package basis, which means that each and every family that I photograph goes away with a selection of printed goodies. It's so important to print your images.

A few years ago, it became popular for photographers to offer digital only packages. This gave people the freedom to go off and print their own images, create calendars, mugs, mouse mats and other quirky gifts. I enjoy the flexibility of offering digital images for sale BUT and this is a big BUT, I’ve learnt over the years that sometimes my clients are NOT printing their images!! That is why, now, I always make sure that clients go away with printed images or products from every session.

Now, I know it’s not easy for busy parents to start thinking about frames, photo books and where to hang things around the house, so I decided to go around my own house and photograph some of my own printed images to share with you.

I thought it would be a lovely idea to ask all my clients to share what they've done with their images so that we can inspire each other to get printing. Not all the photos around my house are professionally taken, some of them are mobile phone pictures taken on holiday, but it doesn’t matter – the emotion is the important thing. It’s what I feel when I look at them.

I’d love to see what you’ve done with the prints, collages and canvas wraps that you’ve ordered from me. Where did you hang them? How do they make you FEEL when you walk past them every day?

Have a nosey below and I'll explain a bit about the images that I have around my own house. Maybe it will inspire you to print your images and get them up on the walls.

All the images of my family, that include me, are taken by the wonderful and super talented Aga Tomaszek.

These images were taken last Summer by Aga Tomaszek who I've had a photographer crush on for years. I really wanted her to capture our family at one of our favourite places and I absolutely LOVE the images. Not just one or two of them, but the whole lot. This frame is in our hallway, so I see it all the time. When I look at them, I feel so happy. Happy that I've got a gorgeous family and happy that we were captured in such a beautiful way. My son doing a cartwheel is one of my absolute favourites!


This is a canvas of my daughter. Professionally I know it's not the best image in the world, but I remember the moment that I took it. She was about 18 months old and hadn't been walking long. She had a friend over and they dressed up as a princess and a mermaid and we went for a walk near our house. I had my camera with me and so I was chasing them around trying to get them to look at me. Then, my friend pointed over to where Georgie was and I saw her sitting still (she never sat still), looking at the fountain. I took the shot and then she was up and running about again.

I love that I captured this brief moment of calm and love remembering her little pink shoes and green plastic bracelet that she used to wear and of course, those little curls.

Another one of my faves from our family photo shoot at the beach. I love the White Company frame too that was a present for my 40th birthday.

I love a photo calendar! I've been making them for years and have a stack of them squirrelled away. Usually the images are all my own, with a mixture of pictures taken on my phone and my camera, but this year, I was very excited to use images from my family photo session too. I love having the images in the kitchen to look at every day and really enjoy turning the page to see what next months image is going to be.

These little square prints from my lab are so cute! I printed a few different images on them and dotted them around the house. They can be framed or just pegged up. I have some on my desk, so I see them every day.

My daughter is a chip off the old block when it comes to list making and so for the last couple of years has requested her own calendar for her bedroom. She likes to write everything down and then cross off each day, just like Mum! Each year, we sit together and she chooses the images that she wants for each month.

This image is very special to my daughter. When she turned 10, I took her and her oldest friends out for a photo session. They've know each other since they were born and so I wanted to capture her with them when she hit double figures. She's nearly 12 now and has changed so much. I really love looking back and seeing her as still my little girl and wearing a dress too!! She loves her friends and asked for a large framed image for her bedroom from the session.

These frames from Ikea are fabulous! I just love them. They are only £4.95. I bought one for my son and one for my daughter. Together we chose the images that they wanted to display. They both chose a picture of them together to go in the centre, which I love!

Photo books are brilliant. I know they can be pain to create and that it can take ages to organise and upload your images - but they are worth it. Below, you can see a stack of black photo albums. I used to buy them all the time and fill them with prints. It was an expensive business and I just had too many pictures. Then I discovered photo books!

Now, each year in December, I sit down with a cup of tea and start sorting through all our photos from the year. Not just mine, but my husbands too. I won't lie, it takes ages, but I really enjoy the process (in spite of the whinging) and I love the books. When it arrives, we all sit together and look at all the pictures. The kids love to get the books out and remember all the fun times, holidays, lost teeth, family reunions etc etc.

Want to make your own photobook? Read my blog post - 7 easy steps to make your own photobook, on the blog.

Finally, here's my photo wall. I have dreams of the perfect photo wall and this is not it. In fact, these images were put there 8 years ago when we moved in and haven't changed since. I can see that they are wonky and the spacing is dodgy but you know what? I still love it. Every single day I look at my daughters cheeky little face and my sons big blue eyes and I'm glad I took those pictures. I'm glad I printed them and put them there. I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't wait for everything to be perfect. Get those images printed and get them up on the wall any way you can. Nip down to Ikea or Marks & Spencer and buy a few frames. You won't regret it. I promise.