How Wall Photos Will Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Here is an important article I’m sharing published by Design Aglow.


One of the hidden but powerful aspects of family photography that moms and most photographers rarely consider is how it can help us raise children with stronger confidence in their own worth and abilities. Psychologists and experts have done some work in recent decades exploring the link.

A revealing study was conducted in 1975 with a group of fourth graders at a Tennessee school by Tulane University. During a five week period, the children took Polaroid instant photos of themselves with provided cameras in a variety of assigned poses, compositions and expressing various emotions. The children worked with the printed images of themselves and created scrapbooks once a week over those five weeks. Testing of the students and teachers at the conclusion of study revealed a significant increase of 37 percent in the students’ average self-esteem behaviors. This Murfreesboro Study shows some evidence personal photography of children seen and enjoyed in a specific way can help boost a child’s self-esteem.

But how can family photography, specifically family portraits, help boost a child’s self-esteem?  

David Krauss, a licensed psychologist from Cleveland, Ohio says, “I think it is 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 create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level.”

Krauss is one of the earliest pioneers in using people’s personal photography and family albums to assist in mental health counseling and therapy. He co-authored “Photo Therapy and Mental Health” in 1983 that is considered a founding text for the use of photography in therapy.

“It lets children learn who they are and where they fit,” says Judy Weiser. a psychologist, art therapist and author based in Vancouver. “They learn their genealogy and the the uniqueness of their own family and its story. 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.‘”

Weiser has spent more than 20 years using all manner of personal photography to assist in the treatment process of her clients. She is considered by many to be the foremost authority on these treatment techniques, called PhotoTherapy.

When It Comes To Having The Greatest Positive Impact For Your Child, Which is Better, Digital Images or Paper Prints?

Obviously, rather than print and display family photographs, families are increasingly enjoying their images in a digital form, be it a mobile device, a laptop, or simply on social media. But does an image on a tablet, computer screen or social media site have the same impact for helping families boost a child’s self-esteem?

“My bias is very simple. I think they (family photographs) should be on the wall,” says Krauss.

“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,” says Krauss.

The importance of printed photographs displayed in your living space was echoed by other experts.

“My personal and clinical bias is there is something very powerful in touching your fingers to an actual print,” says Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist who works with children ages five through 13 near Eugene, Ore. “Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse or a touchscreen but you are not touching the image.

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 in St. Louis, Missouri and the director of Photo Explorations, which offers workshops to girls and women using portrait and journaling for self-reflection.

Additionally, Krauss recommends having photographs of that child with their family placed in the child’s bedroom so it can be among the last things they see before sleep and the first thing they may see before beginning their day.

“It says we love you and care about you. You’re important.”

by Chris Cummins, Contributor to Design Aglow, Images by Elizabeth Messina

Just Got Back from Texas School of Photography!

Just Got Back from Texas School of Photography!

What is this and why do I care?

I have gotten my fix to stimulate my creative juices while at Texas School of Photography in April 2017. I spent an entire week studying under two mentors; this year I chose Videography and studied for the week under Mitch Daniels & Billie Welliver.

Talk about experience! My goodness, between the two of them they have over 50 years experience in video production in a plethora of genres, including weddings.

Since then I’ve ordered a gimbal for the iPhone and GoPro cameras to steady the video results. I’m ready to embark on my personal experience working with this invaluable tool. I’ve also got the awesome iPhone 7 Plus on order, awaiting shipping fulfillment. I now have experienced DSLR video production using my Nikon D800 on a monopod. I selected this genre of study due to my emerging drone photography skills and will resume studying for my commercial FAA drone license – my ultimate goal to complete for 2017.

I am committed to continuous photographic learning as part of my Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) certification from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) organization. This is to ensure you receive the most up-to-date, comprehensive photographic knowledge for your chosen photographer. As of today, I am the *only* CPP in all of Bastrop County! To bring you the best in photographic services in our quaint but growing town.


Video of One of My Sessions!

Here’s a Video of One of My Sessions!

But first, here’s some background information about this special little boy…

His mom writes, “Elijah is a vibrant 5 year old that is curious, friendly, and unique. He was born with a rare congenital defect called Goldenhar Syndrome which causes facial malformation. There was no bottom jaw bone on the right side of his face and his outer ears never fully developed. Since birth he has had a feeding tube and a tracheotomy. Despite a very crooked mouth and only one side where his teeth meet together, he learned to eat by mouth. He learned signs as a toddler to communicate. Then learned to speak when he got his electronic hearing devices at two years of age. He has endured therapy, surgeries and most of all the limits having a Trach put on a child.



Today due to a wonderful team of cranofacial surgeons, Elijah is a couple of months away from getting his trachea out for good. His face is closer to being symmetrical and his bite is much better. This is just the first step in many to come, but for a active young man it will be a whole new life adventure. First up on his to do list, go to the beach and swim in the ocean!!”

Elijah’s Video


Bastrop High School Students

Bastrop High School students

enrolled in various sports programs were selected to represent their

school for a photo that will be used on a raffle ticket for a chance to win this Jeep from Benny Boyd’s!

I had a blast photographing these Bastrop high school students! One student from each sport was selected by their coaches to be photographed for printing on a Jeep giveaway raffle ticket. They were all so cooperative during their session and all were respectful. It did my heart good to work with such a group of fine young people. I think from the looks of things, they had a little fun, too!

Dealing with Parents’ High Expectations-

We’ve all been there, but how do you deal with parents’ high expectations?

First of all, healthy expectations can be good for us! They get things done. They make us more efficient. They make us useful.

Only when these expectations are way too high, too much pressure is put onto us.

– Expectations of how you look

– Expectations of your friend choices

– Expectations of your school grades

It’s because your parents care about you that they set expectations. But sometimes, it just doesn’t sound that way. Nagging and complaining often hides the act of caring.

Do your parents bully you into doing things you don’t want to do? Parents mean well, but they are not perfect. Sometimes you just need to tell them how their actions are affecting you and work it out with them.

You can become very fearful of disappointing them and assume the struggle yourself, so it’s best to talk it out with them before any unhealthy attitudes set in.

The one that has to live that life is you in the end. Grab your courage and strength and talk with your parents. If all you’re doing is trying to please them, you will end up unhappy. You must talk with them when you need to take a path that’s different from their expectations.

Money isn’t everything and some parents do not understand that. You can be rich with happiness and sustain the life you want. It’s very hard when parents are not supportive of your choices, but again, you ultimately know best what makes you happy.

People can guide you, but only you can truly help yourself. From there you need to try to reason with your parents. Just do the best you can for yourself.

Sad, Stressed Out Girl

Sad, Stressed Out Girl

Cowboys and Indians

Cowboys and Indians

Besides taking photos of wonderful high school seniors, I offer mini-sessions for children’s make-believe a few times each year. I find these sessions extremely fun and enjoyable! Tapping in to children’s imagination brings out the child in me! I offer mini-sessions for all of the following, so be sure to keep an eye out for when they are offered! I provide all the needed costumes, clothing and props, too!

  1. Enchanted Forest Fairy (with extensive magical effects!)
  2. Gone Fishin’
  3. Cowboy
  4. Rock Star

I would really like to hear from you about other children events you’d like to see me include for mini-sessions. Please let me know!