Raliegh, NC Fine art portrait photographer

beautiful framed photo wall gallery featuring a family in a stunning mountain location.

Printed Photos and Self Esteem

In the age of digital media dominance, where countless images are captured and shared daily, it is easy to overlook the significance of printed photos. Yet, recent studies have revealed a fascinating correlation between children’s self-esteem and their exposure to printed photographs of themselves. These findings highlight the importance of tangibly preserving memories and displaying them to nurture a child’s confidence and self-image. In this blog post, we will explore how printed photos positively impact children’s self-esteem and why you should encourage this practice.

Boost Your Children’s Self-Esteem By Printing Your Photo Memories

The Self-Esteem Connection to Printed Photos

As parents to our young ones, one of our greatest goals is to provide a safe, loving and thriving environment for our children to grow up in.  One way to foster this is more easily achieved than you’d think…..print your photos.  Yes, it really can be just that simple.

As it appears to be more understood, and accepted, in today’s diverse and multicultural society, representation plays a crucial role in fostering positive self-identity among children. It is widely acknowledged that children see themselves reflected in the media and literature they consume. Therefore it can have a profound impact on their self-esteem. Recent studies now provide concrete evidence that children who see themselves in print experience a significant improvement in their self-image. This can bolster their confidence and overall well-being.

Studies Show the Positive Link between Printed Photographs and Self Esteem

A study performed in 1975 in Tennessee at Tulane University shows just that.  A group of children was set up with polaroid cameras for the study. They were then photographed in a variety of poses and emotions, and asked to create scrapbooks with the photos.  The study lasted over a span of 5 weeks. In the end showed that the children scored themselves more positively in a self assessment of their self worth and self esteem.  They greatly benefited from seeing self images throughout the study.

Researchers have discovered a strong link between printed photos and improved self-esteem in children. According to a study conducted by Dr. David Krauss and Dr. Jerry Fryrear, children who see themselves in printed photos have significantly higher levels of self-confidence and self-worth compared to those who predominantly view digital images. The tangible nature of printed photos allows children to establish a tangible connection with their own image.  Therefore it positively influences their self-perception.

framed wall photos of a family on a beautiful mountain top

The Impact of Representation:

Children’s literature has long been recognized as a powerful tool for shaping young minds, instilling values, and fostering empathy. However, representation within these stories should not be underestimated. When children come across characters who share their ethnicity, culture, abilities, or experiences, they are more likely to connect and identify with them, leading to positive self-reflection and empowerment.

Similarly, seeing their own images in print allows them to visualize their place in the family structure, and understand their importance.  These positive results can be best described by David Krauss in this way, “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.”  He often times uses individual and family photos as part of his treatment with his young patients in mental health.

Enhancing Self-Esteem:

Several studies conducted over the years have shed light on the positive correlation between self-esteem and seeing oneself in print. One such study, published in the Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools, suggested that reading literature featuring characters who mirrored the reader’s characteristics led to improved self-esteem and self-perception. Moreover, these children exhibited increased confidence, self-worth, and a strengthened sense of belonging.  Similarly to seeing themselves in written stories, seeing ones own photo hanging on the walls of their home allows that similar effects as reading a story with a relatable character.  Children ascertain that they are important and meant to be a valued part of this family and this society they are living in.

After all, one of the primary goals as parents is to allow your children a loving and secure environment to thrive in.  Therefore, printing your photos and showing how the entire family unit is special and loved, is one amazing way to relay this goal.  Children can see they have value, and they have a place in the family that is unbreakable.  When children see their own smiling faces on a regular basis, they know that they are loved and valued.  Their self esteem and confidence grows with this constant reminder.

photo of a sitting room with a large framed family photo on the wallEnhancing Identity and Belonging

Printed photographs play a vital role in shaping a child’s identity. By seeing themselves in physical images, children develop a stronger sense of who they are and where they belong. Being able to hold and examine a photograph helps reinforce the notion that they are part of a loving family, a group of friends, or a community. This feeling of belonging fosters a sense of security, acceptance, and contributes to building a healthy self-image.

Memory Preservation and Emotional Well-being

Printed photos offer more than just a visual representation; they serve as tangible evidence of meaningful moments in a child’s life. By having access to physical memories, children can reminisce and reflect on past experiences, strengthening their emotional well-being. When surrounded by printed photos, children have a constant reminder of their achievements, milestones, and connections, fostering a positive self-narrative that greatly bolsters self-esteem.

a framed photo of a little boy fishing at a lake

Control Over Self-Image

With an abundance of digital photos circulating online, children may struggle to maintain control over their self-image. Social media algorithms, filters, and societal pressures can negatively impact a child’s perception of themselves and lead to low self-esteem. However, printed photos offer a different narrative. Children can have control over their physical photo albums, curating a collection that showcases their best memories and moments. Having this authority promotes a healthier relationship with their self-image, allowing them to appreciate their unique qualities and strengths.

Practical Ways to Incorporate Printed Photos

To ensure children experience the positive benefits of printed photos, we can encourage the following practices:

1. Create photo albums: Compile physical photo albums, categorizing them by age, events, or themes. Leafing through these albums will give children a sense of their journey and accomplishments.

2. Display framed prints: Hang printed photos in easily accessible areas, such as their bedroom or a dedicated photo wall. Regularly changing the displayed pictures will keep their self-image evolving.

3. Craft personalized collages: Engage children in creating collages of their favorite moments, showcasing their interests and achievements, boosting their connection to the photos and their sense of self.

photo of a wall gallery with framed family photos

Accordingly, the power of printed photos should not be underestimated, particularly in regard to children’s self-esteem. By providing a tangible and controllable representation of their lives, printed photographs empower children to develop a strong sense of self, fostering confidence and self-worth. Encouraging the display and preservation of printed photos ensures that children have a constant reminder of their achievements, identity, and the love that surrounds them. In an increasingly digital world, let’s not forget the significance of a printed photograph.  It is a small but mighty tool in nurturing the self-esteem of our children.

Certainly as parents we try to foster the best environment for our children to grow and thrive in.  Hopefully these ideas are helpful to you and to your family. As you know,  parenting can be challenging is so many ways.  That is why I love getting to connect with everyone I work with and help them with blogs like these! So check out more of my work and other helpful tips in the links below. Reach out today to chat about your dream photo session!


Research utilized:

Using photography in youth counseling

Research on Phototherapy 

David Kraus, PhD research on the subject

Dr Linda Papadopoulos / Psychology of the home


Featured Categories