How Portrait Sessions Empower & Inspire Self Love

I read this amazing article about how family portraits can boost a child's self esteem in the Huffington Post recently by Design Aglow and I just had to share some of the ideas from it with you! I've known these ideas and talked about them for awhile now, but it's always so cool and validating to read results from a study that align with your beliefs. Essentially, the article talks about the power of seeing yourself in a printed form while you grow up, and how it can positively impact your self worth.


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.

- Cathy Lander-Goldberg

I've been using photography for nearly half of my life to make myself feel empowered in my own image, and since going to college at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago I've become (how do I put this lightly?) OBSESSED with printed photographs. The first time I tried printing my photographs onto real. actual. paper. I nearly fainted. For some reason, I was SO nervous about seeing my work in a different, somehow more real form than I'd ever seen it and I was scared of what the outcome would be. What if it was suddenly terrible and I hated the way I looked? What if I wasted a piece of really beautiful and expensive paper and spent all that time and effort for nothing? 

But when the print came out and the blood finally stopped pumping so loudly in my ears, I really had time to examine the photo - I loved it. There's almost no way to describe how actualizing it is to see yourself printed and in your hands, able to be touched and moved around. I fell in love with both the photograph itself, and the way that I looked in it - I've never felt more beautiful and sure of myself before. 

My personal and clinical bias is there is something very powerful in touching your fingers to an actual print. 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.
— Craig Steinberg

Photographs are so completely POWERFUL - I don't think I'll ever be able to fully comprehend the affect they can have on someone's self esteem. But one thing I do know is that without a doubt portraiture is an amazing tool to combat self doubt, insecurity, and instead promote self love. If you've got a drawer full of flash drives and CD's from past portrait sessions, I encourage you to find your favorite, print it out, and hang it where you'll see it daily. Before you know it your daily reminder of your beauty will help you fall in love with the woman you see in the image. :)

Check out that whole article by Design Aglow here!

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Katharine Hannah

Katharine’s work has graced the walls of institutions such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Harold Washington Library of Chicago, and local galleries such as Dreambox Gallery, Siragus Gallery and Blick Art Materials. She has also been featured on websites such as the Huffington Post, Phlearn, Fstoppers, Tigress Magazine for Girls, Bitchtopia, and Golden Boy Press.

In addition to photography, Katharine has been a mentor and educator in the arts since 2013. She has worked with students in various organizations and projects over the last two years, including Hive Chicago’s PROjectUS initiative and Digital Youth Network’s Digital Diva’s and Chicago City of Learning programs.