Rethinking the Family Portrait

A good friend of mine recently shared a link with me from Richard Velazquez's Blog where he talks about trying to find a picture of his late father to display at his funeral  "For the funeral, I began looking through my childhood pictures for shots of me and my father together.  I could not find any.  There were, of course, plenty of pictures of me and plenty of pictures of my siblings.  At my father’s funeral, I was lucky that my aunt just happened to have a picture of me and my dad (shown here).  Of the hundreds of family pictures that my father took in our lifetime, this is probably the one I treasure most.
I then started thinking about all of the parents that I see that take pictures of their kids, but never include themselves in these family pictures (just like the woman I had just passed).  Or the ones that send Holiday greeting cards with pictures of the “family” that are in reality only a picture of their kids.  If this sounds like you, think about the friends that knew you before you had children.  They want to see you too, not just your progeny.
And take it from me, some time in the hopefully distant future, your kids are going to sift through your family pictures, ignoring the thousands of pictures of themselves, searching for the ones that you shared with them.  They’re going to be very sad indeed to find only a handful.  So if a stranger ever asks you if you want to be included in a picture with your kids, just say yes.  Or if you decide to get a family portrait for the holidays, include yourself in that photo.  You’re not doing this for yourselves, or even for your friends, but for the very kids that you obviously treasure so much.  They’ll thank you for it."  
This really struck me.  I do believe that family portraits are an important part of a family's  history.  I think about that every time I take a picture of my boys.  But I have to say, I'm guilty of not wanting to be in the pictures with them.  I'm just not comfortable in front of the camera.  And I can't tell you how many parents say to me in the studio, that they don't want to be in the pictures with their kids... and I usually don't push it.  I get it... the kids are always much cuter than we are anyway.  After reading this however, I'm rethinking my ideas on what a family portrait session should be.  You can bet that from now on I'll be encouraging the parents who come through my door to be in the pictures too.  And I'll be making an effort to do the same!