Laura Griffin Documentary Family Photographer & Filmmaker, Ireland

I’ve been thinking about my work as a family photographer. One of the questions I’m often asking myself is, “What benefits do I see in taking everyday family photos?” I don’t mean professional family photos necessarily, but any photos of your daily family life taken by anyone. Here are a few benefits I believe that everyday family photos can bring to your life.

#1. Family photos have sentimental value.


It can be fun looking back on photos and seeing how much we change over the years. How the smile and worry lines that weren’t there 10 years ago have somehow embedded their way into our skin. Not only do we see changes in our physical appearance but also in our relationships. Family photos over many years act as a visual timeline. They show those who have weaved in and out of our lives and those that have been there the whole time. When you put all of these individual pictures together, a much larger story emerges of how these changes within our family and ourselves over time have shaped us into who we are today.

Older sister reading to her younger brother by a window

When we pull out the camera and take photos of family activities we love doing together such as summer trips or holiday gatherings, it provides us with images that show our shared experiences and gives us a sense of belonging. Years after the images are taken we can reminisce with loved ones about what actually happened before or after the picture (because we all tend to remember things slightly different). 


Looking at photos of loved ones who have passed away can be a bittersweet experience. Full of nostalgia, these images allow us to stay connected to them by showing us the sparkle in their eyes, the way they parted their hair, all the little details that are often quickly forgotten. It’s a way of remembering those we love and have lost, the lessons they have taught us and the memories we created with them. It is also a reminder that we all have a limited number of days here. Along with the sadness, these pictures can also help us come to terms with life.

#2 Family photos help us understand who we are.

Childhood photos often show how traditions, religion and values play a role in the family. They give us an insight into which holidays were celebrated, what family traditions were practiced, what responsibilities were expected and values were instilled. It is also interesting to see how photos can show family roles and dynamics changing and evolving over time. How things shift when a new sibling arrives or when kids become teens.

Mom reading Bible

#3 Family photos are a time capsule.

Photographing family adventures and even everyday activities is a great way to capture how the world changes over time. These images offer future generations a glimpse of how we live everyday life, commute to work and school, spend our free time, communicate with each other, and the list goes on. It is amazing to think about how much transportation and technology has changed just over the last few generations. It’s fun to also capture the latest hairstyles, toys, and fashion trends that are appearing (or making their reappearance).

Sisters dancing to tiktok

These are just a few of the benefits I see in taking family photos of everyday family life. Each image is a little time stamp that can be added to our visual family timeline. We are capturing images that will have sentimental value and give us a way to see the changes in our family life, give us a sense of belonging and remind us of how temporary our time here on earth is. They also help us understand who we are and act as mini time capsules of our life for others to reflect on long after we’ve passed away.

So the next time you are taking photos of your family, remember: You are capturing so much more than just a picture for the photo album.

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Laura Griffin is a documentary family photographer and filmmaker based in Ireland. Feel free to browse more of her photography and film work.