Tips + Techniques

Why Dads Make Every Photo Session More Awesome

June 20, 2024

By Karen Byker

Dads make every situation better just by being there, and family photos are no exception! This Father’s Day, let’s get dad in photos to help him see the magic he brings to every moment of our lives, whether it’s a professional photo session or dinnertime around the table. Some of the most special moments captured in my studio have been between fathers and their children. Fathers can show up to your maternity, newborn and family photo sessions knowing that just being there and being themselves is all we need to get the perfect photos!

No fuss or muss!

© Karen Byker

Dads are Important in Every Moment

You’ve heard this before:

“One second you’re twirling them around in a princess costume and next thing you know you’re walking them down the wedding aisle.” 

Or how about this one:

“It feels like yesterday I taught them how to ride a bike. Now, I’m teaching them how to drive a car.” 

These big moments come and go so quickly. But we don’t need to tell Dads how fast their kids grow up. They’re already seeing it.

© Karen Byker

As photographers, we can’t stop time and keep children little forever – but we can promise that our clients will have memories of each stage. Every new season brings a whole new level of excitement parents are going to love (even if it comes along with its challenges). When we capture each of these stages in photos, they can learn to see the greatness in it before it ends – whether it’s eating a meal together, or dropping a kid off at college. Having family photography helps families capture the moment and enjoy it to the fullest, knowing that later, it’s safely preserved in their family’s memories. And, it’s important to get dad in those photos, too.

And here’s an inside perspective you need to let your clients know: Their kids will really want to have photos of their parents with them! These photos will become the memories they carry with them throughout their lives. Trust me, as a daughter myself and as a mother of four children, one of the most precious gifts you can give your children is the affirmation of how much you love them. Parents can show this to their children every day, in actions, words, and in the family photos that hang on their walls.

© Karen Byker

The Father Effect

Kids’ lives are better every moment dads are there with them. It’s called, “The Father Effect,” which describes the benefits children experience when their fathers are actively involved and present in their lives. Just being there and being themselves is all kids need to feel the benefits of having a dad.

And if anyone knows how to make the most of the moment, it’s dad. Dads know how to turn boredom into magic. Dads can turn tears into laughter. Dad jokes are world-renowned. Dads help us all learn how to let go and have fun.

I love capturing natural dad skills in photos. When families have photographs of dad with his children, they grow up experiencing and seeing evidence of the unique bond they have with each other. Not only is this good for kids, it’s also good for dads.

My client Daryl McHugh shared this testimonial after our shoot together, “Our session was so much fun, and Karen captured every candid moment perfectly. We are beyond happy with our family photos, and we can’t wait to receive our amazing album and wall portrait that Karen created for us! Thank you, Karen from the bottom of our hearts for creating these beautiful memories we will cherish forever!”

I love making my clients happy — the whole family!

© Karen Byker

Dad’s Superpower: Why Dads are Natural Memory-Makers

This is actual science! There’s a lot of research around the benefits of playfulness in fathers — especially more active, energetic play like:

  • Chasing (“Here comes the tickle monster!”)
  • Racing (“First one to kiss mom wins!”)
  • Piggybacks
  • Pillow fights
  • Foot wrestling
  • Tossing kids in the air and catching them
  • Letting kids climb on them

These studies show that when men become fathers, they experience an increase in energy that can sustain this boisterous kind of play that kids need! Kids adore being hung upside down and thrown into the air, and it actually helps them form strong attachments with their fathers.

This more “wild and free” form of play is really important for children to learn basic lessons around fun, trust, risk-taking, expression, self-regulation, self-control and boundaries.

© Karen Byker

I think it’s this ability to play so enthusiastically with their kids that give dad a superpower (especially at my studio, Reflections). Dads have a superpower for play, and I have a knack for turning regular old moments into hilarious, beautiful memories that families can can cherish forever.

If you want to encourage dads to come off the sidelines into family photographs, consider adding these elements of dad’s natural playfulness into your family shoots. And share this article with dads, so they understand just how important they are and how much we want dad in photos, too!

Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared on Karen Byker’s blog.

Karen Byker is a Niagara Newborn & Family Photographer at Reflections. She has helped busy moms capture and preserve beautiful, authentic family memories with a stress-free, full-service photography experience in Niagara, Ontario, Canada since 2005. Follow her on Instagram.