The Psychology of Play

Mary Poppins got it right when she said a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. POOF! Just like magic, Jane & Michael wanted to clean up again.  (If only it was that easy in real life.) We learn so much through play - social interaction, communication, building, motor skills, and happiness.  Look at Sesame Street! For decades the show mixed play and fun to successfully teach generations of young’uns basic skills. They learning fun!

Somewhere along the way, play died a tragic death.

Recess was shortened, art and music class has dwindled, and math worksheets and workbooks have taken over. The publishers have made the pages bright fun colors? Oh, how sweet. Yes, I can see how that would make doing math for two hours every day fun. NOT! Even P.E. has been cut back in some schools.

As adults, we have too many responsibilities to spend time playing. Our play is reserved for competition or a vacation a few days out of the year that we have worked hard to EARN.  Weekends are full of chores and other such work, only to face another Monday and "the Daily Grind."

Psychologists like Stuart Brown, MD, author of the book Play, have studied the impact of play for years, and turns out - it's really important. There is actually a field in the industry called Play Studies, and a National Institute for Play, which Brown helped establish.  Research shows play isn't just necessary for kids, but also for adult mental health and happiness.

What does play have to do with photography?

I'll tell you:

For some reason, when people talk about having photos taken, they’re is a twinge of dread.  It has turned into work. Another chore. Kids complain because they're uncomfortable in clothes they can't mess up; Dad has to get dressed up and miss the football game, all while listening to the kids complain. And mom? Well Mom is trying to get to everyone to smile and sit still long enough take one beautiful family picture without losing her shhh.

Cue Marry Poppins, AKA me.

By incorporating play into my sessions, I accomplish two things:

  1.  You have an enjoyable photography experience. It's Fun! The kids are too busy playing to whine.
  2.  I highlight the true personality of each of your family members in my photographs, and capture the characteristics you love them.

Now, while I can’t get your kids to clean up their messes without tears, sudden temporary paralysis, and extra whining, I can get that beautiful photograph of a truly happy family.

On that note, I’m headed outside to play with my family.

Be happy! alex