Becoming a teenager is a major milestone in every child’s life. It’s an exciting transition from childhood into adulthood. Capturing great portraits of this moment in time can be a bit challenging, and yet very rewarding. Thanks to my son, who has just turned 13 this month and agreed to pose for me, I would like to share some advice on teenage photography. Hope this post is helpful to the parents whether they are thinking of booking a session with a professional photographer or simply planning to take some portraits themselves. These tips could also help portrait photographers who have not worked with teenagers before.
1. Connection Like with any type of photography, connection with your teenage subject is absolutely crucial. The main ingredient of the connection with a teenager is RESPECT. Treat them like adults, and show them that you really care about their needs and value their opinions. Demonstrate your genuine interest in them, their life and in making them look really cool! If the connection is there, your job is half done.
2. Communication You must communicate all the way, before you start shooting, during the shoot and after it too! Make your teenager feel important! Talk during the session, discuss ideas, make plans for the next pose and clothes change, review photos on camera and decide what can be improved – all of that will help your subject to feel relaxed and have trust in you. The more you show that you are super keen to create really great shots, and the more feedback you get from your subject, the better the results will be!
3. Clothes Teenagers usually have very strong opinions on what they do and don’t want to wear. Let it be! Don’t impose your views on what they should put on, or otherwise you make risk the whole photo shoot all together. Do suggest to have a variety of clothes, and be respectful of their choices. At the end of the day, it’s their’ portrait and it tells their story.
4. Hair Teenagers usually have very strong views on what their hair shoot look like. Hair is very important! You may need to choose different angles (sideways, profile, shooting from the back) to show case those cool hair styles. For example, my son specifically wanted his short hair on the sides to be highlighted, so I’ve added a special hair light for that. He thought that was cool, and was really happy to keep posing!
5. Involvement Ask your teenager what he or she wants to achieve from the photo-shoot. What images do they like? What is ‘cool” in their world? If they are in control, they are more likely to enjoy the shoot and look their best too. Get them to come up with ideas. Ask them if they’ve seen any images of their favourite singers/actors, movie or sport stars – and suggest we can shoot them in the same way. You could look up some photos on line to get ideas. If your teenager is involved in the in the image creation process, you’ll be amazed how easy and fun it’ll be to photograph them.
6. Expressions For teenage photography smiles are not always necessary, in fact images with other expressions are often much stronger then happy smiley ones. Talk about attitude, confidence, range of emotions. Yes, of course, it’s good to get a few smiles along the way too, but it’s absolutely not necessary. your aim is to capture the teenager’s personally and different moods that they experience at this point of their lives.
7. Fun At the end of the day taking photos is about having fun. Your teenager should be leaving the session feeling really good and happy. So make it fun! Take a few silly shots and show them on camera, experiment and laugh together! The more fun you have, the more great shots you’ll get from the session!
If you would like to book a photo-session for your teenage child/children, please get in touch with me!