Photographing Teens....some thoughts
I've been doing quite a few headshots in the studio recently, so I have been asking(or begging depending on who you ask) if Jack would let me take a new one of him. Eventually, he relented--his only request being that I get one shot of him and the dog. So, here we are....Jack, 14 years old...in the studio.
While we were doing these, he said 'I'm not good at this anymore'...and, I was all like 'what do you mean?'....but, here's the thing. I knew what he meant. Somewhere between 12-14, kids stop being comfortable just being themselves in front of the camera. I mean...it happens to everyone and I think it only gets worse as people age. But, I am persistent. I will stick with these teens until they give me what I want--a real expression. A moment of connection with me so that the photograph shows me more than what they look like...it gives me a glimpse into who they are.
For me--teens need to be photographed one of a handful of ways. First, in their bedrooms. For some reason, bedroom portraits of teens really work. They typically relax there. The objects they surround themselves with give us lots of things to talk about and add an extra glimpse into their character. Second, in studio. Now that they are older, they typically take direction really well, so studio portraits allow us to document them quickly and painlessly. The simplicity of studio portraits shows us the beauty of this age by focusing on their features--we see glimpses of both the children they were and the adults they are becoming. And, lastly, engaged in their 'thing'...all teens have a 'thing' -- a sport or a hobby that consumes much of their after school time. Something they are passionate about. Photographing them while they do their 'thing' allows them to relax and show me their true selves.
How would you like me to photograph your teen? I would love to collaborate and get you photographs to enjoy for years to come.