Booking teens and tweens for photo shoots is always fun. They have so much energy and enthusiasm and it really shows once they step in front of the camera. For that time when they are in front of your camera they feel like they are celebrities. That can be good for fragile egos and low self-esteem, especially when their hair and makeup is done and they look absolutely gorgeous.
Teens and tweens of today have seen enough modelling shows that they know the drill for posing. Some of them even have that runway walk down too! It’s very easy as a photographer to get swept up in our posing and our images and we can forget how old (or young) our client really is.
Keeping yourself engaged with your client and talking about school, their friends, music they like (which you may have never even heard of!) can be easy ways to make them feel at ease and remind you of who is in front of your camera. Keep their posing simple, not too suggestive.
Wardrobe seems to be a fairly contentious subject when it comes to teens and tweens, but I have the rule that if the parents have seen the wardrobe and have no problem then it’s not for me to judge. You want them to look like themselves and you don’t want it to look too out of their norm or they won’t want to show the photos off to their friends.
You aren’t there to parent them or to lecture on them their choice of clothing; you are there to take portraits. This is why consults before the shoot are so important. Going over wardrobe is one component that you should incorporate into your shoots so that you can decide where best to pose them and what works best for each location. Going over wardrobe also includes shoes, jewellery, and even hair and makeup. Talking to the parents about their expectations for the shoot is also very important.
Go over your contract with both the client you are shooting and their parent and let them know what your own expectations are during the shoot. Let them know about whether you allow parents to take photos during the shoot with their cell phone or with another camera too. Let them know what your policies are regarding afterwards when the photos are posted to social media. A lot of photographers have issues with people re-editing their images or cropping out their watermark. If you outline your specific rules for your images verbally and in your contract then you have a smaller chance for clients violating those policies.
Working with teens and tweens can be a lot of fun for photographers. They might be a little uncomfortable in the beginning, but once you get them started with the shoot and talking, it will almost be second nature for them to be their natural selves and let their personalities shine through. A lot of parents prefer these types of photo shoots for their teens and tweens to the traditional school portraits because you can see their personalities and their uniqueness in the images.