Ahh, teenagers. They can be the light of your life or a pain in the behind. Regardless, though, you’ll want to take photos of them to document all the different stages they go through on their road to adulthood. With that in mind, here are some tips for getting good portraits of your teenager:
Tip One: Gauge the Mood
Teens can uncooperative at times (yes, really!), so it’s important to catch them in a good mood. Giving them notice can help (“I’d like to set up a time for us to take some photos…”) as does giving them a reason for the images (“…for your Grandmother/before you graduate/etc.”). Don’t try to force them into something they don’t want to do, you’ll just end up with terrible pictures.
Tip Two: Keep it Simple and Natural
Try to keep backgrounds simple, such as brick or white walls, fields, landscapes, or sky. The more you have going on in the background, the less focus there will be on your teen. You can recruit them to help you choose a few locations where they’d like to have photos take, the more you get them involved in the process the better your final photos will turn out. Natural lighting works best, but use flash or indoor lighting if necessary to get the shot.
Tip Three: Look for Candid Moments
Posing can be great, but to really capture the essence of your teen you’ll want to get a few candid moments as well when they’re involved in something: sports, music, friends, family, etc. This may mean carrying your camera around with you for a few days to catch these fleeting moments where your teen is just being themselves. A telephoto lens can help as well so they don’t notice your presence.
Tip Four: Embrace Their Personality
What does your teen or tween love? Music, reading, sports, nature, art, or animals? Let them bring their love of something into the scene to capture their true personality. Also let them decide what to wear, although you can give pointers as to what will turn out best (colors that contrast with the background, no patterns, etc.). The more control you let them have the more willing they will be to let you capture their personalities.
Tip Five: Equipment and Settings
You can make do with virtually any camera (or camera phone), but ideally you want a standard camera or DSLR with a lens 50mm or larger that has a relatively large maximum aperture (f/1.2 – f/5.6). The large aperture lets you get your teen or tween in sharp focus, while blurring the surroundings. Start with a shutter speed of 125/s to ensure you freeze any movement, you can always go higher or lower depending on the scene. Don’t forget to have fun!
There you have it – for a few visual examples to spark your creativity here is a Pinterest Board of Tween/Teen Photos Posing Ideas. Happy shooting!