Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Fun Family Photography with Teenagers in Sevenoaks


A brilliant day photographing teenagers in Sevenoaks

I travelled to Sevenoaks in Kent recently for a wonderful family photo shoot with teenagers. I was looking forward to this session, cousins of one of my regular clients so I knew we were going to have a great time. I’ve always loved this about my work, how I get to know families over time and then how I often start to photograph their friends and relatives. I have a number of families where I work with multiple siblings and their children, fun family photo shoots with an added level of connection. It always feels wonderful when clients love my work so much that they recommend me to family and friends.

And so I headed South to Sevenoaks to meet this wonderful family. It was a beautiful day, bright but not too hot and perfect for photography. I arrived nice and early to have time for a cup of coffee before we headed out.

As regular readers know I love to start my sessions early and while that’s a bit more of an issue with teenagers, then the knowledge that they won’t bump into any of their friends while having their pictures taken usually means the early start is forgiven. It makes such a difference being out before the crowds.

When we arrived at the nature reserve where we went for the first part of our session there was nobody around at all, I even started with some pictures in the carpark as the light and background were beautiful, not something you would be able to do at mid-day.

Starting family photography sessions with teenagers with a walk

I like to start my family photography sessions with a walk when I’m photographing teenagers. Getting us out and about and moving around helps with any shyness and we can find beautiful backgrounds and stunning light for our pictures. I like to find a spot, take some shots and then move on, keeping a momentum to the session to ensure nobody gets bored but also that everyone relaxes to give wonderful natural smiles in the pictures.

We explored the local nature reserve which the family had discovered over lockdown and it was a perfect spot for photography. Lovely tree lined paths gave way to fishing stations with stunning light reflected off the lake. There were benches to sit on along with more picturesque options such as piles of logs and gates to lean on.

I really enjoyed chatting to the family – it’s one of the things I find so fascinating about my work, meeting people who do such different jobs and have such fascinating life experiences, I always learn such a lot.

Inspired by the next generation

It was inspiring chatting to the boys about their lives, one off to university in a few weeks with such adventures ahead of him and one with A-levels to finish and all those decisions yet to make. It made me remember my own teenage years and the amazing opportunity that university is, the chance to go out into the world and discover independence while learning about a subject you love. The quest for knowledge and really drilling down into a subject is such a privilege and made me wonder if I might have time for another masters degree one of these days (maybe one for retirement perhaps, wouldn’t that be a joy!).

Football and boxing - photographing hobbies

For the final section of our photo shoot we took some pictures of the boys favourite hobbies – boxing and music for one and football for the other. Including teenagers’ favourite activities is always such fun and results in such beautiful natural photographs as the joy they take in these activities shines through. Concentration means there’s no opportunity to feel self-conscious in front of the camera and I love the range of expressions that we see in this section of my photoshoots with teenagers.

Photographing hobbies also gives me wonderful opportunities for creative photography, trying different techniques, experimenting with lenses or filters. I like to push the boundaries and create images in camera that will exceed my client’s expectations of their family photography session. Using light, using wide apertures for shallow depth of field, and working with slow shutter speeds and movement we end up with a wonderful and diverse set of images, images which I hope the family will enjoy for many years to come.

Booking a family photography session with your teenagers.

If you have been thinking of booking a family photography session with your teenage children, then do get in touch. We can have a chat about all the things that your children enjoy, the skills that they spend time developing and celebrate all that makes them wonderful at this important time in their lives. Whether its sports or music, arts, or baking, we can create stunning pictures that you, and your teenage children, will love.

If you would like to learn more do take a look at the family photography with teenagers section on my website or look through the blog to see examples from thousands of families over the last nineteen years. Drop me a line via the contact form and we can plan the perfect family photo shoot for your family.